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No. 25 BC Readies For West Virginia

Placekicker John Matich is<br>now second on the<br>BC all-time scoring list.

Placekicker John Matich is
now second on the
BC all-time scoring list.

Nov. 8, 1999

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. -- Following a much-needed week off, the 25th-ranked Boston College Eagles are preparing for Saturday's BIG EAST clash with the West Virginia Mountaineers in Alumni Stadium. BC is guaranteed a non-losing season and is bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, when the Eagles finished with a 7-4-1 record and a trip to the Jeep Eagle Aloha Bowl.

Date: Saturday, Nov. 13, 1999

Time: Noon EST

Site: Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Stadium/Capacity: Alumni Stadium (44,500)

Television/Radio: ESPN (Dave Barnett & Bill Curry), BC Radio Network (John Rooke & Peter Cronan), Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Woody O?Hara & John Garcia)

The Coaches

Boston College's Tom O'Brien is 14-16 as head coach of the Eagles and overall...A three-year starter at defensive end from 1968-70 at the U.S. Naval Academy, he was named BC's 32nd head football coach after 15 years on the staff of the University of Virginia, the last six as coordinator of UVA's record-setting offense. O'Brien also was an assistant at Navy for seven years.

Don Nehlen, the winningest coach in Mountaineer history, is in his 20th season at West Virginia, where he has compiled a 141-87-4 record. Combining that with a 53-35-4 record in nine seasons as head coach at Bowling Green (he is a 1958 Bowling Green graduate), Nehlen's career totals stand at 194-122-8 in his 29th season as a collegiate head coach.

The series

Saturday's game will mark the 28th meeting between Boston College and West Virginia. The Mountaineers lead the series 18-8-1. Last year, WVU beat beat the Eagles 35-10 in BC's final game of the season. The last time BC beat WVU was two years ago in Alumni Stadium, 31-24. That win was Tom O'Brien's first as BC head coach. WVU has won five of the last six games between the two schools.

Injury update
Out: WR Chris Barnes (torn ACL), DL Adam Grace (dislocated shoulder),
Day-to-day: DL Frank Misurelli (sprained ankle)

How they stack up

Statistical Comparison - Per Game Averages

                              BC      WVU
Points Per Game              23.8    24.8
Opp. Points Per Game         20.3    26.0
Yards Per Game              372.9   343.4
Opp. Yards Per Game         372.4   426.6
Rushing Attempts             42.8    37.1
Rushing Yards               174.0   134.0
Opp. Rushing Yards          140.9   202.4
Yards Per Carry               4.1     3.6
Opp. Yards Per Carry          3.6     4.7
Passing Attempts             29.1    32.3
Passing Yards               198.9   209.4
Opp. Passing Yards          231.5   224.1
Yards Per Completion         12.1    11.1
Opp. Yards Per Completion    11.6    15.3
Passing Yards Allowed       231.5   183.0

Eagles on the radio

BC's game vs. West Virginia will be heard on SportsRadio WEEI (850 AM), as well as WHYN in Springfield (560 AM), WSAR in Fall River/New Bedford (1480 AM), WTAG in Worcester (580 AM), WGIR in Manchester, N.H. (610 AM), WTMN in Portsmouth, NH (1380 AM), WLPZ in Portland, Maine (1440 AM), and WNRI in Woonsocket, RI (1380 AM). BC radio broadcasts are handled by announcer John Rooke and expert analyst Peter Cronan.

Almost (seventh) heaven vs. West Virginia

If the Eagles win Saturday's game:

  • They will become only the 27th team in 101 years of BC football to win seven or more games.
  • They will become only the 19th team in 101 years of BC football to win seven games this early in the season.
  • They will have their best nine-game record since the 1993 season, when they got off to an 8-2 start.
  • They will win their Senior Day game for the 61st time in school history.

