December 28, 2007


ORLANDO, Fla.- It's not hard to see why these two teams don't lose games by a lot of points. The Spartans were never out of this game, and the Eagles were never fully in control- but tonight, Michigan State got a little taste of what Virginia Tech, Clemson, and other ACC powerhouses had to deal with this season. The Eagles, without the standard heroics of quarterback Matt Ryan, pulled off a 24-41 defeat of Michigan State to finish the season 11-3 while extending the nation's longest active bowl winning streak to eight.
"It was big to get 11 wins," said Eagles head coach Jeff Jagodzinski after the game. "To get double-digit wins is hard in any league, and to get 11- we haven't done that at BC since 1940."
Then, there's the whole bowl-streak thing, too.
"You never want to be the team to end the streak," said BC safety Jamie Silva. "Being here on the sidelines and playing for five consecutive wins is something real special."
There were obstacles to overcome on both sides: the Eagles' running game was relatively ineffective, and it took them some time to get into any kind of a rhythym in terms of the passing game. On the Spartans' side, they came out of the gates much more fired up than BC, but it was hard for them to sustain a consistent and effective level of play. Particularly, Brian Hoyer could not keep his composure, throwing four interceptions in key spots for Michigan State while accumulating just 131 yards.
Still, Spartans first-year head coach Mark Dantonio was far from disappointed with his team's effort.
"The one thing I asked our team to do was look in the mirror at the end of the day and do the best we could," he said after the game. "[I wanted us] to hang together and press together and we did that, and we never stopped playing.
"I hope our players understand that the difference between winning and losing is so small that if you blink, you miss it."
While former Heisman candidate Matt Ryan didn't really come alive until the second half, he produced when it counted- he has a knack for doing that. His 68-yard touchdown completion to Rich Gunnell (138 yards) sealed the game for BC, and he somehow finished with a respectable 250 yards.
However, the Player of the Game was not on offense; to nobody's surprise, it was Eagles safety Jamie Silva, one of the 17 BC fifth-year seniors who did not want his last memory as a member of this team to be tarnished by a loss. His two first-half picks saved his team at least 10 points, which certainly came in handy at the end of the fourth quarter, when the Eagles had their backs against the wall.
Like many Boston College football games this season, this one came down to one or two key plays, and it was never over until the final second ticked off the clock. This team has a flair for the dramatic, and fortunately for them and their eight-game bowl winning streak, the Eagles managed to pull it off again.


ORLANDO, Fla.- With 48 seconds remaining, Ryan rushes for the QB sneak on 4th & 1 from the 20. It's in the bag. May the nation's longest bowl winning streak live on. Most Valuable Player award goes to Mr. Silva.

Michigan State 21, BC 24


ORLANDO, Fla.- Michigan State, first play of the drive... Can you guess what happened? Interception, Paul Anderson. BC takes over at the Spartans' 29. Four picks on the night for Mr. Hoyer.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
2:23 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- After Matt Ryan fumbled then recovered on third down at the 44, Johnny Ayers punts the ball away with 2:45 remaining. Hope the Spartans have been practicing those two-minute drills.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Another big third-down stop for BC. Now all the Eagles need to do is manage the clock and hold on to the ball.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
4:25 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- After a bomb from Brian Hoyer to Devin Thomas was ruled incomplete (receiver caught the ball out of bounds), Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio challenges the ruling on the field, and... the ruling on the field stands. "The ball was being bobbled before posession was gained."

Michigan State 21, BC 24
4:41 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- The Eagles go three-and-out on the next drive: three passing plays, three incompletes. Johnny Ayers punts and Devin Thomas fumbles the recovery, losing 11 yards for his team and setting up a drive from the seven.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
5:14 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Quick turn of events: on 1st & 10 from the 45 on the clock, Matt Ryan is sacked by Greg Jones, then fumbles. The ball is picked up by Oren Wilson on the 37, where the Spartans take over- and they only need 32 seconds to score. For the first time since the first drive of the game, Brian Hoyer connects with Deon Curry for a touchdown pass, and Michigan State picks up the two-point conversion on a pass to Kellen Davis. With 6:04 left, the Eagles need to make something happen to protect this lead.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
6:04 remaining in the 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- This one is pretty much over. The Spartans, facing 4th & 1 from the BC 43, went for it. Hoyer, facing pressure from Nick Larkin, backpedaled all the way back to his own 40 and was forced to throw it away. BC takes over on the Michigan State 43 with 7:17 remaining.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Rich Gunnell came up with another game-changing touchdown pass from Matt Ryan, this one being a 68-yarder to give the Eagles a 24-13 lead. Seeing as Michigan State hasn't been able to score a touchdown since the first drive of the game, the Eagles should have this one in the bag, barring a complete defensive collapse.

