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Opponent Breakdown: Boston College Defense

Boston College has struggled to stop the run and the pass this year.

NCAA Football: Boston College at North Carolina State James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College was once known for being one of the toughest defenses to play in the ACC. That hasn’t been the case this year and it seems to have been trending that way since Don Brown left the staff for Michigan. However, the Eagles have some extremely talented players on their defense that will be playing on Sundays soon, so will definitely be a good challenge for a UofL offense that has some positive momentum going.

The best player on this Eagles defense is defensive end Zach Allen. Allen led all defensive linemen in the country with 100 tackles last year and he finally started to generate some buzz right before this season started. He has the size of a defensive tackle at 6-5/285 but he plays with an insane motor and can get to plays all over the field. He isn’t neccessarly “great” at any one thing but he does everything well and really makes it hard to run to his side of the field.

The rest of the line wasn’t expected to do much this year, but Wyatt Ray ended up having a great game against Wake Forest with 4 sacks. Ray hasn’t done too much outside of that game and BC needs him to be that pass rusher that they had with Harold Landry. Ray Smith is another veteran player that needs to step up for this defense in the middle. The Eagles are allowing just under 4 yards per rush this year.

BC had some rough injury luck at linebacker last year but those injuries made the position very deep this season. Connor Strachan is back in the middle after missing much of last year. He’s one of the better players in the conference and I love the way he runs down plays. Isaiah McDuffie and Max Richardson round out the three man group and both have had very good seasons so far. Richardson got hit with a targeting penalty last week so he will miss the first half. Jon Lamont, who had a pick six in the game last year is another player to keep an eye on.

The secondary for the Eagles has been somewhat of a letdown. They brought back a strong group but they have struggled to stop teams with good passing games. That includes two separate games where they allowed the opposing quarterback to complete 75% of their passes. That bodes well for a Louisville passing attack that looked pretty good over the last two weeks. What doesn’t bode well is the fact that BC is fourth in the country in interceptions. Hamp Cheevers leads the team with three but all four starters in the secondary have pulled one in.

Taj-Amir Torres and Brandon Sebastian are the other two corners we should see this weekend. Torres is not too far behind Cheevers with 7 passes defensed and Sebastian has great size, but is inexperienced. Louisville should be in a position to have a solid day passing the football if they can carry over some of the things they did last week.

One of my favorite players in the conference is safety Lukas Denis. Denis would have tied for the national lead in interceptions last season if his quarterback hadn’t thrown on in their bowl game to Josh Jackson. Denis is an undersized safety but he plays the middle of the field really well and he can cover pretty well, also. He teams up with Will Harris to make up one of the best safety tandems in the conference.