LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (3-0, 1-0) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (1-2, 0-1)
Game Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: L&N Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Television: ACC Network
Announcers: Jorge Sedano (play-by-play), Orlando Franklin (analyst) and Marilyn Payne (reporter)
Favorite: Louisville by 14
All-Time Series: Louisville leads, 8-7
Last Meeting: Boston College won 34-33 on Oct. 1, 2022 in Chestnut Hill
Louisville Depth Chart:
Game Day Guide:
Excitement Level: 8.1
We’re keeping it the same as last week. Let’s get it done.
Game Attire: Louisville football ringer tee under red Louisville football sweatshirt
If it ain’t broke.
Pregame Meal: Probably water
I have hand, foot and mouth disease and currently can’t swallow anything solid. Kids are the best.
Bold Prediction: Defense scores a touchdown
I absolutely cursed Brock Travelstead last week so let’s swing big here.
T.J. Capers Playing Alert Level: Tropical Rain Forest (very, very low)
Once again, we are not changing.
Predicted Star of the Game: Jack Plummer
Our last week PSOTG wound up making the play that saved the game. Let’s send the magic this week over to QB1.
About Boston College:
The hot seats are warming up around college football and one of the hottest seats is that of Jeff Hafley. While I’m a believer in how he runs his program, the results just haven’t been there during his time in charge. Hafley made the decision to retool his coordinator positions this offseason but he didn’t go outside the program to make those changes. The 1-2 start this season may not be on the coordinators, but it can’t have helped things.
One decision that was made this season has worked out very well for the Eagles. Thomas Castellanos was given the reigns of the offense early in the season opener and he has added a spark that they sorely needed. Castellanos is a transfer from UCF where he flashed some skills and ability as a backup last year. Even with those nice moments, I don’t think anyone expected him to be this dynamic for BC.
Castellanos has great playmaking ability with his legs but I’ve been impressed with his accuracy down the field. He has great arm strength and he can deliver deep crosses and posts on a rope. He also has shown outstanding touch down the sideline. BC did a much better job against FSU with how they used Castellanos as they had plenty of designed runs for him as well as a lot of rollouts and other pass plays where they moved the pocket. BC also stressed the edges of the defense with their run game which made FSU defend the entire field.
The rushing attack for the Eagles is still struggling under Hafley after being such a big part of the program’s identity. The Eagles will use a few different backs but Kyle Robichaux has been the recipient of most of the carries over the last two weeks. He is a big back who is at his best in short-yardage but he can get chunk runs due to being able to break tackles and drag defenders.
BC has had an underrated wide receiver room for a couple of years now but the loss of Zay Flowers has opened up some opportunities for others. Lewis Bond has been the most consistent target so far this season. Bond has impressed me after the catch as he fights off tacklers and fights for yards any time he has the ball. He teams with Ryan O’keefe to make up a duo that can score any time they touch the ball.
The other two threats at receiver are Jaden Williams and Joseph Griffin. Griffin is the tallest receiver on the team and the threat in the red zone as well as on contested catches on third down. Williams is the most likely to have a Flowers type of impact, in my opinion. While he is not at that level from a talent standpoint, he has the speed and skill to run away from a defense. He’s a guy to keep an eye on.
There was a point that Boston College could have an argument that they were one of the best programs in the country when it comes to offensive line play and producing pros. Those days are behind us as the Eagles had one of the worst lines in the country last season and they’ve struggled to bounce back after bringing back their coach after a year in the NFL. The running game just has not been able to get going in a way that is effective. They’ve protected the quarterback pretty well overall but they do have breakdowns at times. The group has some talent and experience this year, but this is an area where UofL should win the battle.
Jeff Hafley was hired by BC after a successful stint as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator. While his defenses have not been terrible at BC, they haven’t been all that impressive. Hafley has a mix of veteran returners and young talent this year but he will need more from the veterans this weekend if he wants to walk away with a win.
Donovan Ezeiruaku is the best player on this defense and a likely NFL guy at the defensive end spot. He has showcased an ability to defend the run well while also being a force as a pass rusher. Louisville handled Andre Carter for Indiana pretty well last week so it will be interesting to see if they can do the same this week.
The other defensive end spot is manned by Shitta Sillah who is a veteran pass rusher who probably needs to be a more disruptive member of the defense. Sillah and the others up front have not been able to do much outside of their first game against Northern Illinois. Louisville has not allowed many negative plays this year. I don’t expect that to change this weekend.
Linebacker is another spot where BC has veteran leadership. Vinny Dipalma has been around forever and continues to provide a steady hand on the defense. He’s a bit undersized but he has no problem sticking his nose in the mix and taking on blockers. Jaylen Blackwell has stepped into a starting role pretty well after being a backup last year. His speed in space has stood out to me and his ability to play in that space will be a factor against Louisville.
The best player in the group, in my opinion, is Kam Arnold. He is a downhill linebacker but he has great range and plays very fast. He has a nose for the ball and ends up in on a lot of tackles. I’ve also been impressed with how he plays in coverage in the middle of the field. He can run with tight ends and backs but he also has shown the ability to sit in a zone and read a quarterback’s eyes.