Mountaineers coming off emotional loss

West Virginia comes to Chestnut Hill with a 3-6 record following last week's heartbreaking 22-20 loss to Virginia Tech in Morgantown. The Mountaineers kept it tight against the third-ranked Hokies, taking a 7-7 tie into the locker room at halftime. Tech mounted a seemingly insurmountable 19-7 lead with 4:49 remaining in the game. But West Virginia marched quickly downfield for a score, then got a break when linebacker Barrett Green jarred the ball loose from Tech's Shyrone Stith and WVU recovered. Four plays later, Virginia Tech's hopes for a national title seemed dashed as the Mountaineers scored to take a 20-19 lead. But Hokies' quarterback Michael Vick engineered a 58-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal as time expired.

West Virginia is led by freshman running back Avon Cobourne, who rushed for 133 yards on 27 carries vs. Virginia Tech's stingy defense. It was the fourth time this season the freshman had rushed for 100+ yards.

Eye on the Eagles -- 1999 season synopsis

Game One (BC 30, Baylor 29, OT)

In an exciting season opener, Baylor's Kyle Atteberry missed an extra point in overtime and Boston College, behind Cedric Washington's 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns, beat Baylor 30-29 in Alumni Stadium. On Boston College's overtime possession, Washington scored on a 1-yard run and John Matich kicked the extra point. Baylor then scored on a 1-yard run by Jermaine Alfred. Atteberry, who missed a long extra-point attempt after Baylor was penalized for excessive celebration following a second-quarter touchdown, pulled his kick to the left. BC Record: 1-0, 0-0.

Game Two (BC 14, Navy 10)

After a week off, linebacker Frank Chamberlin led an aggressive defensive attack (11 tackles, 9 solo, one sack) as the Eagles defeated Navy, 14-10, in Annapolis. Junior quarterback Tim Hasselbeck completed 16-of-25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles dominated time of possession 34:52 to 25:08 in that game. BC Record: 2-0, 0-0.

Game Three (BC 27, Rutgers 7)

The Eagles opened their BIG EAST schedule in style with a 27-7 road win over Rutgers. Tim Hasselbeck completed 17-of-22 passes for 168 yards, one TD and no interceptions as the Eagles amassed 427 yards of offense. Cedric Washington carried 21 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Defensively, the Eagles intercepted three Mike McMahon passes, led by Jonathan Ordway, who picked off two. The BC defense also held Rutgers to 98 yards on the ground. BC Record: 3-0, 1-0.

Game Four (BC 33, Northeastern 22)

BC got off to a 4-0 start when it defeated hometown foe Northeastern 33-22 in Alumni Stadium. The Eagles returned a fumble for a touchdown, returned a block punt for a touchdown and returned an interception for a touchdown on the day. Cedric Washington rushed for 107 yards on 15 carries. Tim Hasselbeck completed 11 of 26 passes for 113 yards. BC Record: 4-0, 1-0.

Game Five (Temple 24, BC 14)

BC suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of Temple at The Vet in Philadelphia. Tim Hasselbeck completed 14-of-22 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown in the game, but the Eagles were held to 105 yards rushing (60 from Cedric Washington). Temple scored 24 unanswered points in the final 30:02 of the game to hand BC its first loss of the season. Sophomore quarterback Devin Scott completed 17-of-23 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns on the day. BC blocked a punt for the second straight game. BC Record: 4-1, 1-1.

Game Six (BC 20, Pittsburgh 16)

In perhaps their most impressive win of the season, the Eagles took a 20-16 come-from-behind victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in Alumni Stadium. Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, who did not start the game due to a sore right shoulder, came into the game in the third quarter when starter Brian St. Pierre suffered a concussion. Hasselbeck then completed 13-of-24 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner, a 36-yard bomb to Dedrick Dewalt with 1:48 remaining in the game. The Eagle defense led by Chris Hovan (7 solos, 2 assists, 4 tackles for loss and 2 quarterback sacks) came up big to stop a final Pittsburgh drive and preserve the important win. BC Record: 5-1, 2-1.

