UB Gameday: Five Things to Watch vs. Boston College
Kickoff: 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Radio 1520 AM. Online: ESPN3.
1. Pass to run? It’s hard to see any vulnerability in the Boston College defense. The Eagles are sixth overall in yards allowed in the nation, 14th against the run and eighth against the pass. The fact they played run-heavy Georgia Tech skews the stats a bit. But it’s hard to see UB pounding the run on B.C. B.C. has more speed than UB, so getting outside won’t be easy, either. B.C. has held 17 of the last 29 foes to fewer than 100 yards rushing. UB may have to use short passes like runs, especially early in the game.
2. Go long, young man. It’s hard to imagine any chance of a UB upset – or even a single-digit defeat – without the Bulls getting a couple long pass plays. Tyree Jackson just missed on a couple deep throws vs. Army. Actually, two of them could have or should have been caught (a deep post to Malcolm Robinson and a corner route to the end zone to Marcus McGill).
3. Three and out. Boston College’s defense averages 6.25 three and outs per game, tied for sixth in the country. Against UMass (which is somewhat comparable to UB), the Eagles forced nine three and outs in 12 drives. The problem with taking lower-percentage shots downfield is it increases the three-and-out odds. That’s how the Nevada game played out. The takeaway? UB’s defense is going to have to hang in there and play a solid first half.
4. Incompletions. B.C. QB Patrick Towles, the transfer from Kentucky, has an impressive body. He’s 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds. He will scramble out of the pocket if there’s an opening, too. He has 156 rushing yards in four games. But he’s completing only 49.5 percent of his passes. B.C.’s offense won’t run away and hide as long as UB plays sound pass defense. UB needs to be ready for some hurry-up offense, too. The Eagles surprised Wagner with it last week.
5. Boise big. The suspicion is UB will have to play a fair amount of man coverage if it needs a safety to join the run front. That could put Boise Ross out on an island. He needs to be up to the challenge. UB will need a turnover or two to stay close.