Following a 30-14 triumph Saturday at North Carolina State — Boston College’s first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season — coach Steve Addazio lauded his team for its statistical status among the nation’s top 10.
Through six games, BC (4-2 overall, 1-1 ACC) ranks No. 4 in rushing offense (315.7 yards), sixth in time of possession (34:44), and tops among defenses in average number of plays (58).
“These are some of the things you don’t hear talked about a lot in the media, but they’re really important,’’ Addazio said Monday during his weekly press briefing at Conte Forum. “Time of possession and the fact our defense is No. 1 for fewest amount of plays played, that has been directly correlated to our ability to possess the ball and run the ball on offense.’’
But with the Eagles set to host No. 24 Clemson (4-2, 3-1) in an Atlantic Division showdown Saturday, Addazio expressed concern about their ability to maintain that statistical edge against a team that he said had “the most dominant defense I’ve ever seen, period.’’
And that includes the Alabama defense that smothered Florida, 32-13, in the 2009 Southeastern Conference championship game when Addazio was an assistant under former Gators coach Urban Meyer.
“I’m just amazed watching them,’’ Addazio said of Clemson’s defense, which is tied for sixth in the nation (286.0 yards per game), has allowed 4.4 yards per play, and is led by 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound senior defensive end Vic Beasley, who is tied for third in the nation in sacks (eight).
“Vic Beasley? I mean, watch him. He must run 4.5,’’ Addazio said. “ Matt Patchan was a bona fide, legitimate left tackle, and he struggled with him [in last year’s 24-14 loss at Clemson]. I mean, the guy is unbelievable. He’s a great pass rusher and he’ll be a No. 1 draft pick.
“No. 50, their nose tackle [Grady Jarrett], he’s completely dominant. No one blocks him. Not a soul. Not Florida State. Not Georgia. Nobody’s blocking him. Nobody.
“And then Stephone Anthony, the ‘Mike’ linebacker, he might be the best Mike linebacker in the country. He makes more plays, more broken passes, more tackles . . .
“They’re just a great tackling defense.’’
Addazio’s film study of Clemson’s 41-0 shutout of North Carolina State and its 23-17 home victory over Louisville only reinforced his high opinion.
“[When] people make plays on them, they’re broken plays,’’ Addazio said. “They’re really not executed plays, because it’s extremely difficult. That’s how completely dominant they are.
“It’s going to be an unbelievable opportunity for us to play them at home, but it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, sitting here and thinking, ‘How are we going to move the ball against these guys?’
“They’re that good.’’
Stoudt steps in
Addazio also will have to figure out how to prepare for senior backup quarterback Cole Stoudt after Clemson’s starter, freshman Deshaun Watson, suffered a broken little finger on his right (throwing) hand against Louisville and will be sidelined a month.
“He was a tremendous athlete, but Cole Stoudt’s a really good quarterback and a really good player,’’ said Addazio.
Stoudt, a 6-4, 225-pounder from Dublin, Ohio, overcame injuries of his own to finish the game against Louisville after suffering a separated shoulder the week before against North Carolina State. He did not practice in the week leading up to the Louisville game and, according to reports, required a pain-killing injection to suit up.
It’s not likely that Stoudt will pose the same dual threat as Watson, who averaged a whopping 10.5 yards per attempt, had an impressive 12-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and compiled a 186.95 passer rating that ranked second in the nation.
Williams won’t return
BC graduate left guard Harris Williams, who fractured his left ankle in the Aug. 30 opener against the University of Massachusetts, will be lost for the season, according to Addazio. It was hoped that Williams might be back within 6-8 weeks after surgery, but Addazio ruled out that possibility. “It was a bad break, with the pins and whole deal,’’ Addazio said. “It’ll heal fine, but it’s just a matter of time and you’re against the clock. It was a really tough injury in Game 1 for a really veteran player.’’ . . . Senior Brian Mihalik and senior Josh Keyes are the ACC’s Defensive End of the Week and Co-Linebacker of the Week, respectively. Mihalik recorded a sack and returned his first career interception for 21 yards, while Keyes also recorded a sack and had a team-leading 10 tackles . . . Addazio lauded defensive tackle Kevin Kavalec for his relentless play in helping the Eagles record four sacks of North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett. The coach credited the sophomore for having “the most under-the-radar impact on the game. His effort created sacks for other people. I think his energy level was unbelievable.’’ . . . The ACC announced that the starting time for BC’s Oct. 25 conference game at Wake Forest will be 3:30 p.m.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.