Game Seven (Miami 31, Boston College 28)

In the heartbreaker game of the season, Miami mounted an incredible comeback to beat BC 31-28 in Alumni Stadium. The Eagles led 28-0 late in the third quarter but were unable to hold the lead. Junior running back Cedric Washington rushed for a career-high 183 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. BC outrushed UM 237-178 in the game. Junior quarterback Tim Hasselbeck completed 18-of-35 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles held Miami to 4-of-15 on third down conversions. BC Record: 5-2, 2-2.

Game Eight (Boston College 24, Syracuse 23)

A redeemed John Matich kicked a 34-yard field goal with 2:57 remaining and Frank Chamberlin made his 25th and most important tackle on fourth-and-14 to preserve an emotional victory over No. 24 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. BC got a huge lift when DuJuan Daniels returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown before the game turned into a struggle that had six lead changes. Trailing 17-14 to start the second half, Chamberlin intercepted a pass by Troy Nunes and returned it 26 yards to the Syracuse 33 to set up a Cedric Washington touchdown. Syracuse took the lead early in the fourth quarter before Tim Hasselbeck completed a 40-yard pass to Derrick Crittenden late in the game to set up the Matich field goal. BC Record: 6-2, 3-2.

American top 40

Below are NCAA national individual or team statistical categories in which BC appears (40th or better):

Individual Leaders
Rushing: 30. Cedric Washington (98.9)
Kickoff Returns: 16. William Green (26.0)
All-Purpose Yards: 40. Cedric Washington (115.1)

Team Leaders
Rushing: 29. Boston College (174.0)
Punt Return Yards: 26. Boston College (11.3)
Kickoff Return Yards:38. Boston College (21.4)
Scoring Defense: 28. Boston College (20.3)

Stingy defense

Boston College is allowing opponents to score just 20.3 points per game, its best defensive effort since 1994, when BC opponents averaged 13.5 points per game.

Senior Day

Twelve seniors including six defensive starters, four offensive starters and a veteran placekicker will be playing in their final BC home game vs. West Virginia. They include offensive lineman Darnell Alford, tight end Bryan Arndt, linebacker Frank Chamberlin, safety Pedro Cirino, wide receiver Derrick Crittenden, defensive lineman Chris Hovan, placekicker John Matich, defensive lineman Adam Newman, offensive lineman Butch Palaza, running back Carlton Rowe, safety George White and defensive lineman Mike Willetts.

The parents of BC's fourth- and fifth-year players will be recognized in special halftime ceremonies. Scheduled to appear: Cheryl Alford, mother of Darnell Alford, William & Dixie Arndt, parents of Bryan Arndt, Gwen Hendrick, mother of Frank Chamberlin, Pedro & Dilma Cirino, parents of Pedro Cirino, John & Linda Colontrelle, parents of John Colontrelle, Carol Costello and Kevin Costello, parents of Kevin Costello, Raymond & Deborah Crittenden, parents of Derrick Crittenden, David & Linda Dapra, parents of Steve Dapra, James & Jane Grace, parents of Adam Grace, Dennis & Rosemary Hovan, parents of Chris Hovan, Dennis & Linda Kneib, parents of Pat Kneib, Joe & Janice Mickens, parents of Joe Mickens, Michael & Diane Newman, parents of Adam Newman, Augustus & Judy Palaza, parents of Butch Palaza, David & Barbara Robbins, parents of Dave Robbins, David & Helena Rowe, parents of Carlton Rowe, Alice Smith-VanZandt, mother of Jason Smith, Albert & Sandra Sutphin, parents of Mike Sutphin, George & Beverly White, parents of George White, and Randy & Susan Willetts, parents of Mike Willetts.

Roller coaster ride

If you listen to Coach Tom O'Brien, this past weekend's break couldn't have come at a better time. Not only did several Eagles (Jerome Ledbetter, William Green, Frank Misurelli, D.J. Sutton, Steve Martin, Keith Hemmings) need the time to nurse physical aches and pains, the coach says the entire team needed the break emotionally.