Michigan State 13, BC 24
9:21 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Big third-down stop for the Eagles to close out the third quarter: with Michigan State driving and facing 3rd & 6 from the 48, the Eagles forced a punt.

Michigan State 13, BC 17
End of 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- It's too familiar for the Spartans now: first play of a drive, another pick by a member of the Eagles secondary. This time, Kevin Akins was the antagonist, picking off Hoyer and setting up BC at the 28. But another three passing plays came up empty, and the ball was out of Aponavicius' field goal range, so BC was forced to go for it on fourth down and got nothing. Michigan State takes over on the 26.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Boston College wide receiver Brandon Robinson has been MIA this half, raising suspicions that he's done for the night with an injury- perhaps an aggravation of the broken foot that sidelined him earlier in the season.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Do the Eagles finally have the passing attack going? It sure seems that way. In a drive that started at their own 20, the Eagles called seven consecutive passing plays- and capitalized on a pass interference call on Ross Weaver- to get themselves to the Michigan State 11-yard line, but they had to settle for a 28-yard Steve Aponavicius field goal. Still, for the first time all night, Matt Ryan looked like he had established an offensive rhythym, so this bodes well for BC.

Michigan State 13, BC 17
5:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC needs to find a way to stay in this game without Jamie Silva- especially because the Spartans are quickly realizing that the Eagles cannot stop the run, so there's no need to go airborne anymore. After BC couldn't score on the first drive of the half, the Spartans ran all over the BC defense, accumulating 30 yards on the ground and three straight first downs. The tandem of Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer powered Michigan State into the red zone, but the Spartans couldn't get a touchdown out of a 1st & goal situation from the nine. Instead, they settled for a 23-yard Brett Swenson field goal to pull within a point.

Michigan State 13, BC 14
8:21 remaining in the 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Somehow, the Eagles came out of this half with a lead- but none of it can be attributed to their offense. BC's defense- namely, safety Jamie Silva- is keeping them in this game right now. Michigan State, despite being without two key defensive players, doesn't look like it's having any trouble making Matt Ryan uncomfortable and the pass rush is proving extremely effective.
The Eagles came out looking very confused and extremely- bored? Michigan State got a touchdown in the first two minutes on a Brian Hoyer pass to Kellen Davis, and BC was forced into a three-and-out. Matt Ryan could not find his receivers, and the offensive line wasn't holding up for him. The Eagles looked even worse in their second possession, when two consecutive penalties crushed any hopes they had of a scoring drive. But the momentum shifted when Silva recorded his first interception, which he returned the 38-yard line. But BC came up empty and had to punt- again.
The Eagles defense continued playing damage control for the offense, recovering a fumbled snap at the Michigan State 11-yard line on the next play, which finally set the Eagles up for a score: a short pass from Ryan to tight end Jon Loyte.
BC got into a groove after that, holding the Spartans scoreless on their next drive and then scoring for the second consecutive drive. This time, Ryan connected with Rich Gunnell for a 29-yard hookup with just under nine minutes remaining in the half to take a 14-7 lead.
The special teams woes for the Eagles continued later in the quarter, when a Johnny Ayers punt went just 12 yards and allowed the Spartans to take over at the Eagles' 30, but BC's defense held Michigan State to a field goal. On the Eagles' next drive, Ryan stumbled again, throwing a pick to Eric Gordon- but up popped Silva on the very next play, trading an interception for an interception. He singlehandedly saved the Eagles at least 10-maybe 14-points in the half.
Ryan finished the half with just 115 passing yards, and leading rusher Andre Callender had just 16. Rich Gunnell came up big again with 55 yards for the Eagles, while on the Spartans' side, QB Brian Hoyer had just 47 yards and two picks.
Obviously, this hasn't been an offensive battle. Neither teams' gunslingers played particularly well, and the defenses are holding down the fort for both sides. In the second half, Ryan and Callender need to get their acts together; Michigan State needs to maintain the defensive pressure they displayed in the first half. It's a close game now, and it should stay that way into the next period.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Just when BC seems to have its act together, the momentum swings back to the Spartans when Eric Gordon picks off Matt Ryan on 3rd & 2 with a minute and a half left in the half. But on the next play, Silva comes up huge and registers his second pick of the game, then struts out of bounds. You wonder why the kid is an All American; he may be singlehandedly keeping BC in this right now.

