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November 4, 2013Boston College head coach Steve Addazio set out the goal before Saturday's game to hold Virginia Tech to 14 points or fewer. That didn't happen, but a surprising four second-half turnovers were forced by the Eagles on the way to a 34-27 upset victory.
"We wanted to hold this team to 14 or less points," Addazio said. "We didn't. We got it back by stripping and getting turnovers. That was the way of getting it back. We gave up too many chunk plays but we took that yardage back in turnovers. We told our kids there would be ebbs and flows. It's going to be hard. There are going to be three-and-outs. Just hang in there, play really, really hard and we'll win this thing in the fourth quarter. That's what we did."
BC's pressure on Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas built throughout the game, until the fourth quarter when the Eagles blitzed better than they have all season. Spurred on by seniors Kevin Pierre-Louis at linebacker and Kasim Edebali on the defensive line, BC made up for some poor play in the secondary and missed tackles with momentum-swinging turnovers.
Manny Asprilla started it off with an interception in the third quarter, then Edebali forced a fumble, Pierre-Louis nabbed a 33-yard pick-sick in the fourth, and Edebali forced another fumble to essentially seal the BC victory.
"Coach Addazio and coach Brown, during practice, just kept telling us that we need to create turnovers during practice so that we can create turnovers during the game," Pierre-Louis said. "We started off strong in our first two games creating turnovers, but then we lacked a little bit in turnover ratio. We came into this game knowing that we had to make plays and we had to help out our offense because they were going up against a pretty good defense. It was a turnover battle and today we won."
It was one of Pierre-Louis' best games of his career, making plays all across the field to go along with putting six points on the board. While fellow linebackers Steven Daniels and Steele Divitto had relatively quiet games, Pierre-Louis made up for it with plenty of noise.
Edebali did the same. Not known as being a legitimate playmaker heading into the season, Edebali has already piled up 7.5 sacks, which is more than BC had all of last season. Without his two forced fumbles, the game probably would have gone to Virginia Tech.
"Coach says every time that we have to play aggressive," Edebali said. "The last couple weeks we were lacking a little bit in forcing turnovers, so a big emphasis point the whole week was getting the ball out of their hands and getting interceptions. We kept playing aggressive and in the second half we forced turnovers and it was good."
The win helped show further that in the second half of the season the Eagles aren't going to adjust their defensive gameplan, for the most part. Although the secondary continues to get beat when left in the man coverage for too long, it's a risk that BC has shown it's willing to take. The only way for the Eagles to win is to force pressure more times than they get beat by it, and on Saturday that worked.
"I believe today was one of the first times that we truly finished a game from beginning to end," Pierre-Louis said. We faced adversity from quarter one all the way to quarter four. We were up, tie game, down. Looking at the sideline, the guys never lost faith. We kept echoing on the sideline, let's play to win, let's not play not to lose and we just rallied around each other."
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