Boston College is set to pay a visit to Death Valley this weekend, and the BC team Tiger fans will see is a far cry from the one we saw up there last year. It will also be a BC team that is without starting QB Anthony Brown, who is out for the season after suffering a leg injury in their October 5 matchup with Louisville. Sophomore Dennis Grosel is now that guy, as he helped guide the Eagles to a win over NCST in his first start at home last weekend. A win that snapped the teams two game losing streak.
As it turned out last weekend, BC didn’t need much help from the QB position, outside of turning around and handing the ball of to runiing backs AJ Dillon and David Bailey. Dillon carried the ball 34 times for 223 yards, with 3 TD runs, and Bailey had 16 carries for 181 yards and 2 more TDs. In all, the Eagles rolled up 429 yards on the ground and averaged 7.2 yards a carry, against what was supposed to be the best run defense in the ACC.
The Boston College OL had its way with the Wolfpack front, opening up huge lanes for the backs to run through, It was a good thing too, because the Grosel was not very good throwing the ball in his first start, going just 6-15 for 103 yards. So far this season he is completing just 39% of his passes (18-46) but does have a TD to INT ratio of 3:1.
The defense they are about to see however, is on a whole other level. NCST might have been the best rushing defense in the conference from a statistical standpoint, but this Tiger defense is the best defense in the league, and it is not even close. With BC having such a weak passing game, the Tigers will be able to key on stopping the running game, and make the struggling sophomore QB beat them.
It won’t be an easy task, though. This BC rushing attack is the 13th best in the nation, averaging 278 yards a game. Clemson fans are very familiar with the uber talented AJ Dillon, and know precisely what he is capable of. Expect to see him early and often, as the Eagles are feeding him the ball over 25 times a game, and he still manages to average 5.4 YPC. Don’t sleep on Bailey either, as he is getting around 10 carries a game and averages over 6 YPC. These are big, strong backs too. Dillon goes about 250 lbs, while Bailey is about 240 lbs.
Containing the run will be paramount. The Tigers can’t let BC stay in front of the sticks and chew up clock. Holding them to short gains on 1st down will be key. You want to force them into 3rd and long situations, and make them have to beat you throwing the ball. Make them one dimensional, and you handcuff them offensively.
As usual, BC has a big, strong OL, and they pave the way for those big, strong, physical running backs. It is very possible they have some success running the ball, as those backs are to good to completely shut down. The DT’s will need to clog up the middle and allow the LB’s to do work. The LB’s will have to be where they are supposed to be and not get caught out of position. Again, this team is really good running the ball, so they may have some success at times. However, expect any success to come between the 20’s, and once the field shortens up, this defense is just to fast for BC.