Boston College-Virginia Tech Preview

Virginia Tech has overcome losses to Boston College each of the last two seasons to exact revenge on the Eagles in the ACC championship game both times.

With both teams looking like they could contend for the conference crown again in 2009, the Hokies hope to avoid falling in that early hole this time around.

The fifth-ranked Hokies try to stay undefeated in conference play with their fifth straight win overall Saturday when they host the Eagles, going for their third consecutive ACC victory.

Boston College was ranked No. 2 when it knocked off No. 8 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Oct. 25, 2007. The Hokies responded by winning four straight before defeating the Eagles 30-16 in the conference championship game.

Virginia Tech did it again last season, taking a 30-12 win over Boston College in the ACC title game after suffering its first loss of the season 28-23 in Boston on Oct. 18.

The Hokies (4-1, 2-0) know that the Eagles (4-1, 2-1) are one of many teams hoping to keep them from a third straight conference title.

"Whenever you're back-to-back ACC champions, everybody's gunning for you," running back Josh Oglesby said. "Everybody's like, 'Oh Man! We play Virginia Tech this week.' Everybody's a little more souped up for practice. I think we're going to get everybody's best shot."

Oglesby is convinced Virginia Tech can withstand those shots and get its fourth conference title in six years.

"We've been there before. We know the feeling. We know what it takes to get back there," he said, "I think just knowing what it takes to get there, that's what keeps us moving."

Tyrod Taylor did a fine job keeping the Hokies moving last Saturday, completing 17 of 22 passes for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns without an interception to help Virginia Tech overcome 12 penalties in a 34-26 win at Duke.

Taylor hadn't been very efficient or productive through the first four games, completing 47.2 percent of his passes for 542 yards as the Hokies relied heavily on Ryan Williams and the second-most productive rushing attack in the conference with 203.2 yards per game.

But with Duke focused on bottling up Williams, coach Frank Beamer was pleased with the way Taylor and the rest of the offense stepped up.

"I think we're getting closer to being a good balanced offense," Beamer said. "We're able to run it, we're able to throw it and one helps the other out."

Beamer hopes for more of the same against a Boston College team looking to break into the Top 25 for the first time in 2009. After getting held to 54 yards in a 25-7 loss at Clemson in their conference opener, the Eagles have pulled out narrow wins at home over Wake Forest and Florida State.

Montel Harris broke free up the middle for a 42-yard touchdown run with 4:07 remaining to break a 21-all tie and help the Eagles to a 28-21 win over the Seminoles last Saturday. Harris finished with 179 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries as Boston College recovered after blowing an 18-point lead.

"We're a work in progress. I can't emphasize it enough, we have a long way to go but we've come a long way from that performance (at Clemson)," coach Frank Spaziani said. "It's a distant memory. As you always have to do, you have to put it behind you and move forward. We told the kids at the beginning we're working our way up the hill."

The Eagles are hoping to keep progressing with Dave Shinskie as their starting quarterback. Shinskie has completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 431 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in the last two games after splitting time with fellow freshman Justin Tuggle in the first three.

"I think we just found an identity on offense," Shinskie said. "We go out there and are just a little more pepped up. We have guys being more vocal in the huddle and on the practice field. I think our offense finally found itself."

Shinskie and Boston College hope to have the same success against the Virginia Tech defense that Duke did last week. The Hokies gave up plays of 48, 74, 55 and 34 yards in a lackluster performance against the Blue Devils.

Though he acknowledged his team had focus issues last week, Beamer said he thought it would benefit from the experience down the stretch.

"We talked yesterday. We've got seven games here, and only seven, and for me, making a great preparation for every game beginning this week is not too much to ask of each other," Beamer said. "So that's what we're going to attempt to do."