Previewing 2018 Football: Virginia Tech

bc football

No. 24 Boston College football (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) is coming off its biggest win of the season—a 13-point victory over Miami. The double-digit decision got the Eagles back into the AP Top 25 for the first time in five weeks and secured bowl eligibility. BC will now travel to Virginia Tech (4-3, 3-1) on Saturday afternoon to take on the Hokies, a team that, historically, has had the Eagles number. VTech has won eight of the teams’ past 10 meetings and, each of the past two years, has handed BC its worst loss of the season.

With Clemson and Syracuse—both ranked in the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings—a win on Saturday is absolutely necessary for the Eagles to keep their ACC title hopes alive.

Who is BC playing?

Virginia Tech

When is BC playing?

Saturday, Nov. 3, 3:45 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.

How to Watch:

The game will be broadcasted on Raycom Sports (WSBK-TV 38) and livestreamed on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) BC ran more than 50 plays against Miami in the first half alone last Friday. A.J. Dillon rushed for 149 yards and BC finished with a total of 223 yards on the ground. Dillon has racked up 801 yards this season and has eight total touchdowns to his name.

2) Anthony Brown has 1,390 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just 5 interceptions this season. Nine of his 15 touchdown passes came in the first three games of the season. He is completing 58 percent of his passes, but he also hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in the past five games.

3) Defensively, BC is allowing 157 rushing yards per game, but opponents are gaining under four yards per attempt. Hamp Cheevers, recorded his fifth interception of the season and returned the pick to the Miami 14-yard line, which led to a BC field goal. Taj-Amir Torres also had an interception, his second of the season. BC scored 10 points off turnovers versus the Hurricanes. Also important to note—Isaiah McDuffie led the Eagles with 12 tackles, six being solo, and Will Harris, made nine tackles, also with six solo.

VTech:

1) Wide receiver Damon Hazelton has had eight catches this year of 25 yards or more. He had a 41-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Yellow Jackets, which marked his team-best sixth touchdown catch of the season. He also had 81 yards, making it the fifth time in seven games that he has recorded at least 50 yards in receiving.

2) In place of Hokies starting quarterback, Josh Jackson, will be junior Ryan Willis. He has thrown for 1300 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions this season since taking over for Jackson back in Week Four. Against Georgia Tech, he completed 15-of-22 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 22 yards and a score. In each of his four starts this season, he has thrown at least two touchdown passes, giving him a total of 10 this year.

3) The Hokies haven’t rushed for more than 154 yards in each of the past four games. Running back Steve Peoples rushed just six times against Georgia Tech. He ran for 51 yards, but 24 yards came from one carry. He hasn’t rushed for more than 64 yards over the past four games. Last weekend, the Hokies finished with just 323 yards of offense.

Last Meeting:

The last time the Eagles and Hokies met was Oct. 7, 2017, when Virginia Tech beat BC, 23-10. Heading into this game, VTech holds a three-game winning streak over the Eagles— a stretch in which they won each contest by at least two touchdowns. The Hokies lead the all-time series, 18-8.

Outlook:

Offensively, BC controlled the game last week against Miami—which entered the Friday night matchup with one of the best defenses country. The Eagles will have to replicate that performance against the Hokies. A strong offensive attack will enable Dillon to open up the passing lanes for Brown. Dillon poses a major threat to the Hokies’ defense and getting him the ball is the key to the Eagle’s success on the field. That said, Brown will have to play smart and protect the ball.

Defensively, the Eagles are eighth in the country in takeaways and 52nd in total defense this season. They have been really good at causing turnovers, as they forced two interceptions against Miami last week, which led to a series of scoring plays in the third quarter. BC also held Miami to just 49 total yards and two first downs in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, there have been quite a few quarterbacks who have had strong games against the BC pass defense, especially those who can make plays with their legs, like Willis.

Featured Image by Steve Helber / AP Photo