Date/Time: November 20, 12:00
History against the Eagles: 0-4
Last matchup: BC 14, UVA 10; 11/14/09
Last week: Maryland 42, UVA 23; BC 21, Duke 16
Line: BC by 7
Opposing blogs: BC Interruption, Eagle in Atlanta
Boston College season preview
OT Landon Bradley
CB Ras-I Dowling
RB Keith Payne
WR Tim Smith
TE Joe Torchia
DOUBTFUL - none
CB Devin Wallace
OT Morgan Moses
LB Ausar Walcott
Injury editorializing: GAAAAAHH Keith Payne.
Two golden chances for wins are behind the Hoos without any results; one remains. Boston College is on a three-game winning streak, it's Senior Day in Chestnut Hill, and the Eagles will put themselves in a bowl game if they win it, which no doubt they'd love to do in front of an eager home crowd. So any hope of a mitigated home-field advantage for BC is gone. And so is touchdown machine Keith Payne. What looked like a very winnable game is quickly looking less so. Losing to Duke and Maryland gives you that kind of outlook.
HOW WE CAN WIN
- Make sure that when Marc Verica throws a pick, it's in a low-impact kind of situation. So, like, not first and ten from our own 15, not inside the BC red zone, that kind of thing. Verica will throw interceptions, and BC is tied for the national lead in grabbing them. They might have it to themselves by Sunday. But the playcalling needs to not put Verica in a position to throw his interceptions when it can hurt the team the most. UVA can recover from one that gives BC the ball on their 30; not one that gives it to them on our 20.
- Non-offensive touchdowns. Punt return, INT return, something. BC's run defense is one of the nation's elite, their pass defense is good, and our QB is turnover-prone. In order to score many points, UVA's defense and special teams will have to give the offense the ball in good field position, or just score themselves.
HOW WE CAN LOSE
- Give up big plays. This is going to be a low-scoring game, and BC's defense is good enough to suffocate our offense. The last thing you can afford in a game like that is lightning strikes by the other team. Sometimes you can get away with that - not here.
- Give up five-yard plays. BC's quarterbacks are subpar and the passing game overall is unproductive. So they'll be happy to hand off to Montel Harris 50 times if they have to, as long as it's picking up yardage and keeping our defense on the field. The BC offensive line isn't nearly what it should have been - it's been performing below average all season, and our D-line needs to give BC a reason to stop handing it off, lest BC march down the field at will, Paul Johnson-style.
- No creativity on offense. UVA is not gonna win this game running off-tackle. With Keith Payne I'd take my chances with smashmouth ball. Payne is the game-changing back we have. Without his best RB and a turnover-prone QB, Bill Lazor will need to call a superb game in order to get this win.
HOW THE GAME WILL GO
As I said in the BCI Q&A, this game is strength on strength (our offense, their defense) and weakness on weakness (vice versa.) So it should be low-scoring. And close, as low-scoring games tend to be. BC's offense managed a measly three scores against Duke and not much more against Wake - two of the conference's worst defenses. Guess which is the third? On the other hand, their defense is nasty good. An average defense and they'd be 3-7 right now.
Unfortunately, our strength just took a major ding. And it wasn't quite up to snuff with theirs anyway. And of course, what better way to break a stalemate than by committing an extra penalty or twelve? There's too much adding up here to like our chances very much in this game.
REST OF THE ACC
NC State @ North Carolina, 12:00
Duke @ Georgia Tech, 1:30
Clemson @ Wake Forest, 2:00
Virginia Tech @ Miami, 3:30
Florida State @ Maryland, 8:00