"We've been on a roller coaster ride the last four games. We had a terribly disappointing loss to Temple, then came back and had a high moment beating Pittsburgh, then we had an extremely low moment at the end of the Miami game, when we couldn't win the football game, then we hung in there and played for 60 minutes and were fortunate enough to beat an excellent Syracuse team, at their place, on Homecoming. The off-week couldn't have come at a better time."
--Coach Tom O'Brien

60-minute men

"I talked a lot this year about mental toughness. We lost a couple of down-to-the-wire games last year. This year, Baylor went down to the last minute, Navy did, as did the Pittsburgh, Miami and Syracuse games. You've got to be prepared to play the whole way, and if it goes into overtime, you've got to be prepared to play that. You have to be mentally tough and able to withstand all the highs and lows that happen in a football game. That's one thing we've been able to accomplish this year."
--Coach Tom O'Brien

A recap of BC's season illustrates what O'Brien's talking about. In seven of BC's eight games, the Eagles have either been ahead or tied going into the fourth quarter of play.

A breakdown:

Opponent       Score after 3 Qtrs.     Final Score
Baylor         BC 16, BU 16            BC, 30-29, ot
Navy           BC 7, Navy 3            BC, 14-10
Rutgers        BC 20, RU 7             BC, 27-7
Northeastern   BC 20, NU 14            BC, 33-22
Temple         TU 24, BC 24            TU, 24-14
Pittsburgh     BC 13, Pitt 13          BC, 20-16
Miami          BC 28, UM 7             UM, 31-28
Syracuse       BC 21, SU 20            BC, 24-23

"We try to get ourselves into a position to win. When you get to that point in the game, somebody has to make a play to win the game. We came into this year talking about our mental toughness, our will to win, hanging in there and playing 60 minutes, and not looking at the scoreboard. I think we've done that."
--Coach Tom O'Brien

Kudos for Chamberlin

Linebacker Frank Chamberlin was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week by the Charlotte Touchdown Club for the week ending Oct. 30. Chamberlin led the Eagles in their 24-23 victory over Syracuse with a career-high 25 tackles (15 solos), 3 TFLs, 1.5 sacks and a 26-yard interception return. He also was named USA Today College Football Player of the Week and BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week.

Matich on the move

With his 40 points thus far, senior placekicker John Matich has moved into second place on the BC all-time scoring list.

The top five:

Player           (years)         Points
Brian Lowe       (1986-89)        262
John Matich      (1996-99)        224
Troy Stradford   (1982-86)        216
Fred Steinfort   (1972-75)        215
Keith Barnette   (1973-75)        206

Matich is eighth on the BIG EAST all-time scoring list. West Virginia's Amos Zereoue is seventh on that list with 234 points.

DuJuan's Midas Touch

What is it with DuJuan Daniels? Every time the sophomore tries something new, it seems to work in a big way. Against Syracuse, the first time he ever returned a kickoff for the Eagles (subbing for the injured William Green), Daniels took the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, providing a huge lift for an Eagles team still stinging from the come-from-ahead loss to Miami a week earlier. That 100-yard kickoff return was only the third in Boston College history, the first since 1973. It also represented the first BC kickoff return for a touchdown since 1990. "What a tremendous effort by DuJuan," Coach Tom O'Brien says. "He's going to keep returning kicks now."

Earlier this year, it was deja vu all over again. Daniels caught a 64-yard pass for a touchdown in the Navy game on his first play ever on offense (he was moved from defensive back a week earlier). In his high school debut for Bishop Chatard in Indianapolis, Daniels snagged a 60-yard pass for a touchdown on his very first play, from Rich Linden, now the starting quarterback for Harvard.

Football News honors O'Brien

Coach Tom O'Brien has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Football News' 1999 Coach of the Year award, the newspaper reported last week. O'Brien joins some elite company that includes Florida State's Bobby Bowden, Penn State's Joe Paterno, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Kansas State's Bill Snyder. The list will be trimmed to three finalists on Nov. 22. The winner will be announced on Dec. 1. Last year's FN Coach of the Year was Arkansas' Houston Nutt.