Michigan State 10, BC 14
1:24 remaining in 2nd quarter


In a mess of a play following a BC three-and-out, normally solid Eagles punter Johnny Ayers muffs one, which sails out of bounds at the BC 30. Luckily for the Eagles, Michigan State must settle for a 37-yard field goal by Brett Swenson to pull within four.

Michigan State 10, BC 14
2:17 remaining in 2nd quarter


Despite the fact that Boston College didn't sell all of their allotted tickets for the game, the Eagles' side of the stadium seems pretty packed. Maybe the BC fans are just quieter than Michigan State fans.


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC opens the second half with a great drive, spearheaded by Ryan's passing game. With Callender getting virtually no yardage, Ryan had to resort to his receivers- and his own legs. On 2nd & 11 from the Eagles 47, Ryan rolled to his right and, facing an open field, ran for a gain of 12. Five plays later, he connected with as-of-late-superstar receiver Rich Gunnell for a 29-yard bomb of a touchdown pass to lift the Eagles to a 14-7 lead. BC is in the zone now, and the Spartans look lost.

Michigan State 7, BC 14
8:54 remaining in the 2nd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- All-American safety Jamie Silva provides a small spark for the Eagles when he picks off Brian Hoyer in the end zone on third & 8 from the 19-yard line. He returned it up the sideline to the 38, but the tandem of Ryan and Andre Callender got nothing on the next possession. Three-and-out, Michigan State ball again. The Eagles need to get something going on offense or this could be a long night for them and their defense.


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC continues to look sloppy: after stopping the Spartans on fourth down and taking over at their own 35, the Eagles suffer back-to-back penalties (intentional grounding on Ryan, false start on Gosder Cherilus) which leaves them with a 2nd-and-long situation at their own 26. Ayers punts it away two plays later.

Michigan State 7, BC 0
6:49 remaining in the 1st quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- So much for coming out fired up: after kicker Steve Aponavicius submits a rare great kick, the Eagles' lackadaisical defense allows a 79-yard return to Devin Thomas, which sets up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brian Hoyer to tight end Kellen Davis within the first two minutes of the game. Matt Ryan comes up empty on the Eagles' first drive and BC is forced into a three-and-out. The Spartans appear much more pumped up than BC.

Michigan State 7, Boston College 0


ORLANDO, Fla.- As the buses made their way into the Citrus Bowl, there appeared to be about five times as many Michigan State fans present than Boston College fans. Then, during warm-ups, every time the Spartans stepped on or off the field, the crowd erupted; when the Eagles emerged later, they got booed. This could end up seeming like a Michigan State home game, which surely will not do much to dispute the notion that the Eagles don't get better bowl bids because their fans don't travel well.

Champs Sports Bowl Preview

ORLANDO, Fla.- No, the Champs Sports Bowl isn't a BCS bowl, and there may not appear to be much on the line for Boston College (11-3) or Michigan State (7-5), but there is. The Eagles boast 17 fifth-year seniors who will enter today's match-up looking to get a win out of their last college football experience; the Spartans are heading into their first postseason appearance in four years. There's no "We wish we were somewhere else" mentality at the Citrus Bowl today- both of these squads are playing to win.
The Eagles, who finished second behind Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, are favored by 4 1/2, due in large part to their bona fide superstar of a quarterback, Matt Ryan. Heralded to be the best available quarterback in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ryan has been the backbone of the Eagles offense this year, and through injuries and disappointments, he has had an unfair load of expectations resting on his shoulders- but he has handled them remarkably well, throwing for 28 touchdowns and accumulating 4,258 yards on the season. Offensively, the other major factor in the Eagles' success has been in the hands of running back Andre Callender. While Ryan is capable of lighting up the field with his passing game, the Eagles will also need to establish the running game as early and as often as possible in order to put up major points. And, for a little extra motivation, with a win today Boston College will extend the country's longest active bowl winning streak to eight.
Michigan State finished eighth in the Big 10 and won just three conference games, but the Spartans lost all five of their games by a combined 28 points. First-year coach Mark Dantonio achieved success in terms of merely getting his team to the postseason, but suspensions will doubtlessly hurt the Spartans in Orlando. One of their most significant defensive players, leading pass rusher Jonal Saint-Dic, was ruled academically ineligible for today's game, and linebacker SirDarean Adams was axed due to suspension. Not only does Michigan State have to find away to stop Matt Ryan, but now they have to do it without the guys who gave them the best shot at doing so. Still, this game figures to be a close one, and most likely an offensive battle.

