The Boston College Eagles have a tough game in front of them in Evanston. It’s not the most difficult game they’ll play all year by any means, but tough enough.
This is one of those contests BC would really like to have to get themselves in better bowl positioning. It’s not a must-win game, but a defeat here would certainly make BC’s journey more difficult.
I gave the Eagles the benefit of the doubt against Miami in that Week 1 “toss-up game,” but I’m feeling a little less generous today. There have only been two games, so the sample sizes are small, but my overall impression of this team right now is as follows: offense improved, defense declined. This team will probably win and lose games in different ways than they did last year, as the Miami game (for example) was not the kind of game the 2011 Eagles would have played – what, with all the points they scored.
Northwestern has yet to match the numbers BC put up in Week 1, but they are competent and come out on the plus side of the turnover margin. BC’s defensive line doesn’t generate much pressure on the quarterback (to be fair, they didn’t last year, either) and they’re having trouble with the run. Meanwhile, Northwestern has done a little better with the pass rush and they run the ball decently.
I’ve had a bad feeling about this game all week and nothing changed during the previews. The Eagles are just 7-9 in true road games under Spaz and I think Northwestern is capable of moving the ball on us. Chase Rettig, if he plays up to his potential, should be able to keep this game close but ultimately, I worry that the defense will struggle with the Wildcats in much the same way they did last year. That game was a “death by a thousand cuts” loss, and that’s still NU’s style this season. This feels like a 31-27 or a 28-24 Northwestern win. Since it will probably be close, there is still a respectable chance that BC will win, so don’t throw in the towel just yet.
This is a situation where I would prefer to be very wrong because this is the kind of game BC needs. It would help their path to a bowl bid tremendously.