Boston College running back AJ Dillon will enter Memorial Stadium on Saturday fourth on the list of all time leaders in rushing yards at the school. By the time he leaves the stadium later that same night, it’s likely he’s sitting atop that list. Currently, Dillon is just 75 yards away from the record held by Andre Williams.
There’s no question that Dillon will be playing on Sundays. He is that rare breed of size, power, and quickness that the NFL craves. In today’s game, those workhorse type backs just aren’t seen as often, as many programs, including Clemson, are now opting for the running back by committee approach. Not Boston College.
The BC coaching staff knows what they have in Dillon, and they make the most of it. Through seven games, only once has he not eclipsed the 20 carry mark, and that came against Richmond. Twice, he’s had more than 30 carries, and currently he’s on a pace that could lead to him flirting with the 2000 yard mark.
Dillon is coming off of his best game of the season against NC State. He went off against the Pack, having his way against what was supposed to be the ACC’s best rush defense. The most impressive thing about his 223 yard day was the fact that the Wolfpack knew it was coming, yet still couldn’t stop it.
The Tigers will know it is coming too. Boston College just comes right at you. No tricks. They aren’t going to try and out scheme you with a bunch of formations or a lot of motion. They just want to beat you up.
This season, it isn’t just Dillon the Tigers need to worry about. Backup RB David Bailey has burst onto the scene as a sophomore, and has given Boston College a lethal 1-2 punch out of the backfield. Despite Dillon getting a majority of the carries, Bailey is still managing to get about a dozen himself, and he makes the most of them.
Like Dillon, he is a big, powerful back, averaging 6.3 YPC. When Dillon wasn’t running roughshod over NCST last week, Bailey was. He had his most productive game of the season with 181 yards and 2 TD runs on 16 carries. You can see his season stats listed below.
Boston College lost starting QB Anthony Brown for the rest of the season against Louisville. His backup, Dennis Grosel stepped in and has taken the reins of the offense, but hasn’t been very effective. Since taking over full time, Grosel has hit on just 15 of his 39 pass attempts, a completion percentage of just 39%. He will also tuck it and run at times. With 10 rushes for 68 yards, he’s averaging almost 7 YPC.
Expect Brent Venables to devise a plan that forces Grosel to beat them. To date, the redshirt sophomore hasn’t scared anyone with his ability to throw the ball. That means the Tigers can afford to take some risks by bringing up extra defenders to help in run support.
Even if the Tigers bring extra defenders in to help with run support, this BC rushing attack will test this Tigers front seven. It all starts up front, and like most years, the Eagles have a good offensive line, and they’re physical. Those guys pave the way for Dillon and Bailey.
AJ Dillon might be the best RB the Tigers see this season. Containing him, as well as Bailey will be challenging. Defenders need to tackle better than they did at times against Louisville last weekend. At 250 lbs, Dillon doesn’t go down easy.
As great as Brent Venables defense has played in the first seven games, expecting this defense to shut this running game down completely is a little unrealistic. BC is going to make some plays on the ground. Those backs are to good not too.
The key will be containing the ground game. Keeping the Eagles behind the sticks will be important. Force them into passing situations, and make the young, inexperienced QB beat them with his arm.