The 10 semifinalists:

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Bobby Bowden, Florida State
June Jones, Hawaii
Steve Logan, East Carolina
Glen Mason, Minnesota
Tom O'Brien, Boston College
Joe Paterno, Penn State
Jackie Sherrill, Mississippi State
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Tyrone Willingham, Stanford

The BIG EAST bowl formula

When BC won its sixth game and became bowl-eligible, the questions began where do you think BC will go? Although it's too soon to tell where or if BC will go bowling, a look at the BIG EAST bowl formula clears things up somewhat. The BIG EAST is a partner in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The Tostitos Fiesta, FedEx Orange, Nokia Sugar and Rose Bowls will choose from among the champions of the BIG EAST, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-10 and Southeastern Conferences to appear in their respective games.

In addition to the BCS, the BIG EAST is associated with the Toyota Gator Bowl, Insight.com Bowl and Music City Bowl. The Toyota Gator Bowl will select the second team from the BIG EAST after the BCS accepts the conference champion. The Insight.com Bowl will choose a team, as will the Music City Bowl. The BIG EAST and the University of Notre Dame have an agreement which allows Notre Dame the opportunity to be selected by the Toyota Gator Bowl, Insight.com Bowl or Music City Bowl if the Fighting Irish are bowl eligible and do not qualify for the BCS.

The Orrie T. Scarminach Award

Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck received the Orrie T. Scarminach Award, presented annually for the past 17 years to the MVPs of the BC-Syracuse game.

Youthful Eagles...

The past two years, BC has signed 40 prospects to national letters-of-intent. Of those, 36 still have freshman eligibility. Of 93 scholarship players and/or walk-ons on the BC roster, only 29 (31.2%) are upperclassmen, Nearly half 44.6% (41-93)of the players on the roster are freshmen or true freshmen, Throw in the sophomore class of 23 and a full 68.8% (64-93) of this team is either a freshman or sophomore.

...especially the offense

A freshman, sophomore or junior leads the Eagles in every offensive category, including:
Rushing (Cedric Washington, 98.9)
Passing (Tim Hasselbeck, 162.6 and Brian St. Pierre, 41.4)
Receiving (Dedrick DeWalt, 50.9)
Total Offense (Hasselbeck, 179.9, Washington, 98.9, St. Pierre, 56.1)
Punt returns (Dewalt, 18/136)
Kick returns (Green, 12/312)
All-Purpose yards (Washington, 115.1, DeWalt, 69.1, and Green, 67.7).

Red Zone rundown

A look at BC's efficiency in the "red zone" (inside the 20-yard-line)this season:

BC

Game            # in RZ   TD   FG   Effic.
Baylor             6      4     1   83.3%
Navy               3      1     0   33.3%
Rutgers            4      2     2   100%
Northeastern       3      1     1   66.7%
Temple             4      2     0   50.0%
Pittsburgh         1      1     0   100%
Miami              5      4     0   80.0%
Syracuse           3      2     1   100%
Season Totals     29     17     5   77.6%

Opponents

Game           # in RZ   TD    FG   Effic.
Baylor             4      2     1   75.0%
Navy               3      1     1   66.7%
Rutgers            1      0     0    0.0%
Northeastern       2      1     0   50.0%
Temple             4      3     1   100%
Pittsburgh         5      1     3   80.0%
Miami              4      3     1   100%
Syracuse           5      2     3   100%
Season Totals     28     13    10   82.1%

Hovan looms large

BC senior Chris Hovan is among the 12 semifinalists for the 1999 Rotary Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman. The other semifinalists include LaVar Arrington (Penn State), Alex Brown (Florida), Courtney Brown (Penn State), Steve Hutchinson (Michigan), Chris McIntosh (Wisconsin), Corey Moore (Virginia Tech), Rob Morris (Brigham Young), Rob Renes (Michigan), Chris Samuels (Alabama), Corey Simon (Florida State), and Adalius Thomas (Southern Mississippi).