October 20, 2007

Wells carries Bucks to 24-17 win

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It was truly a tale of two halves in today's Big Ten clash between Ohio State and Michigan St. The first saw complete dominance by the Buckeyes as they racked up nearly 250 yards of offense and jumped to a 17-0 lead. But the second was full of mistake after mistake for the No. 1 team in the nation.

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Ohio State falling apart, up just 24-14

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Fans at Ohio Stadium were lulled to sleep in the first half after the Buckeyes stormed to a 24-0 lead, but costly turnovers have awaken all 105, 287 screaming voices. With its National Championship trip now in jeapordy, this stunned crowd is on its feat and rattling the press box windows.

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Boeckman INT returnd for TD, so is his fumble

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Boeckman made his first mistake of the day, as an errant pass hit Spartan defender Otis Wiley right in the chest. Wiley returned the interception 54-yards for his team's first score of the game. Too bad the score hurts the Buckeyes' average of less than 7-points surrendered a game, especially since the defense wasn't even on the field. On the flip side, the Spartan deffense has outscored its offense 7-0, check that, 14-0...

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Spartan defense settles down, Hoyer starts to roll...Hold on, scratch that...

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's hard to tell if Ohio State is just struggling offensivley, or if the Spartans are actually playing better on the defensive side. In either case, Michigan St. appears to be moving the ball a bit more efficently through its first two drives of the second half.

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Halftime Report: OSU 17, MSU 0

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It looks like for atleast one week this season, there won't be an upset at No. 1. The Buckeyes have dominated the Spartans in virtually every facit of the game and have showed no letup defensivley heading into halftime. Offensivley, however, is a different story.

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Spartan defense finally slows Buckeyes, head into halftime down 17-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Michigan St. refuses to abandon its run game, as they come right out of their timeout running the ball over and over again. They catch a huge break on a second down rush, as Ringer fumbled the ball over but was ruled down. Hoyer than hooked up with Devin Thomas for a 10-yard pass to get a first down. Three plays later, they are forced to punt once again.

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Boeckman and Wells continue to impress

COLUMBUS, Ohio - 10 passing attempts, 10 completions. If you're a Buckeye fan, you have to love the way Boeckman has stepped in for Heisman winner Troy Smith. Add in Well's 104 rushing yards in 10 attempts and there is little doubt why Ohio State is ranked No.1 in the nation.

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Buckeyes contine to run over Spartan's, up 17-0 in second

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Spartans continue to pound the ball on the game, but have had very little succss. You have to wonder if Hoyer is going to start throwing the ball a bit more to try and open the ground game. Michigan St. has 35 rushing yards on nine carries, while Hoyer is 1-of-5 passing.

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Bucks settle for field goal, up 10-0

COLUMBUS, OH - Despite two big plays, Ohio State was forced to settle for a field goal after the offense sputtered near the Spartan 20. A penalty set them back 5-yards and a pair of short passes by Boeckman resulted in Ryan Pretorius' 42-yard field goal.

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Spartans march down field, forced to punt

COLUMBUS, OH - This game appears to have all the makings of a shootout, as the Spartans rushing attack has them marching their way down the field yard-by-yard. A key third down stopped on 3rd-and-short forced a Spartan punt by freshman Aaron Bates, who sent a booming kick to pin the Buckeyes on their own 1-yard line. The Buckeyes have had poor field postion all game, starting on both their seven yard line and one.

Just as a type that, Boeckman hooks up with Robiskie for a 42-yard bomb and Beanie follows with a 25-yard rush. Ohio State on the Spartan 26.

Buckeyes take opening drive 93 yards for touchdown

COLUMBUS, OH - A personal foul on the opening kickoff forced the Buckeyes to start on its own three yard line, but a 47-yard run by Beanie Wells helped jump start a 93-yard scoring drive to go up 7-0 on the Spartans. Well's ankle doesn't seem to be slowing him down at all thus far.

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Buckeyes to Defend No.1 Ranking For First Time

COLUMBUS, OH - Today's big Ten clash between No. 1 Ohio State and Michigan St. will pit the conference's best defense against the Spartan's high powered offense. Michigan St. enters the contest as the Big Ten's top rated offense, racking up 467 total yards per game and 36.9 points. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have held opponents to less than a touchdown in its seven wins this season.

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September 29, 2007

Badgers squeak out win over Michigan State

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Badgers gave their opponent opportunities to win, but Michigan State was not able to come away with points in two late drives that stalled in Wisconsin territory. Wisconsin walked away with the 37-34 win.

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Spartans shooting themselves in the foot

MADISON, Wisc. -- Two key penalties, a holding and a roughing, have helped the Badgers get back out in front, 37-34, in an important Big Ten matchup. Without the calls the Spartans might be charging for the go-ahead score.