The Eagles’ secondary lost one of their top players Josh DeBerry to the portal but they do return Elijah Jones who led the ACC in PBUs last season. Jones is a long athlete and he plays the ball in the air very well. He hasn’t had an impressive start to this season but the veteran corner could make a play or two this weekend.
Unfortunately for BC, Jones is about all they brought back in the secondary. Jalen Cheek is a young talent but he hasn’t been an impactful player. The rest of the secondary has not shown me much in their three games this season. They’ve struggled to tackle, cover, or make big plays. This should be a game where the passing game makes some big plays.
—Louisville is 3-0 for the first time since the 2016 season. The Cardinals started that year 4-0 before suffering their first defeat.
—Jeff Brohm is the fourth Louisville head football coach to begin his U of L career 3-0, joining Tom King, Frank Camp, and Bobby Petrino.
—Louisville and Boston College has alternated wins and losses in every season since 2018. The Eagles won last year’s game.
—Boston College has won four of its last six games against Louisville, with three of those wins coming by a total of 10 points.
—Louisville is 4-5 all-time in ACC home openers.
—This is the latest Boston College has played its first road game since a 2015 road opener at Duke on Oct. 3.
—All three of Boston College’s games so far this season have been decided by three points or less.
—Louisville is 5-1 all-time in home games against Boston College.
—Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley is 2-1 in games against Louisville.
—Jeff Brohm is 1-0 in games against Boston College.
—Boston College is 6-12 all-time in ACC road openers.
—Boston College is playing it 125th season of football.
—Louisville is looking to start 2-0 in ACC play for just the second time since joining the conference and for the first time since 2016.
—Louisville was held scoreless in the second half in the win over Indiana, improving to just 32-182-11 when failing to score in the second half.
—Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan currently leads the ACC in rushing yards per game, and wide receiver Jamari Thrash leads the ACC in receiving yards per game.
—Boston College has been penalized more times (38) than any other team in the country, four more than the next team. The Eagles also have the most penalty yards (333) of any team in the country, 28 more than the next team.
—Louisville is 38-37 all-time in ACC games.
—Louisville is 114-45 all-time at L&N Stadium and is currently riding a six-game home winning streak.
—Louisville is a 14-point favorite in this game according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cardinals have nine eight of their last 11 games when favored, including all three games so far this season.
—Louisville brings the ninth-ranked offense into Saturday’s game, going over 400 yards in each of the first three games of the season. Louisville is averaging 528.7 yards of total offense after recording 422 yards in the win over Indiana. The Cardinals rank 10th in the country with an average of 7.74 yards per play and are one of only two teams with four plays of over 70 or more yards this season.
—Louisville ranks 13th nationally with seven rushes of over 20 yards and is the only program in the country with two runs of over 70 yards.
—Louisville has scored in the first quarter in all three of its games so far this season and is outscoring opponents 20-0 in the opening frame.
—Louisville is 147-106-6 all-time during the month of September.
—Louisville has won 29 games in a row when holding teams to less than 300 yards of offense.
—Since 2019, Louisville is 22-4 when winning the turnover battle, and just 3-18 when losing it. The Cardinals won the turnover battle in the first two games this season, and matched Indiana in turnovers (1) last week.
—Since 2018, Louisville is 8-0 when scoring 40-49 points, and 4-0 when scoring 50 or more.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 290 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 10th-longest nationally.
—Louisville is 199-14 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 6-121 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
—“We’re excited to get back home to start the conference slate against a really good Boston College team who played their best game last week. Found their quarterback, put up yards, and had a chance to win. So we’re going to have to have a good week of practice and once again just try to correct the mistakes we made this past game. Continue to find ways to be more efficient in all three segments and see if we can come out and play as clean a game as possible and find a way to win.” —Jeff Brohm
—“Coach Brohm is a really good coach. We know how athletic Louisville is, and their scheme is really sound. It’s going to be a great environment, and they’re coming home. This is going to be a challenge on the road, and we’re going to see what our guys are made of. We have to go attack it, but I can’t wait.” —Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley
—“I think for us, coming up with a good scheme around him, and then coming up with a scheme around the other weapons throughout the offense is going to be big for us. Staying within our keys, and running to the football like we do. Running to the football is going to be a big key for us.” —Ben Perry
—“If you’re playing more of a traditional guy that’s going to sit in the pocket and step up to get rid of the ball, you can be more aggressive in your pass rush. You can be more exotic with your pressures, but I think we have to be careful of [Plummer] because he’s run the ball and looks a little bit more athletic than I think people give him credit. There are times he breaks away, and he can run pretty well.”—Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley
—“For us, especially in our group, it’s always one game at a time. We enjoy a win for 24 hours, and then we’re on to Boston College, who took a really, really good Florida State team right down to the wire. That grabs everyone’s attention real fast, especially in the locker room.” —Eric Miller
—“We have to find ways to make a few more plays in them and score a few more points than them. So I just think, eliminating big mistakes, the turnovers, not giving up big plays, being smart in how we play the game, all those things matter. Being efficient on special teams, all those things matter. And if you do that, then hopefully in the end you have more points than they do. That’s what this game is about in my opinion, that the small details matter. While you want to try to win every rep, you’re not, you just have to win more than they do.” —Jeff Brohm
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 34, Boston College 17
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.