Eagle notes

The 1999 BC roster boasts the top two rushers in Massachusetts high school football history Cedric Washington (6,688 yards, 1992-95, Holyoke) and Doug Bessette (5,034 yards, 1995-98, Bridgewater-Raynham). Several other Eagles left their marks in the rushing record books at their high schools: DuJuan Daniels led the state of Indiana in rushing as a senior, gaining 2,509 yards on 312 carries. Daniels rushed for 325 yards in two games, junior wide receiver Steve Dapra finished as his high school's all-time leading rusher with 2,970 yards, tight end Mike Guazzo set his high school's all-time rushing record with 2,121 yards, freshman running back Paul Cook finished his career as his school's all-time rushing and scoring leader, and freshman running back Greg Toal broke every offensive record at his school. He finished with 96 career touchdowns...BC's game vs. Northeastern featured a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown. When Doug Bessette blocked a Northeastern punt and Ralph Parent returned it for a touchdown at 14:47 in the fourth quarter, it was the first time a Boston College player had returned a blocked punt for a touchdown since David Johnson accomplished the feat on Oct. 13, 1990...Also of note in the Northeastern game -- Frank Chamberlin's fumble recovery for a touchdown was BC's first since Eric Storz returned one vs. Syracuse (67 yards) on October 26, 1996. And RaMon Johnson's interception return for a touchdown was BC's first since Eric Shorter accomplished the feat vs. Temple (35 yards) on October 15, 1994..The BC vs. Pittsburgh game was a big one for BC tight ends. Bryan Arndt had a career-best day with six catches for 88 yards and one touchdown. Mike Guazzo snagged a 21-yard catch, while Robert Ellis caught a 12-yarder.

Honoring the past

In special halftime ceremonies at the Miami game, Boston College retired a jersey honoring the late William J. Flynn '39, who served as the Director of Athletics at BC from 1957 until 1991. A week earlier, BC retired a jersey honoring Eagle great Art Donovan (1946-49). Donovan was one of the greatest linemen ever to play at BC.

Keeping watch

Several Eagles are listed on watch lists for college football's top postseason awards, including:
Rotary Lombardi Award (top lineman): Chris Hovan
Dick Butkus Award (top linebacker): Frank Chamberlin
Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back): Pedro Cirino
Bronko Nagurski (best defensive player): Chris Hovan
Outland Trophy (top interior lineman): Chris Hovan

Under control

Coach Tom O'Brien has been pleased with his team's ball control, and for good reason. Boston College has controlled the time of possession category, holding on to the ball for 30:45 to 29:30 per game for its opponents.

Catch The Tom O'Brien Show

Each Thursday from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., BC Head Coach Tom O'Brien will be featured on "The Tom O'Brien Show" on Sports Radio 850 WEEI. The show is hosted by Ted Sarandis and Peter Cronan.

Xaverian connection

The BC roster features seven players including three starters from Westwood (Mass.) football power Xaverian Brothers High School. The Xaverian Eagles include starters Tim Hasselbeck, Scott Bradley and Adam Newman, as well as Derrick Knight, J.P. Comella, Dan Murphy and Shaun Toof.

NFL Eagles

According to the National Football League, 20 former Boston College Eagles were listed on NFL opening-day rosters (the most of any BIG EAST school other than Miami). Of 250 colleges and universities with former players in the NFL, only 23 have more than BC.

The former Eagles:

Player                Team
Stephen Boyd          Detroit Lions
Doug Brzezinski       Philadelphia Eagles
Mark Chmura           Green Bay Packers
Mike Cloud            Kansas City Chiefs
Stalin Colinet        Minnesota Vikings
Doug Flutie           Buffalo Bills
Glenn Foley           Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselbeck       Green Bay Packers
Pete Kendall          Seattle Seahawks
Mike Mamula           Philadelphia Eagles
Tom McManus           Jacksonville Jaguars
Pete Mitchell         New York Giants
Tim Morabito          Carolina Panthers
Tom Nalen             Denver Broncos
Daryl Porter          Buffalo Bills
Bill Romanowski       Denver Broncos
Ron Stone             New York Giants
Erik Storz            Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Sullivan        New England Patriots
Damien Woody          New England Patriots

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