Andre Williams Exorcised His Demons From Last Year’s Army Game In A Record-Setting Performance
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 00:10
A year before 263, there was seven—a seven that has been lingering in Andre Williams’ mind for almost exactly a year. A few days before 263, there was also almost zero.
Boston College football’s rematch with Army on Saturday, which the Eagles took 48-27, was put in jeopardy because of the federal government shutdown, forcing BC’s senior running back to wonder whether or not he would get a chance at redemption.
“I’ve really been thinking about last season’s Army game all week, and then the controversy about whether or not the game was going to be played was really just playing with my heart,” Williams said.
Williams had a momentous day on the road against the Black Knights on Oct. 6, 2012, rushing for what was then a career-high of 191 yards. With three chances to seal the win, though, he got just seven yards, giving Army one final chance to score and pull off a 34-31 victory.
“[The game] last year was really tough,” said BC senior linebacker Steele Divitto. “That kind of dictated the rest of our season.”
The Eagles lost every game except one after falling to Army, and Williams’ running was never the same.
He earned 104 yards in a 51-7 blowout loss at Florida State, then had 51 and 60 yard games against Georgia Tech and Maryland before missing the rest of the year to injury.
“I’m just so glad we got another opportunity to face Army,” Williams said.
BC head coach Steve Addazio told Williams earlier this week that he’d need to rush for more than 200 yards in this game. Williams one-upped that challenge.
“I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass me,” he said.
He bulldozed his way to 263 yards and five touchdowns, a yard short of tying a school record for single-game rushing and a score short of breaking the single-game touchdown record, both of which were set by Montel Harris against NC State in 2009.
Williams hammered Army up front again and again, powered by a rejuvenated offensive line that has undergone a dramatic turnaround at the hands of Addazio and position coach Justin Frye.
“I’m just so happy the offensive line executed the way they did today,” Williams said.
Of Williams’ five touchdowns, three came on runs of 30 yards or more. He was all over the field, bursting up the gut of Army’s front seven and then bouncing outside for big gains, using the pulling blockers to his advantage.
For less than 10 seconds in the fourth quarter, Williams actually matched Harris’ rushing total of 264, but a one-yard loss on the next play set him back to 263 and second place.
Addazio was told as he was coming off the field about the near-record, and he shared the news with his back.
“Those things are all nice,” Addazio said, “but with team success individual honors will come.”
“When you can execute your offense as effectively as we did today, the records come,” Williams said. “You don’t really need to chase them.”
Williams is already looking forward to future chances to surpass the mark he set today.
“If we can do it again, that means I have seven more opportunities to go get the record,” he said.
Last season, Williams rushed for 604 yards and four touchdowns in nine appearances. Through five games in 2013, he’s already accumulated 778 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns and is leading the nation in yards per game.
“Every year I feel like I get a little bit wiser, a little bit heavier, a little bit stronger, and this offense that we’re running right now is just brutal and physical and that’s the way I play,” Williams said.
For Addazio, this game was about a lot more than Williams and records. It was another step toward the goal he set when he took over.
“I feel great about the fact that we’re bringing BC football back to where BC football was, which is a big, powerful offensive line that can run the ball and they’re big and physical,” he said. “We’re a work in progress right now. That’s what we are.”
“For what it was today, we took a step forward toward bringing our program back to where we all want it to be, which is a big, physical program.”
And he has a big, physical back running behind an equally physical offensive line leading the way for each of these steps—steps that have already led to more wins through five games than the Eagles had in all of 2012.