LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (6-3, 4-3) AT BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (6-3, 3-2)
Game Time: 7:15 p.m.
Location: Alumni Stadium: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Announcers: Bob Wischusen (Play-By-Play), Matt Millen (Analyst) and Quint Kessenich (Reporter)
Favorite: Louisville by 3
All-Time Series: Tied 3-3
Last Meeting: Louisville won 52-28 on Sept. 26, 1998 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Schedule of Events:
About Boston College:
Tyler Murphy might very well be the starter for UofL if Charlie Strong had stayed here as the head coach. Murphy was looking to transfer from Florida and with Teddy Bridgewater headed to the NFL, Louisville was a solid landing spot for the dual threat quarterback. Murphy chose to head to BC to play for Addazio and his system that probably fits his skill set much better than Bobby Petrino's. Murphy looks to have made the right choice as he is ranked 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 107.2 per contest. Louisville hasn't faced a true running quarterback this year but they have done well at corralling mobile QBs when they scramble. Murphy doesn't scramble much at all. He just runs and he runs a lot. Murphy would lead Louisville in every rushing statistic and you just don't typically see that from a quarterback. He won't do amazing things with his arm out there with a 54% completion percentage. However, he can do some damage with playaction at times. I think Addazio will look to wear down the defense like FSU was able to do last week. If Murphy can't get things done in the pass game, though, I'm not sure that will happen.
BC will rely on two true freshmen to make big plays in the running game. Jon Hilliman is the feature back for the offense and he is a load of a back. He could be out with a shoulder injury, but he is listed on the depth chart. Hilliman looks and runs a lot likeAndre Williams did last year. Williams ran for 2,000 yards and was invited to NYC to participate in the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Hilliman isn't that good just yet, but it really wouldn't surprise me if he gets to that point in the future. He doesn't have breakaway speed but he gets to the hole quickly and and is always going north and south. He will be key if they plan to wear down the front seven. Sherman Alston is a tiny guy that is a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball. Alston is a wide receiver by roster distinction, but he runs the ball three times as much as he catches it. His 9 yards per carry show just how deadly he can be in the open field and his lack of size actually tends to help as he is able to hide behind blockers and burst out when he sees a hole. Throw in sophomore Myles Willis and BC has a group of four guys that can all run the ball well and keep each other fresh throughout the entire game.
The Eagles flat out don't have athletes outside. If they did this offense would be exceptional. They lost a lot of production and experience at the receiver position which is very evident when you realize that their backup quarterback from last season is their leading receiver. Josh Bordner and Dan Crimmins are both solid posses ion guys but they aren't much of a threat to make a big play. BC will need transfer Shakim Phillips to provide a deep threat as I expect Todd Grantham to leave Gaines and Floyd on an island and bring James Sample into the box regularly.
Ian Silberman was already on Louisville's campus when Charlie Strong decided to take the Texas job. He changed his mind about playing for the Cards the next day. Instead he headed to BC to join a line that starts four seniors and they are massive. BC loves to spread the field but they still run a power run offense. That is possible because of the skill and experience of this line. They have one of the better centers in the country in Andy Gallik and he does a great job of getting out and pulling on run plays. Not a lot of centers can accomplish that. They also do a very good job of protecting Murphy. With such a lack of speed outside, it takes passing plays longer to develop but the line has done a relatively good job of keeping Murphy clean. The interior of Louisville's defense will have to hold the point of attack and Mauldin and Mount will need to stay true to their assignments to keep Murphy from breaking outside on read option plays. This line does an excellent job of crashing down on off tackle plays and read option plays are where they are their best.
KEY PLAYERS: QB Tyler Murphy, RB Jon Hilliman, WR Sherman Alston, C Andy Gallik, RT Ian Silberman,
The lack of athleticism on this team is really evident on the defensive side of the ball. There aren't a lot of guys that run extremely well or make a lot of eye-popping plays. They do a great job of playing together as a team and it shoes up against the run. Their defensive line does an exceptional job of taking up blockers and wreaking havoc which allows the linebackers to run free and make plays. Sound familiar? They line up with three massive guys and one speed rusher and they mind their run fits very well. The lack of a pass rush from the line could be an issue for BC. While it is nowhere near bad, it isn't a very fast pass rush. Speed in the face of Will Gardner has been the issue over the last few weeks and it looks like those issues are being improved upon each week.
If there was a player that got away over the last few years that I really wanted UofL to land it was Steven Daniels. Daniels is out of Cincinnati St. X which produced Greg Scruggs and Darius Ashley. I always loved Daniels on film but he chose to head to BC where he has been a steady player. A jumbo linebacker, Daniels is very good against the run and rarely misses tackles. Where he can be exploited is if you can get him matched up in man coverage. Defensive Coordinator Don Brown likes to blitz his linebackers and safeties which at times requires his linebackers to match up with running backs. Daniels doesn't have the speed or athleticism to handle that assignment. Petrino and his affinity for wheel routes could be on full display Saturday. Josh Keyes makes up for some of Daniels lack of speed as he is the backer that tends to fly around and make plays. Louisville has had some issues with guys like Keyes on slower developing run plays but with the improvement of the offensive line, those issues might be in the past.
The back end of the defense is where the issues are for this very good defense. They don't have the athletes needed to slow down the top receivers in the league. Manuel Aspirilla and John Johnson have combined for zero interceptions and 11 PBUs. Which is three more than Charles Gaines has on the season. The same Charles Gaines that no one threw at the first 5 games of the season. With a defense that likes to bring pressure, you have to have guys that can hang with receivers and make plays when the ball comes their way. That's where BC is lacking and it has allowed some fairly questionable offenses move the ball way to easily. A suspect Virginia Tech offense had 345 passing yards last week. What might be worse is Wake Forest getting 242 the week before. With Louisville's improvement on offense and DeVante Parker probably at 100% for the first time this year, BC will have to be at their best in the secondary.
