LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (3-3, 1-2) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (4-2, 0-2)
Game Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Wes Durham(play-by-play), Roddy Jones (analyst) and Taylor Davis (sideline)
Favorite: Louisville by 5.5
All-Time Series: Louisville leads, 7-6
Last Meeting: Boston College won 34-27 on Nov. 28, 2020 in Boston
Louisville Depth Chart:
Excitement Level: 5.0
We really need to win this one to make sure the EL doesn’t dip below 5.0 at any point in the second half of the season.
Game Attire: Red Louisville football sweatshirt
Bringing back the Charlie Strong era piece of clothing with the hope that it will produce a Charlie Strong era type performance from the Cardinal defense.
Pregame Meal: Pizza
Bold Prediction: A Louisville receiver catches multiple touchdown passes
Has not happened in a game so far this season. We need a hit here.
Justin Marshall TD Alert Level: Flower Shop - Wisteria (average)
Let’s get it going, 18.
Predicted Star of the Game: Jack Fagot
He’s been on all the promos leading up to the game. Why not be the star? It’s Fagoat season.
About Boston College:
Boston College came into the season with high hopes for their offense after a very big improvement in 2020. However, those hopes faded a bit when Phil Jurkevic was injured in their second game. Jurkevic is who made this offense go and BC hasn’t had enough time to build much depth behind him with their new staff just getting started in year two. The Eagles are 4-2 this season but the offense has struggled the last two weeks and there aren’t many signs that things will improve.
Dennis “Card Killer” Grosel has been the next man up at Quarterback for BC for a few years now and he is a much-improved player from the guy UofL saw two years ago. Grosel has been unbelievable in two games against the Cards. He came off the bench in both games and UofL just couldn’t contain him. Grosel is coming off a very bad game against NC State where he missed a handful of throws high. He didn’t get a lot of help from his Receivers but he just looked “off” for the game. Grosel also hasn’t been the runner that UofL has seen in the past. He is better in the pocket but his lack of arm strength seems to be a real issue for him.
The Eagles had been known for their great running game for years but last year they really struggled to get the running game going. This year, that has changed a bit. Patrick Garwo is averaging over six yards per carry on the season but BC has had a very hard time being consistent with their play calls. Garwo is a bruising back and he runs with a style that you would think BC would love to utilize. However, they have gone away from him the last two games. I would imagine that will change as the BC offense has been anemic the last two weeks and UofL hasn’t consistently stopped the run this year.
Zay Flowers is the key to this offense as he is by far the biggest threat as well as being the most consistent performer. Flowers is a very fast slot Receiver who can also play outside. He is used in a multitude of ways but I think the most concerning for Louisville is as a deep threat. Lousiville has made it a point to not allow teams to beat them deep but we saw Wake Forest do so when they played more aggressive coverage. Flowers will go off if they can’t contain him in some way.
BC also has the ability to spread the ball around to guys like Jalen Gill and CJ Lewis outside. Both players have good size and speed but neither has had a big game so far this year. Trae Barry is a real threat at Tight End. At 6-6/244, he is a matchup nightmare for anyone.
The Boston College Offensive Line is again one of the best in the ACC if not the nation. They are a veteran group with three or four NFL guys on it. You really can’t say enough about how well they play. With their improved run blocking this year, it’s no surprise that BC is able to put points on the board and have a solid offense even with their injuries and issues everywhere else.
Boston College has been known to have a strong defense in recent years but the results under Jeff Hafley have been a little underwhelming so far. The Eagles don’t stand out in any way on defense and they have struggled to stop some very pedestrian offenses this season.
The issues for BC start up front with a Defensive Line that hasn’t been able to get much pressure on the Quarterback and has failed to make many disruptive plays against the run. BC is ranked in the 120s when it comes to sacks and tackles for loss. They are nearly dead last in the latter. They’re getting next to nothing from this front group and it’s impacting the play of the guys behind them. This is a group that Louisville should be able to exploit.
The Linebackers for BC have fallen off a bit after losing some really good talent over the last few years. Isaiah Graham-Mobely leads the team in tackles but he hasn’t made many havoc plays this year. He is a guy who can run well and chase things down. Kam Arnold and Vinny DePalma have combined for three forced fumbles on the year. BC isn’t bad on defense by any stretch but the lack of havoc plays by the front seven has been an issue for them.
The Eagles’ secondary is really impressive to me as it’s full of veteran guys with a lot of experience and a handful of young guys with great potential. Brandon Sebastian has been starting at Cornerback for BC for about half a decade and he is still very good at just about everything. He has great size and plays the ball well in the air. Opposite Sebastian is Elijah Jones who is 6-2/176 and sticky in coverage. Louisville hasn’t tested outside corners all that often this year and I don’t know that they have an advantage to start doing so.
The Safeties are an interesting group for BC. Josh DeBerry starts at the nickel and he makes a lot of plays on the edge. He will be key against Louisville’s stretch runs as well as their quick passing game. Jason Matrie is a former corner who should be an asset in coverage while Jaiden Woodbey is a former top-35 recruit who transferred in from FSU. This group has talent but they are getting no help from the pass rush and it’s hurting their performance.
