October 13, 2006

Spaz leads Hot 11

There were many stars in Boston College's 22-3 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night, none more important that defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani who called a great game. Here's the BC Hot 11 for the VTech game...

Frank Spaziani - Well, I must say I feel a little bit stupid after picking VT to win last night. Then, I read back what I had written in my Boston College/Virginia Tech preview:

"Unfortunately for BC, I don't see their defense shutting down the VT passing game. Unless Frank Spaziani can come up with the type of gameplan like he did against Miami in 2001 where he brought all sorts of different blitz packages, this game looks like a close VT victory."

Well, Spaziani delivered just what BC needed, as he ran just the right amount of blitz pressure, to the point where VT quarterback Sean Glennon didn't know where it was coming from play to play. Another brilliant part of Spaz's game plan was that he let VT throw their short screen passes to their wideouts, instead of letting them bomb passes down the field. VT's receivers posed a huge threat to the BC secondary, but you wouldn't have known that last night. Ultimately, a combination of the Hokies not being patient enough to take short passing gains, and some stupid penalties, lead to almost a shutout in this game for the BC defense.

B.J. Raji - The big man was an absolute beast last night. Virginia Tech's running back Branden Ore was consistently having to take his carries outside, because Raji wasn't giving up any room to run inside. As a bonus, Raji was a dual threat, as he usually isn't a huge factor in pass rushing, but last night he sure was. The defensive tackle was in Sean Glennon's face all night, and he recorded his 2nd sack of the year. Raji's sweetest play was actually called back via instant replay, when he knocked the ball out of Glennon's hands, and then recovered his own forced fumble.

Jolonn Dunbar - You can sure count in Dunbar bringing his "A" game when BC is playing a ranked opponent. The linebacker followed up his stellar performance against Clemson earlier in the year with 8 tackles and an interception against VT.

Austin Giles - Sometimes, it's easy to forget that this kid's a freshman. With that being said, it's very encouraging to see his progress this season. Giles had one of the biggest plays of the game midway through the 3rd quarter, when he leveled Glennon and caused a fumble. Alex Albright picked up the ball at the 30-yard line to set up a field goal drive to give BC a 10 point lead.

Matt Ryan - Statistically Ryan didn't have his best game of the year in regards to passing yards (174 yards), but he was very clutch in the 4th quarter. With BC up 13-3, Ryan took the team on an 11 play, 83 yard touchdown drive that chewed up over 6:00 on the clock, and put the game out of reach. Three times on that game clinching drive Ryan threw a pass for a 1st down.

Erin Andrews -How could we have a "Hot 11" without Erin Andrews…..Ummmm, I mean let's continue with the Hot 11…..

Brian Toal - I have to admit it was disappointing when I looked at the injury report for last night's game and saw Toal listed as doubtful. However, I did have hope after reading Mike Shalin's article on Toal this week, and saw that he was medically cleared to play. After sitting out the first couple of VT drives, Toal got into the game and looked sluggish at first. However, Toal ended up having a solid 6 tackle performance, and really made the BC defense look a lot more solid.

Steve Aponavicius - I think Mr.Aponavicius has had his "15 minutes of fame", but here's to hoping he continues kicking PAT's, and FG's for the Eagles. It was a nice feeling not to feel worried when the kicker went out for an extra point.

Ryan Glasper - Look, the guy's not an All-American or probably not even an All-ACC player, and I know this sounds cliché, but Glasper brings leadership and stability to the BC secondary. There's just no other way to explain it. I know he got beat for a TD that was called back, but since it was called back I can't hold that against him. It has to feel especially nice for Coach Spaziani to have Glasper back in the secondary, so he can be more confident in throwing in some more blitz packages. By the way, the Eagles are giving up only 1.5 points per game with Glasper back.

DeJuan Tribble - Did anyone notice that Tribble's name didn't get called a whole lot last night? There's a reason for that...VT wasn't throwing at him. The strength of VT's offense is their wide receivers, and last night they were held in check. Besides a couple of screen passes that were thrown, Tribble didn't see much action his way all night, and virtually shutdown one side of the field.

Tyronne Pruitt - Pruitt has had a decent season, but he hasn't always been consistent for an entire 60 minutes. Last night, BC fans and coaches got to see what Pruitt can do when he doesn't have mental lapses, 9 tackles and one forced fumble.

Kevin Challenger - Challenger's 1st TD that he caught in traffic was one of the nicest catches by a BC receiver all season. He knew that he was about to get jacked up, but it didn't wane him from losing his concentration on the pass.

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