Why Virginia Tech Will Shut Down Boston College’s Running Game


Oct 26, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end James Gayle (99) runs onto the field before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech will look to bounce back after an awful performance offensively by the Hokies cost them against a Duke team that failed to complete a single pass in the second half. Virginia Tech’s defense had a dominating performance and has some analysts calling Bud Foster’s defense the best in all of college football. This unit has shut down plenty of very good players and the Hokies will have plenty of challenges if they want to get to the ACC Championship. This week’s opponent Boston College has one player who the Hokies’ defense will have to primarily focus on. That man is Boston College running back Andre Williams.

Andre Williams is a senior and is the starter at running back for the first time in his career at Boston College. Don’t let that fool you though, Williams has proven that the Eagles should have thought about starting him earlier in his career. Williams only needed 7 games to eclipse the 1,000 rushing yard mark for the 2013 season and will look to lead the Eagles to an upset Saturday. Williams has been averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has carried most the load as proven by how Williams has only less than 23 carries in 1 game this season.

However, Virginia Tech has the defense to shut down Williams who has proven to not be an elite running back. Williams has twice had less than 100 rushing yards and those were to two teams with very strong defenses, USC and Clemson. USC has a strong defensive line that is headlined by Leonard Williams and Morgan Breslin who both have the talent to be future first round picks. while Clemson has star defensive end Vic Beasley who knows how to get sacks and tackles for loss.

Virginia Tech’s front 7 is a perfect group to shut down Andre Williams and it will all start with the Hokies dominating duo of defensive tackles. Williams is a power running back that will try to go right up the gut but will run into a wall of Virginia Tech players. Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins have destroyed some great offensive lines and shut down running backs like T.J. Yeldon. Maddy and Hopkins will cause plenty of issues for Williams and not allow him to do much of anything up the middle.

If Williams tries to follow his offensive tackles, he will likely find more Virginia Tech players that keep him in the backfield. J.R. Collins and James Gayle know how to get past some of the best offensive tackles to make plays and Boston College’s offensive tackles will be tested. Gayle and Collins will have multiple tackles for loss against Williams while they will be supported by Dadi Nicolas. Nicolas can come in and make a big play at any moment and Nicolas will have a few big plays to shut down Williams.

Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards are two of the most underrated linebackers in college football and Andre Williams will get to learn about that Saturday. Both of these players, especially Tyler, are known for their great instincts and they will be ready to close up any hole that they see. Both of these players will be able to tell if the Eagles are running the ball or going with play action and with a strong secondary behind them, Tyler and Edwards will be able to be very aggressive in shutting down Williams. Andre Williams better be ready for what will surely be a long afternoon for the Boston College running back.

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