LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (4-2, 1-2) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (2-4, 0-3)
Game Time: 12:20 p.m.
Location: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Network/WAVE-3 in Louisville
Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play), David Archer (analyst), and D.J. Shockley (sideline)
Favorite: Louisville by 21.5
All-Time Series: Louisville leads 6-3
Last Meeting: Louisville won 52-7 at Boston College last season
Louisville Depth Chart:
Schedule of Events:
About Boston College:
For the third straight year, Boston College has one of the worst offenses in the country and Steve Addazio is saying it will work itself out. This is the third year that BC is averaging lest than 4.5 yards per play. This is also another year where the offense has failed to utilize the few playmakers they have. BC has a new athletic director. He’s young and he comes from an Ohio State program that believes in on the field success and off the field progressiveness. I think Steve Addazio knows his job is on the line and pulling off a road upset would go a long way.
The Eagles haven’t had an above average quarterback since Tyler Murphy left but they’re getting solid play from a redshirt freshman this year in Anthony Brown. Brown was recruited by offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler when he was at Virginia Tech and decided to head to BC to play in his offense. Brown is a dual threat guy but he is comfortable in the pocket and he doesn’t really bail out like most young guys. He has a strong arm but he has really struggled with his accuracy on short throws. I was actually pretty impressed with his throws down the field but he needs his receivers to make a play to help him out and that hasn’t happened much.
Louisville has been abysmal when it comes to defending the pass but I can’t imagine that BC has the talent to exploit that. They also don’t really have the system or play calling that would worry me. BC runs a pro style type of offense and they love to run the ball between the tackles even when it doesn’t work. They do throw the ball short a lot but I think that UofL’s move to press more often should help them there.
Jon Hilliman is back for BC this year and he’s teamed up with true freshman AJ Dillon to make up a jumbo sized backfield. Hilliman missed most of the season two years ago and never really seemed to be back to normal last year. He looks like his old self again to me and he’s been able to get a handful of big runs so far this year. Dillon is a big back that will likely become a star in whatever offense BC is running when Addazio is gone. Dillon and Hilliman could have a big impact in this game after Louisville showed the world that they’re allergic to tackling last week. Two huge running backs isn’t really what they need right now.
BC has some speed and talent on the outside but they do a really poor job of utilizing it. They like to use Thadd Smith on jet sweeps but they don’t ever use him as a decoy. Obviously the defense notices this and Smith doesn’t have much room to work with. They also like to throw the ball down the field to Jeff Smith and Kobay White. Neither of those guys are very big and they don’t really separate from coverage. It would make more sense for them to use those guys for quick screens, and quick outs on early downs. They could also use them in bunch formations in hopes that they could make a catch and make a guy miss. These plays also make for easier throws for Brown.
If Loeffler and Addazio are worth even a percentage of their contacts they will look to air it out against Louisville. NC State’s top three receivers had their longest catches of the season last week. They joined six other players that have caught their longest past against the Cards. Boston College should look for those easy throws we’ve seen all year and they should also look to push the ball down field to Smith, White, and Michael Walker. Tommy Sweeney is another option at tight end. He is one of the most targeted players on the offense and Louisville is just as bad at defending passes over the middle as they are outside.
The Boston College offensive line is really solid compared to the rest of the offense. They don’t do a great job opening up holes for the running game but I fault the play calling more than the line. Loeffler really likes to run the ball using the same play designs. If you continually run the ball on first and second down and all of the runs are power runs between the tackles it becomes pretty predictable. BC has only given up 5 sacks this year and a few of those were coverage sacks. They’ve done a really good job of protecting Brown and Loeffler has done well to put him on the move some. Louisville hasn’t registered a sack in two weeks and they might not be able to change that.
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.
Excitement Level: 5.6
Least attractive opponent left on the schedule and it’s coming after a dud of a performance at NC State. Not a good combination of factors after yet another taxing work week.
Game Attire: Jeans, red U of L polo, grey Cardinal bird hat
I have to get to the stadium wayyy earlier than I’d like because I’m doing the pregame show on 790, which means we could have a pullover situation to start the day. Gonna be chilly. Also, first jeans game of the season.
Pregame Meal: Doughnuts, beer
I don’t even know if anyone is bringing doughnuts. If one of my friends is reading, this is your cue to pickup doughnuts on the way to the stadium. I’ll be over after the pregame show.
