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Hockey East Season Preview: This really might be ‘the deepest the league has ever been’

10.07.13 at 9:22 am ET
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If you go to enough Hockey East media days, you’ll realize that there are certain lines you’re bound to hear from coaches year after year.

“Anyone can beat anyone in this league.”

“There isn’t much of a difference between the first-place team and the last-place team.”

“This might be the deepest the league has ever been.”

“There’s more parity now than ever before.”

The first quote is obviously true. That’s how sports work. We see upsets all the time, and Hockey East is no different. Just last year, we saw conference champ Massachusetts-Lowell drop the season series against eighth-place Maine (Lowell went on to sweep Maine in the playoffs, though), and second-place Boston College lose games against each of Hockey East’s bottom three teams.

But the fact that the first quote is true doesn’t necessarily mean the second quote is true. Let’s face it: the worst teams really only have a chance of beating the best teams when the best teams are off their game. There’s a reason Lowell and BC ended up with significantly better records than Massachusetts and Northeastern last season — because Lowell and BC were significantly better teams. And barring something crazy, they’ll be significantly better teams again this year.

As for the third and fourth quotes, when you hear them every year, you start to wonder if coaches would say those things even if they didn’t actually believe them. The league can’t really get deeper every single year, can it? There can’t really be more and more parity every year, right?
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Read More: Boston College, Boston University, Hockey East, maine

BC confirms Army game will go on as scheduled

10.03.13 at 8:21 am ET
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Boston College’s game Saturday against Army will be played as scheduled. The school confirmed the decision with a statement late Thursday morning.

“I’€™m pleased to announce we will host the U.S. Military Academy this Saturday,” BC athletic director Brad Bates said. “I’€™m thrilled our students and those from the service academies will get to play their games this weekend. Thank you, fans, for your patience and understanding the past couple of days. Also, thanks to Army AD Boo Corrigan, who has been terrific through this process.”

There were concerns that the service academies would not play this weekend following the government shutdown, but the secretary of defense reportedly agreed to allow the teams to use independent funding to allow the teams’ participation.

Bates had said in a statement Wednesday that there would be an announcement mid-day Thursday.

Tweeted Bates Wednesday night: Lots of chatter re Army game; we owe you accuracy. In consistent contact with Army tonight, will let you know asap when confirmed.

Navy hosts Air Force on Saturday in a game that is sold out, and Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said a cancellation would have wide-ranging effects.

“It would be devastating to our budget,” said Gladchuk, a former BC AD.

Read More: Brad Bates, Chet Gladchuk,

BC offers Army financial assistance to play Saturday

10.02.13 at 12:02 pm ET
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With the government shutdown affecting the sports teams at the service academies, Boston College is doing its part to have Saturday’s football game against visiting Army go on as scheduled.

“We have been considering and engaging all possibilities in order to play Saturday’€™s football game, including offering financial assistance to Army for travel,” BC athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement Wednesday morning. “We have been told by officials at the U.S. Military Academy, however, that this is not solely a financial decision. I remain in close communication with Army AD Boo Corrigan and we expect a decision will be made by noon tomorrow. We will provide an update as soon as we have more information.”

Meanwhile, BC coach Steve Addazio announced Wednesday that defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left patella tendon. The 6-foot-7, 278-pound junior started all four games this season, recording 17 tackles (9 solo) and two sacks.

BC football game vs. Army in jeopardy due to government shutdown

10.01.13 at 2:28 pm ET
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Boston College’s home football game against Army this Saturday is in jeopardy of being postponed as a result of the government shutdown that began early Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, Navy athletics announced that the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletics at the service academies until the shutdown is over.

“We have been in close communication with Army athletics officials regarding the potential impact of the govt shutdown on Saturday’s game,” BC athletic director Brad Bates said on Twitter. “Obviously our intention is to exhaust all possibilities to play & will communicate the information promptly as soon as we have resolution.”

Saturday’s Navy-Air Force game is also in jeopardy, with Navy saying a decision would be announced by noon on Thursday. Other athletic events involving the service academies have already been canceled.

Saturday’s game against Army is set to be the centerpiece of BC’s first homecoming weekend in decades.

UConn fires football coach Paul Pasqualoni

09.30.13 at 10:55 am ET
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UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired following an 0-4 start to the season, the school announced Monday.

UConn will announce an interim head coach at 4 p.m. Monday, and it reportedly won’€™t be associate head coach George DeLeone.

‘€œI am making this change in our football coaching staff now as we approach the conference season to see an improved performance from our football program,’€ athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. ‘€œI am disappointed in the record of our team thus far, but I am confident that our coaching staff and student-athletes will continue to work hard to improve and that will be reflected on the field of play as we start our American Athletic Conference season.’€

Pasqualoni took over as coach before the start of the 2011 season, but back-to-back 5-7 seasons and the putrid start to this season doomed him. The Huskies’ four losses this year include a season-opening 33-18 loss to Towson, an FCS team, and most recently, a 41-12 loss to Buffalo. UConn also fell to Maryland and No. 15 Michigan.