KEY PLAYERS: MLB Steven Daniels, DE Kevin Kavalec, SLB Josh Keyes, FS Justin Simmons
Excitement Level: 8.0
If you're saying you don't have at least somewhat of a fan hangover heading into tonight, you're lying. This game being sandwiched between Florida State and Notre Dame was always going to hurt it here, but I think the way the FSU game got away added a couple of decimal decreases. Still, last conference game of our first year in the ACC, Saturday night game watch, Devante; there's a lot to like here.
Pregame Meal: Pizza, apps, beer
Gonna order a pizza ... just in case you thought "pizza" would entail some sort of elaborate home creation. We're also not brewing our own beer.
Game Attire: Red Louisville football shirt under black U of L track jacket, jeans, red Cardinal bird shoes, red Cardinal Titleist hat.
Only ensemble that has multiple appearances without a loss this season. I regret letting the cold make me sit this outfit last week. I regret it a lot.
Bold Prediction: Michael Dyer rushes for at least 100 yards in a third straight game
It's the 10th game of the season and I'm still rocking an o-fer here. Help another Mike out, Mike.
Predicted Star of the Game: DeVante Parker
I'm just going to keep picking him until he proves me wrong.
Griffin Uhl Playing Alert Level: Cadet Blue (still unlikely)
Motivational Opposing Player Tweets:
Huge Game this weekend. Another test of KingShip in front of our home crowd. We more than ready !— JONATHAN M. Hilliman (@JMH_32) November 6, 2014
We gone hold it down till mond come home— Nat Dixon (@DixonNat) November 8, 2014
--Louisville is 12-3 all-time in the month of November under Bobby Petrino.
--Boston College is the only team in the nation that ranks in the top 10 for rushing offense and rushing defense. The Eagles are fourth in the country, allowing just 88.9 rushing yards/game and rank ninth for their 274.9 rushing yards/game of offense.
--Dating back to last season, Louisville has forced at least one turnover in 12 consecutive games.
--Boston College is 4-0 on the road this season, but just 2-3 at home.
--Louisville is 19-1 over the last three seasons when attempting at least 35 rushes in a game. The lone loss came earlier this season at Clemson.
--Boston College is tied with Alabama for having the most graduates on its roster (15) in the country. All five starters on the Eagle O-line are graduates.
--In just 3/4 of a season, Tyler Murphy set the Boston College career mark for rushing yards by a quarterback.
--U of L safety Gerod Holliman leads the FBS with 10 interceptions. He was one pick away from setting the U of L single season record.
--Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 182 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind Virginia Tech (253) and Georgia Tech (220).
--Dating back to 1980, Louisville is 147-16 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 4-100 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
--"One of the things that's impressive about their football team is they continue to get better each week as the year goes on, and that means they're doing a great job of coaching. They're very physical. It's a little different game for us because they're big and physical and will run the ball and have the quarterback runs, so I think it'll be a great challenge for us." --Bobby Petrino
--"We're excited to be playing Saturday night on national TV against a great Louisville team. It's good to be home. We're playing a Louisville team whose offense is averaging over 30 points a game and has got all kinds of playmakers all over the field, starting with DeVante Parker and Michael Dyer and Will Gardner, and they have a bunch of skill players and are very, very dynamic." --Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
--"They're a very good defense. They're very smart. They give you a lot of different looks and different pressures that you have to be able to handle, and they're big and physical." --Bobby Petrino
--"It kind of goes in line with some of the defenses that we've played against, [like] Clemson and Southern Cal. They're guys who play with high motors and high effort and they're always rotating guys, keeping guys fresh. But the experience of playing teams like that is only going to help us, because we know the elite-level type of talent that we have in front of us and it's just another challenge that we've already faced this year and we're really excited about it." --Boston College center Andy Gallik
--"We don't want to stop at six [wins]. We want as many as we can get, because we worked too hard - during the preseason and in-season - to let anything slip away from us." --Boston College cornerback Manuel Asprilla
--"We've seen how well we can play. We've seen how good we can be in one half, and we've seen ourselves not play up to our potential in the second half. It all comes from dedication." --Jermaine Reve
--"When you're winning, the food tastes better, the sky's bluer. It's just‑‑ and it validates some of the things you're doing. So from that standpoint, that's been terrific. But our goal right now, we always want to win the open or we want to be Bowl eligible, but right now that can't define us. We've got to continue to take the next step and grow beyond being Bowl eligible, and that's the challenge that's in front of our team." --Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
--"When you see Louisville on film, I mean, they're relentless, they're not taking any plays off, they're going hard and they're very technically sound." --Boston College center Andy Gallik
--"They present a lot of challenges for us. They are a multiple defense. They have multiple defensive packages. They are going to test our knowledge of defense." --Garrick McGee
--"We have to make sure that everybody is fundamentally sound and doing well with their technique and everybody is doing their job and executing, because a defense like this, they're going to come to play. We're at the point in the season where people aren't going to sleep on BC. I think teams are starting to respect us a little bit and they're going to come to play, so we have to come to play because we're not going to surprise them." --Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 28, Boston College 27
Extremely worried about this one, but can't pick against what I think is the better team. Leaders step up and the Cards find a way to win a game that they trail at halftime.