Bold Prediction: Louisville’s defense holds Boston College to fewer than two offensive touchdowns
This has not happened against a power five conference opponent this season. In fact, this hasn’t come close to happening against a power five conference opponent this season.
Zykiesis Cannon Interception Alert Level: Maximum Purple (doesn’t feel like the game)
Predicted Star of the Game: Lamar Jackson
We need to get back to this being a gimmie selection.
Motivational Opposition Tweets:
Once again, not a whole lot going on here. I miss Patrick Towles.
Gotta set the tone EARLY.— Jonathan Ⓜ️ Hilliman (@JMH_32) October 13, 2017
Lamar thinking about trying to stop these boys in 3 days like pic.twitter.com/pn7w6CZ6fS— Barstool BC (@BarstoolBC) October 12, 2017
—Saturday marks Louisville’s annual Homecoming game.
—Bobby Petrino is 3-0 all-time against Boston College.
—This is the first time in 23 games that Louisville will play as an unranked team.
—Since joining the ACC, Louisville is 12-1 against Atlantic Division opponents not named Clemson or Florida State. Their only loss came two Thursdays ago against NC State.
—Boston College’s Harold Landry, one of the top pass rushers in the nation, recorded his 26th career sack to move to sole possession of second place on BC’s all-time list. Landry had three sacks during the game, which tied for the second-best, single-game total in BC history. The sack was Landry’s 47th career tackle for loss, moving him into second place in BC history.
—Louisville’s Dez Fitzpatrick is tied for 8th in the country with six receiving touchdowns. He leads all freshmen in that category.
—Louisville kicker Blanton Creque leads the nation in field goals made without a miss this season. He is 9 for 9.
—Lamar Jackson is the fastest player in ACC history to gain 10,000 yards of total offense, accomplishing the feat in just 31 games.
—Jackson leads the nation in total offense with 2,500 yards, and is second in total offense per game with 417 yards.
—Louisville will honor the jersey of former safety Anthony Floyd during the game’s first quarter. Floyd is U of L’s all-time leader in interceptions.
—Louisville is 205-181-2 (.578) all-time in games played during October, including 138-72-2 (.828) at home.
—Louisville is 12-1 at home under Bobby Petrino in the month of October.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 218 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
—Louisville is 180-11 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 5-104 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
—“We’re playing a really outstanding football team on their home field. Obviously well-coached, well-put together in all three phases, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (Lamar Jackson), talent everywhere on the field, both sides of the ball, really big and athletic on defense, on offense dynamic skill, big offensive line, and so we know what kind of challenge that’ll be.” —Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
—”Expect to see more of me this weekend. Definitely.” —Jaire Alexander
—"We're not playing well enough defensively. Certainly, I think that's evident. Everybody sees that." —Bobby Petrino
—“We’ve been in a lot of tough games, played a lot of really good teams. So we’re just going to be playing another one of those.” —Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
—“I think I bring a good bit of enthusiasm. Sometimes practice may be a little more strenuous. Gotta have that one person to ‘bring the juice,’ as they like to say. And I feel like I bring that.” —Jaire Alexander
—“He can pull away from anybody. He’s got flat — I would call it football world, world-class speed, acceleration. He’s got a rifle arm, he can flick that ball. He’s got great arm strength. He has this uncanny ability to make people miss, and run by him. He’s faster than you possibly can imagine that he really is, I think. When I saw him live last year, I thought, wow, this guy, he can flat move. And it’s just different and it’s like that against everybody. Unique guy. Heisman Trophy stands for best player in college football. Everyone can have their own opinion but he’s certainly one of the very, very best there is.” —Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
—“It’s definitely going to be a challenge. We’re just going to have to be disciplined. I know our coaches are going to do a great job putting a game plan together for them. But, yeah, in this day and age there’s nothing but special quarterbacks like that, that can run and throw, and especially in the ACC. I think we play like one of those every week, and I think we’ll do a great job preparing for them, and we’ll be ready to go.” —Boston College DE Jarvis Landry
—“He’s definitely one of the top players, if not the top player, in the country. He does it all. It’s not just with his legs, he can also throw it, and he’s really smart — he makes really good decisions on the field — and they have some really great threats around him. ... It’s a good challenge for us, and we’re excited to face the challenge.” —Boston College DE Zach Allen
—”You just have to keep going.” —Bobby Petrino
—”We’ve got to take the next step. I think we’re a lot closer right now than we’ve been in a while.” —Boston College head coach Steve Addazio
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 38, Boston College 13