Pasqualoni coached at Syracuse from 1991-2004, amassing a 107-59-1 record and six bowl game victories before his firing in 2004. After Syracuse, Pasqualoni spent time in the NFL as an assistant coach for the Cowboys and Dolphins.

Read More: Paul Pasqualoni,

BC blows 14-point lead and game to No. 8 Florida State

09.28.13 at 7:03 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes and Florida State intercepted Chase Rettig and returned it for a touchdown as eighth-ranked Seminoles erased a 14-point deficit and beat Boston College, 48-34, Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Boston College falls to 2-2 and 1-1 in the ACC while No. 8 Florida State improves to 4-0, 2-0 in the ACC.

The Eagles got first quarter touchdown passes from Rettig to C.J. Parsons and Jake Sinkovec in building a 14-3 lead. Boston College scored on its first three possessions of the game while dominating the Seminoles in the opening quarter. The Eagles nearly intercepted Winston on his first two passes of the day and sacked him on the final play of the opening series.

Nate Freese‘s 24-yard field goal with 11:19 left in the second quarter put the Eagles up, 17-3. But from that point, Florida State and Winston dominated the game. Andre Williams had 100 yards rushing on his first 18 carries in the first half and finished with 149 yards on 28 carries, eclipsing 2,000 yards and moving into 13th place on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,067 yards.

Winston threw three second-quarter touchdowns, including a long 55-yard connection to Kenny Shaw down the right sideline as time expired in the first half, giving Florida State its first lead, 24-17, heading to the locker room. Winston escaped two potential tackles that would have ended the half tied before the long heave.

“It was devastating giving up that big play before the half,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “We had the kid [Winston] on the ground but we came right back out there.”

Florida State’s domination continued in the third quarter despite a 71-yard kickoff return by BC’s Myles Willis to open the third quarter. The Eagles were able to convert only a field goal out of the big return and Florida State posted another two touchdowns, one on the fourth TD strike of the day by Winston and another on 1-yard run by Karlos Williams. Willis also caught a 52-yard touchdown from Rettig in the third quarter.

“I am upset about the big plays,” Addazio said. “We let up too many big plays on defense. You can’t do that. That’s upsetting to me.”

Florida State took its biggest lead, 48-27, when P.J. Williams intercepted Rettig and returned it 20 yards with 13:41 left and capping a 45-10 run by the Seminoles.

Rettig fought back with his fourth TD pass of the day, a 17-yard strike to Parsons. With a chance to draw to within a score at the Florida State 20, Rettig was intercepted by Nate Andrews at the 1, sealing the loss for the Eagles.

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, Chase Rettig, Florida State

UMass football alumni call for coach Charley Molnar to stop ‘improper treatment’ of players

09.27.13 at 11:10 am ET
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UMass football coach Charley Molnar, who has just one win in a season and a half at the helm of the Minutemen, found himself defending his reputation following an online petition circulating among former players critical of the coach’s methods.

The petition, originally posted on the UMass Football Alum private Facebook group, calls for Molnar to “stop the improper treatment of the current players” and “improve the quality of the program.” It notes that a number of players have left the program since Molnar’s arrival.

It makes reference to a YouTube video that shows players wrestling and boxing during winter conditioning workouts prior to the 2012 season. At the time, such workouts were legal, but the NCAA since has banned “combatives.”

‘€œWe used a number of different training methods to measure and hopefully develop mental toughness and accountability with our guys. It’€™s hard for a guy to go out there and wrestle or box another man if he has self-doubt,’€ Molnar told the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

‘€œWe tried to get these guys to feel that fear but go out there and do it anyway,’€ he added. ‘€œWe never had one guy not go out and box or wrestle. Some of them went out with a lot of trepidation, but by the end of the cycle were thoroughly enjoying the activity. We did all these activities with safety in mind. I’€™m a fanatic about player safety. I thought it aided in team-building. Guys faced the fear and fought through it. That was the objective.’€

Former UMass quarterback Brandon Hill, now a starter at Monmouth, said he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during a wrestling match.

Molnar ‘€œhad me wrestling a linebacker in the snow,’€ Hill told the Gazette. ‘€œHe put me down and I dislocated my shoulder and completely tore my labrum in half. That kind of bummed me out. I had to go get surgery after that.’€

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BC’s Andre Williams, Bryce Jones receive ACC honors

09.09.13 at 8:25 pm ET
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Boston College senior running back Andre Williams was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week after rushing for 204 yards and a touchdown in Friday’s 24-10 victory over Wake Forest.

Sophomore Bryce Jones was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week for leading the team’s defensive effort with two solo tackles, one interception, one pass breakup and a fumble recovery.

BC (2-0, 1-0 ACC) returns to action Saturday afternoon with a game against USC in Los Angeles. The Trojans (1-1) dropped out of the Top 25 following their 10-7 loss to Washington on Saturday, but the Eagles know they’ll have their hands full.

