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    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Quarterbacks

    Before the season started in 2008, Chris Crane was well aware the Boston College quarterback watch had begun. After all, he would be attempting to fill the shoes of Matt Ryan. As he said, " It's a lot different when everyone is looking at you." Crane, a senior who had started just one game over the past three seasons is now starting in his tenth game this Saturday against the Noles.

    Crane will be playing behind a huge offensive line. LT Anthony Castonzo (6-7, 287), LG Clif Ramsey (6-6, 311), C Matt Tennant (6-4, 294), RG Thomas Claiborne (6-3, 323) and RT Rich Lapham (6-8, 322) are all between 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-8, and their average weight is 307.4 pounds.An indicator of how good they are is that the Eagles are the leaders in the ACC with the least amount of sacks allowed with 11 for the season.

    The 6-4/239 pound Crane has thrown for 1,506 yards, 9 TDs, and 12 interceptions. His 12 interceptions ties him in the ACC with the most picks. He is averaging 167 yards a game and averages almost 31 throws a game for a 55% completion percentage. Crane like Ponder does run the ball and has rushed for 193 yards and scored 7 TDs.

    In passing offense, BC is ranked #10 in the ACC averaging 173 yards a game and scoring 10 TDs through the air. In scoring offense, BC is #4 scoring on average almost 27 points a game. On third down conversions, BC is ranked #7 and convert 36.15of third downs. BC has a lot of discipline as evidenced by the fact that they have the least number of penalties and penalty yards in the ACC. They have exactly half the number of penalties as the Noles.

    Against the Irish last Saturday, Crane threw for only 79 yards and 1 TD. He also rushed for 40 yards. His best game by far was the win over NC State in October. In that game, Crane threw for 428 yards and 2 TDs.

    Defensive matchup: Crane will be facing a tough Nole defense that is ranked #1 in the ACC in total defense. In passing defense, the Noles are also #1 allowing 163 yards a game, 10 TDs through the air, and 6 interceptions. The Nole secondary is anchored by Myron Rolle who is second on the team in tackles but has no interceptions. The other anchor is Tony Carter who has two picks on the year.

    The Noles are clearly the leaders in allowing the least number of third downs by opponents allowing only 18.1%. In red zone defense, the Noles are ranked #2. In scoring defense, the Noles are ranked #5 allowing 19.3 points a game.

    Crane may get to know defensive end Everette Brown very well as Brown is #2 in the ACC in sacks with 9 sacks on the year. The Noles are tied for the lead in the ACC in sacks with 28. In addition, Brown is the leader in the ACC with tackles for a loss with 15. The linebacker corps is anchored by Derek Nicholson who ranks #7 in the ACC in tackles for a loss and has 54 tackles on the season and leads the team in that category.

    Turnovers may be the key in this game. However, up to this point in the season, the Noles have not been that opportunistic and are ranked next to last in the ACC.

    For the Noles, QB Christian Ponder plays in his tenth game as a starter. For the season, Ponder has thrown for 1,421 yards, 11 TDs, and 8 interceptions. He is averaging almost 158 yards a game and has completed 55% of his passes.

    Ponder also can run and on the season he has 289 yards and 2 TDs. The pass offense for the Noles is ranked #8 in the ACC. In scoring offense, the Noles are ranked #1 and are averaging almost 36 points a game.

    On third down conversions, the Noles are ranked #1 in the ACC converting 48.72% of third downs. In red zone conversions, they are ranked #2 converting 90.63% of the time when they are inside the twenty.

    The Nole offensive line will have to have a good game against the BC defense. They are currently ranked #5 in the ACC in sacks allowed with 15 on the season. In tackles for a loss allowed, the Noles are ranked #9 in the ACC. One glaring problem for the Noles is penalties and the Noles are at the bottom in the ACC getting over 8 penalties a game and averaging 77.3 yards a game.

    Defensive matchup: The Noles will be facing a BC defense that is ranked #4 in the ACC in pass defense allowing 175 yards a game and only 5 TDs through the air. Boston College is tied for #1 in the ACC in interceptions with 18 picks and 2 returned for a TD. The interception leader for BC is defensive back Paul Anderson with 5 interceptions and 1 returned for a TD. Linebacker Mark Herzlich also has three picks with one returned for a TD.

    The Eagles are ranked #2 in total defense. Defensive right tackle B.J. Raji has four sacks and six tackles for a loss. On third down conversions, BC is allowing their opponents 34.71% on third downs. In red zone conversions, the Eagles are #2 in the ACC allowing opponents to score 68.42% of the time when inside the twenty.

    Quick stat: Chris Crane has thrown 9 TDs and rushed for 7 TDs. Christian Ponder has thrown 11 TDs and rushed for 2 TDs.

    BC leads ACC in interceptions with 18. FSU has six interceptions and ranks next to last in ACC.

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