—Saturday is Homecoming at the University of Louisville.
—For the first time under second-year head coach Jeff Hafley, Boston College has lost back-to-back games.
—Louisville is 4-2 all-time in home games against Boston College.
—Boston College quarterback Dennis Grosel has completed only 13 passes in two games against Louisville, but five of those completions have been for touchdowns.
—Louisville ranks in the top 25 nationally in total offense, averaging 452.0 yards per game. The Cards have totaled more than 500 yards of offense in three of the last four contests.
—Under Scott Satterfield, Louisville is 12-1 when winning the turnover battle, and just 1-13 when losing it. U of L’s lone loss in such a situation came in its 34-33 loss to Virginia in its last game.
—Louisville leads the ACC and is 20th nationally in sacks allowed with an average of just 1.33 per game. The Cardinals have allowed multiple sacks in only two games this season — Ole Miss and Wake Forest.
—Boston College is tied for 14th nationally with just 13 touchdowns allowed in 2021. It’s been a quick turnaround under Jeff Hafley and his defensive staff. The year prior to Hafley’s arrival, BC allowed 49 touchdowns in 2019, ranking 88th nationally.
—BC is outscoring its opponents 92-40 in the first half of games this season.
—Louisville is a 5.5-point favorite in this game according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cardinals are 2-1 straight up as a favorite so far this season.
—The first quarter has been BC’s second-highest scoring quarter of the season, outscoring the opposition 52-28 in the first 15 minutes of play. In the second quarter, BC has yielded just four field goals the entire season, holding a 40-12 advantage.
—In eight seasons as a head coach, Scott Satterfield’s teams are 55-7 when scoring 30 or more points. Louisville is 14-4 in such games under Satterfield, but has lost two in a row — a 37-34 loss to Wake Forest and a 34-33 loss to Virginia.
—Louisville is 30-31 in league games since joining the ACC in 2014.
—Louisville will honor former head coach Howard Schnellenberger, who died on March 27, with a helmet sticker that will be worn for the entirety of the 2021 season.
—Louisville is 210-92-5 all-time during the month of October, with Scott Satterfield posting a 4-6 mark in his first three seasons during the calendar’s 10th month.
—BC has been at its best on third down this season - both on offense and defensively. On offense, the Eagles are 17th nationally converting 47.5% of their third down conversions (38-of-80). That stat is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Defensively, BC is limiting opponents to 29.6% on third down, going just 21-of-71. The Eagles are 10th in the nation in third down defense, and third in the ACC behind NC State (1st/25.3%) and Pitt (6th/27.5%).
—Malik Cunningham is the first player in Louisville history to rush for at least five touchdowns in four separate seasons.
—BC fifth-year senior Ben Petrula has the second-longest active start streak in the nation at 54 games. After not playing in his first career game as a true freshman at Northern Illinois in 2017, Petrula moved to center and started the final 12 games of the season.
—Louisville O-line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. was a center for Boston College where he played for his father - Jack Bicknell Sr. He was the center that snapped the ball to Doug Flutie for the iconic Hail Mary that beat Miami in 1984. Bicknell started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Boston College. Bicknell’s father was 59–55–1 in 10 years as the Eagles’ head coach.
—Louisville is 0-6 under Scott Satterfield when being held to 21 points or fewer.
—Louisville is 12-2 under Scott Satterfield when leading at halftime, and 14-2 when leading at the end of the 3rd quarter.
—Louisville is 0-13 under Satterfield when trailing at the end of the 3rd quarter.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 267 games dating back to a 31-0 loss to Florida State during the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the second longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech, and the 11th-longest nationally.
—Louisville is 193-14 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 6-120 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
—“We know we’re going to get a good football team. We’ve had back-to-back heartbreak losses, so we’re looking to bounce back, and get a win in a very competitive league. We’re looking forward to getting back out there and playing after this bye week.” —Scott Satterfield
—“Trust me, their backs are really good players. Really good players. The tight end [Marshon Ford] is a solid guy who’s caught a lot of balls. The two receivers, there’s more than two, they got two guys that can fly. One and 11 do a good job also and then they have some big guys. I think they might be the most athletic offense that I’ve seen on tape. But can’t say enough about Cunningham.” —Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley
—“We’re not a senior-laden team, we’re a really young team and we have to understand how to finish games. You’ve got to close games out. That’s one thing we need to do.” —Bryan Brown
—“What’s different about them is just the speed in the quarterback. You have a play stopped and you’re covered, then all of a sudden you look up and you’re trying to figure out why the ball’s not thrown and he’s 20 yards down the field running. That’s the challenge.” —Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley
—“I watched that game (NC State-Boston College) live Saturday night, good football game, two good teams, and actually our next two opponents. I think coach Hafley has done a really good job there, him and his staff. Their kids play hard at BC, they know what they want to do.” —Scott Satterfield
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 31, Boston College 27