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Boston College opened the Frank Spaziani coaching era with a very thorough defeat of Northeastern. The Eagles program has faced many doubts this offseason with the coaching upheaval, loss of Mark Herzlich for the season due to the stunning cancer news, loss of bookend defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace to the NFL, and an uncertain quarterback scenario. BC showed that those issues may not be as big as they were thought. However, Northeastern is but one small test for the Eagles before expectations should be raised too far.
Justin Tuggle opened the game at quarterback, but aside from the success he had handing the ball off, he did not get the passing game moving and was replaced for the third series with David Shinskie, despite leading the Eagles to two rushing scores. The quarterback rotisserie was in force all game with Mike Marscovetra and Codi Boek also seeing action. Tuggle was 3/5 with 56 yards and one touchdown, Shinskie was 7/10 for 110 with a score, Marscovetra was 3/3 with 21 yards, and Boek was 2/4 with 18 yards. In aggregate, they were 15/22 with 205 yards.
The BC running backs took advantage of the big holes opened by the offensive line to average 6.2 yards per carry. Sophomore Montel Harris looks like a budding star with his 15-carry, 118-yard day, including three touchdowns (one was a catch). He opened the scoring with a 48-yard run after breaking a couple tackles on BC’s first play. Freshman Rolandon Finch was 7 for 58 with one score and sophomore Josh Haden produced 45 yards on 11 carries and had one touchdown. BC had 236 rushing yards and four touchdowns overall on the ground.
Ten different Eagles caught passes with no one catching more than three or having more than 42 yards. This should not be a surprise with the youth at the position and with all new quarterbacks looking for their new favorite targets. Colin Larmond had one catch for 42 yards to lead the way while Billy Flutie had two for 33 yards including one touchdown.
The Eagles made plenty of big plays beginning with an Alex Albright sack on the first play of the game. The defense stepped up later by forcing Northeastern to punt from the one. With punter Ron Conway bottled up, he booted a low hangtime line drive to Rich Gunnell, who caught it on one bounce on the 42 with all green in front of him. With the coverage not in place, Gunnell took the punt to the end zone. BC also converted its first safety of the season later in the game when punter Ryan Quigley left them at the two and Elijah Harris could not get the ball out of the end zone two plays later.
BC faces Kent State (1-0) next week at Chestnut Hill. Northeastern opens it Colonial Athletic Association schedule next week at home against Maine.