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What To Watch For: Boston College

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Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

WILL LOUISVILLE AIR IT OUT?

Boston College has one of the worst pass defenses of all the power five teams in the country. Louisville is ranked 120th in passes per game. The obvious question is if Louisville will look to throw the ball more against a team that can’t stop the pass.

Boston College hasn’t rushed the passer well at all this season. They have also left a lot of receivers open at all three levels of the defense. Louisville should have more confidence in their passing game now that they got the ball to Dez Fitzpatrick last week. Up until the FSU game, they had been reliant on Tutu Atwell and only worked in other players on specific plays designed for them.

At this moment Boston College has the worst defense on Louisville’s entire schedule based on the SP+. Worse than Western Kentucky and worse than a Syracuse defense that nearly gave up 100 points to Maryland. The only thing they do well is force turnovers. Louisville has to have a good showing on offense and getting the passing game going should help that happen.

WILL WE SEE THE BC THAT SHOWED UP FOR WAKE FOREST OR THE ONE THAT SHOWED UP FOR KANSAS?

Boston College hasn’t been very good on defense this year but their offense has shown some positive signs in a couple of their games. Last week against Wake Forest they showed much more than just positive signs. BC was able to run for 5.73 yards per carry, complete 71% of their passes, three touchdown passes, and 7.11 yards per play. Those numbers are closer to what they did against Richmond as opposed to the struggles they had against Kansas and Rutgers.

Anthony Brown threw two interceptions but outside of those two throws, he might have had the best game he’s had since they played Wake Forest last year and he threw for five touchdowns and got a Defensive Coordinator fired. So will we see the Anthony Brown that plays so well against Wake or the guy that couldn’t hit open receivers against Kansas? BC won’t ever have issues running the ball but they aren’t Wisconsin. They need Brown to be efficient as well as accurate.

The defense played Wake Forest better than anyone so far this year. They limited explosive plays and contained their run game pretty well. The most impressive thing they did was take away Sage Surratt’s big plays down the sideline. They didn’t always make the play but they were sticky enough in coverage that he had to work for everything. That hadn’t been the case in their other games. Kansas and Richmond both completed 74% of their passes against BC and Kansas hit multiple throws to outside receivers who were wide open. BC was more aggressive against Wake and we could see them try to do the same against the Cards.

LOUISVILLE’S DEFENSE HAS TO MAKE ANTHONY BROWN BEAT THEM

One thing stood out when I watched the Rutgers and Kansas games against Boston College. This offense starts to rely heavily on Anthony Brown when things aren’t going smoothly. They don’t start slinging the ball around like an air raid team or anything, but they do start looking to him to complete third down throws instead of letting their 245-pound running back get the 5-8 yards he gets on first down most of the time.

Brown has only completed 16 passes for first downs so far this year on 44 attempts. He’s actually at his worst on third and medium, somehow. But, those stats flesh out when you watch the games. He has had a lot of issues just hitting tight ends out in the flat or wide receivers on quick outs and other similar routes. Louisville allowed Florida State to hit a ton of easy throws and they can’t let that happen again. The positive, is that over his career, Anthony Brown has had many more games where he has been average compared to how he played last week against Wake.

BRYAN BROWN WILL BRING EXTRA PLAYERS TO STOP THE RUN AND THE PASS

Scott Satterfield was asked this week about his team’s pass defense and he had a pretty blunt answer. Guys just haven’t been reading routes or jumping routes like they did at App State. I happened to talk about that in the #Wynnedbag last week when asked about receivers running open in the middle of the field. The secondary hasn’t been nearly as aggressive as the guys Bryan Brown coached at App State. It’s not even close, to be honest.

I expect that to change this week after the bye. This defense doesn’t really work when the front seven plays aggressively but the back end plays timid. This staff and the players have touted how much they study film and tendencies. I expect that to actually show with the secondary players this week. Boston College is pretty direct on offense. They’re going to run at you until you stop them and they’re going to try to hit play action passes with straight routes down the field. We won’t likely see double moves or deception in routes, so I think this is the perfect game for these corners to look to jump a short route or two.