“They are an extremely talented football team,” BC coach Steve Addazio said in his Monday press conference. “They have great players; they’€™re big and they’€™re fast and they’€™re physical. I think their defense is exceptional, so we’€™ll really have a pretty significant challenge here. From an offensive standpoint, it’€™s not going to be easy to run the football against this outfit. I don’€™t think I’€™ve seen too many people do it. Washington did not score an offensive touchdown. They kicked a field goal and returned an interception for a touchdown. So I think we have a great, great challenge. ‘€¦

“They’€™re really talented. The challenge for us — I think we need to have a great week of preparation. I think we need to go out and be who we are. Go out and play really hard and be really gritty. I told our team, ‘Let’€™s go out there and play as hard as we can play, get the game to the fourth quarter and go after the win.’€™ That’€™s what we want to do.”

Read More: Andre Williams, Bryce Jones,

Andre Williams on his career night: ‘It couldn’t have worked out better for me’

09.07.13 at 12:38 am ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College coach Steve Addazio picked up his second win Friday night, thanks in large part to a career performance from a player he didn’t even know would be available earlier in the day.

Andre Williams, nursing a hamstring injury from last Saturday’s win over Villanova, didn’t practice all week during the shortened preparations for Friday night against Wake Forest.

“Honestly, on Tuesday, I came off the field and [execution] wasn’t where it needed to be. First of all, Andre Williams didn’t practice this week and secondly, we weren’t where we needed to be. But our kids, they rallied,” Addazio said. “I’m really proud of them for that. I think we took a step forward in learning how to prepare like a big-time football program.”

But when the training staff gave the senior tailback the go-ahead to play, he didn’t let up. Williams carried the ball 35 times and gained a career-high 204 yards in a 24-10 win over the Demon Deacons at Alumni Stadium.

Not only did he rush for a key third-quarter touchdown, he ran out the clock at the end of the game as BC was looking to put the game away. Quarterback Chase Rettig handed it off to Williams eight straight times on the final drive as time wound down.

“I’m a running back. I love running the ball,” Williams said. “Putting the ball in my hands, there’s nothing I like more than that. Coach Addazio is an offensive guy. He loves to run the ball and it couldn’t have worked out better for me.”

Read More: Andre Williams, Boston College, Steve Addazio, Wake Forest

Andre Williams, Alex Amidon lead opportunistic Eagles to win in ACC opener

09.06.13 at 11:07 pm ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — Andre Williams rushed 35 times for a career-high 204 yards and a touchdown while the Boston College defense forced three first-half turnovers to power the Eagles to a 24-10 win over Wake Forest in the ACC opener for both teams.

Playing on a short week and in a rare nationally televised Friday night game at Alumni Stadium, Chase Rettig managed an effective game, completing 7-of-14 passes for just 123 yard but two touchdowns as Boston College improved to 2-0 and 1-0 in ACC play.

Boston College took advantage of sloppy play by Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price and the Demon Deacons offense in the first half to score two touchdowns and take a 17-7 halftime lead.

On the opening drive, Josh Harris fumbled a pitch to the near sideline and Spenser Rositano recovered at the Wake Forest 27. After a one-yard rush, Boston College converted the turnover into a touchdown as Rettig found Alex Amidon on a bubble screen out to the left for 26 yards and an Eagles touchdown. Amidon finished with five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.

After an exchange of punts, Wake Forest put together a 10-play, 76-yard drive, consuming 5:30 of clock. The drive was capped off by a 30-yard Price to Michael Campanaro connection for a touchdown.

On the next drive, Rettig fired a 51-yard bullet of a pass over the deep middle to Amidon, who turned his body around in midair and came down with it at the Wake Forest 24. That spectacular play set up Nate Freese’s 33-yard field goal that gave the Eagles the lead for good.

The first quarter ended on another botched pitch play by the Deacons as Price fumbled at his own 28 and it was recovered by Bryce Jones at the 22. On the first play of the second quarter and the first play after the fumbled, Rettig rolled out to his right and fired a strike to Spiffy Evans for a 22-yard TD that put the Eagles up, 17-7.

Wake Forest had several chances to get back into the game, including a golden opportunity just before the half. With under a minute left, Freese dropped back at his 20 to punt. The kick was blocked and Wake recovered at the BC 3. They had four chances to punch it with :52 remaining. The Eagles, like they did a week earlier against Villanova, stopped all four chances, including a run stuff on 4th-and-goal from the 1.

Williams dominated the only BC scoring drive of the second half, carrying the ball six times for 39 yards, including the final five plays of the drive, capped off by a two-yard plunge that made it 24-7 with 1:54 left in the third.

Wake Forest had a chance to close the lead to 10 early in the fourth when they got within the BC 10. After converting a 4th-and-one from the BC 7, the Deacons had to settle for a 26-yard Chad Hedlund field goal that cut the Eagles’ lead to 14 at 24-10 with 10:17 left in the fourth.

After playing on a short week, Boston College hits the road for the first time next Saturday when they travel to the historic Los Angeles Coliseum to take on the Southern Cal Trojans.

Read More: Alex Williams, Andre Williams, Boston College, Chase Rettig
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