Boston College lost Don Brown to Michigan two years ago and it’s starting to look like that loss is starting to matter. Brown is a defensive wizard who led BC to top defensive rankings each year he was there. Jim Reid took over last year and the numbers took a modest drop. But, he inherited some real talent and got the most of it. This year, BC’s defense has really fallen off and a lot of that has to do with some big injuries. Reid will have to rely on his veteran players to step up to slow down Louisville.
The argument for best pass rusher in the country coming into this season started and ended with Harold Landry. Landry is a prototypical NFL rush end at 6-3 and 250 pounds. He’s a super long player that knows how to bend around the edge and use his length to reach the quarterback. I started researching this game on Saturday morning before BC played Virginia Tech and I felt that Landry might have lost some money by coming back to school. He then went out and got three sacks and a QB hurry in a big game. Bradley Chubb was able to pressure Lamar Jackson multiple times last week and Landry plays in a stand up role like Chubb does.
The rest of the line has benefited from Landry’s reputation. Zach Allen leads the team in tackles from his strong side defensive end spot. A healthy chunk of those tackles are due to teams avoiding Landry. But, that doesn’t mean that Allen isn’t a stud in his own right. Allen is 285 pounds and he plays with an insane motor. He chases down plays across the field and downfield. He’s a strong guy so he’s more likely to use a bull rush when getting after the quarterback.
The rest of the line and the linebackers have been less effective this year. Connor Strachan was injured early in the season and they really haven’t been able to replace him. The defensive tackles get pushed around a lot and that leaves Ty Schwab, John Lamont, and Kevin Bletzer to take on a lot of blockers. Their run defense has suffered and they have allowed teams to average 5 yards per carry. They also allowed Notre Dame and Clemson to run for a combined 850+ yards in back to back weeks. They’ve also allowed nearly the same amount of rushing yards in six games than they did all of last season.
The secondary for the Eagles has been the lone bright spot but they were lit up by Virginia Tech last week. Coming into the game they were only allowing 5 yards per pass attempt but VT hit them for 10. They were also able to complete 67% of their passes and average 14 yards per catch. Outside of that game, BC has been strong against the pass. Lukas Denis leads the nation in interception at free safety and Isaac Yiadom is next in a recent line of BC defenders that will likely get drafted. Will Harris is the team’s second leading tackler from his safety spot. Yiadom and Kamrin Moore make a lot of plays at corner for BC. They both have 6 passes defended on the year even though teams are running the ball way more than they’re passing. With Louisville becoming some kind of Air Raid variation this year the secondary becomes key.