Third Qtr Recap: Badgers starting to pull away in Madison

MADISON, Wisc. -- As well as Michigan State has run the ball (Javon Ringer has 142 yards and is averaging 17.8 per carry) the Badgers have started to dominate this game by way of their imposing defensive line. On one series, Nick Hayden and Kirk DeCremer registered sacks, forcing the Spartans to punt from near their goal line. The pressure applied by Wisconsin has limited Michigan State's ability to bail itself out of long-yardage situations. And now traling 34-24, the Spartans are running out of time to use that potent rushing offense that's proven so effective so far.

It's been all Tyler Donovan and P.J. Hill for Wisconsin. With a banged up receiving corps, Donovan has scrambled and found Travis Beckum on passing downs. Hill, meanwhile, has chipped away at the Spartans all afternoon. He'll be sore after this one (29 carries through three quarters).

Now, back to the game as it's time to 'Jump Around' with the Badger student section ...

Spartans score, Badgers claim moral victory

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Spartans got the ball to start the second half and after an incompletion running back Javon Ringer took a pitch right and made a nice cut-back for a 70-yard run. Jonathan Casillas saved a touchdown on the play and the Badger defense stopped the Spartans on a third-and-goal from the two. The Brett Swenson field goal made the score 27-24.

On the ensuing kick, freshman David Gilreath made a 56-yard return to put Wisconsin in good shape for its opening drive of the half.

More see-saw action to follow (we're sure of it) ...

**Bad news for the Badgers: receiver Kyle Jefferson is out of the game with a head injury, leaving Tyler Donovan few options to throw to.

First Half Recap: An unexpected shootout

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Badgers and Spartans are setting off fireworks in their contest, with a combined 48 first-half points. Both offenses are playing determined football, but the defenses have also failed to capitalize on mistakes and slow down the opposing running game.

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Hold that note ...

MADISON, Wisc. -- As fast as Wisconsin jumped out front, Michigan State's most dazzling weapon, Devin Thomas, caught a short sideline route and turned it into an 80-yard scoring play. Thomas made several Badgers miss on the play. Hey coaches, where's the D?? With the score 21-21 midway through the half, we're certain more points are on the way ...

Donovan takes command

MADISON, Wisc. -- Starting from his own nine-yard line, Badger quarterback Tyler Donovan led his team on a 12-play drive that concluded with his two-yard touchdown pass to Travis Beckum to tie the score, 14-14. Donovan completed five-of-six passes on the drive for 74 yards. He added a nine-yard scramble. Credit the Wisconsin offensive line for finding a cure to prevent the Spartans from living in their backfield on this drive. The key play to the drive was a 38-yard pass to Beckum coming out of the quarter break, and after two straight Badger penalties (false start, delay of game).

First Qtr Recap: Spartans playing power game

MADISON, Wisc. -- As mentioned in our pre-game report, the Spartans run the ball and pressure the quarterback about as well as any Big Ten team. They've been successful at both at Wisconsin so far, and that's been the difference.

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Spartans storm back

MADISON, Wisc. -- Michigan State's running game is already giving the Badger defense fits. On its second possession, Michigan State began on its 37-yard line after fielding a poor punt from Ken DeBauche. From there the Spartans drew the Badgers off-side, then handed to Javon Ringer who busted through the middle of the line and broke to the left hash for a 53-yard gain. Teammate Jehuu Caulcrick took it in from the two-yard line on the next play. The key to the possession was a swarming Spartan pass rush which got to Tyler Donovan (ruled no gain) on the third down before the punt. That allowed for the good field position.

Hill leads Badgers on opening scoring drive

MADISON, Wisc. -- After a poor return pinned Wisconsin at its own 15-yard line running back P.J. Hill took over. He touched the ball eight times on the 11-play drive, gaining 37 rushing yards and eight receiving, and finishing the drive from five yards out to give the Badgers an early 7-0 lead. THe Spartans pass rush got to Tyler Donovan on nthe first pass of the drive but Donovan stood his ground and found tight end Travis Beckum on a key third down. Donovan also hit Luke Swan on a post-corner for 25 yards on the drive. So far, the Badgers offense looks sharp.

Big Ten battle of undefeated Badgers & Spartans

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Big Ten conference picture will clear up some today after Wisconsin and Michigan State go to war at Camp Randall. As usual, WIsconsin's mad mob of red-wearing, beer-soaked fans have lined all of the side streets in anticipation of yet another test for their top 10-ranked club. It's a crazy scene, bu this game could also have a crazy outcome.

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