BOSTON (AP) – Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan has been hobbling around on a sore left ankle since the opening game of the season.

Don’t expect him to rest now.

The 18th-ranked Eagles play Buffalo on Saturday, and the game against the Mid-American Conference’s last-place team could provide Ryan a chance to heal separate injuries in his foot and ankle. But Ryan doesn’t want to hear about that.

“I’m going to prepare the same way I did last week,” he told reporters this week. “It’s a week we need to improve. They’re a very capable football team of coming out here and playing well.”

Boston College (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Florida State last week to become bowl-eligible for a school-record eighth consecutive year.

But the Eagles have bigger goals in mind: If they win out, they would play in the ACC title game and have a chance at a Bowl Championship Series game.

That path became even clearer when No. 10 Clemson lost to Virginia Tech 24-7 on Thursday night – the second conference loss for the Tigers. BC has yet to play Wake Forest and Maryland, the only other teams in the Atlantic Division with just one league loss.

But first comes Buffalo (1-6, 0-5 Mid-American Conference), a school BC hasn’t played since beating it 65-12 in 1970.

The Bulls have been one of the worst programs in Division I-A since 1999, compiling an 11-75 record since then. Part of coach Turner Gill’s plan to turn things around involves playing ranked teams like Auburn, Wisconsin and Boston College to gain recruiting exposure and the big paydays that will help improve the athletic facilities on campus.

Although Buffalo has lost six straight, it trailed then-No. 2 Auburn by 10 points late in the third quarter before losing 38-7. No doubt that’s the scare BC coach Tom O’Brien will try to put in his players.

to get them ready for the game.

“I can’t look at their record, that they’re 1-6” said defensive back Larry Anam, whose one-handed interception sealed last week’s 24-19 victory over the Seminoles. “At any given time, any team can beat you. Their record is 1-6 and they don’t play competition like we do, but you can’t think like that.”

What is on BC’s mind is the chance to use the Buffalo game to erase some problems that have plagued them this season; five of the Eagles’ seven games have been decided in the final minutes – two in double-overtime.

“The biggest focus is getting better in practice, just continuing to get better individually and as a team,” linebacker Brian Toal said.

“That’s what we’re going to keep trying to do every week, no matter who we’re playing, when we’re playing them, where we playing them.”

AP-ES-10-27-06 1724EDT

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