Last week at home against Maryland, the Boston College Eagles offense performed relatively well against a highly-rated Terrapins defense. Well enough to come back at the last minute and win, that is. This week, they face a Wake Forest Demon Deacons defense that has not put up nearly the same numbers as last week’s opponent, but has also had some respectable performances.
First, the Eagles offense. They entered the Maryland game ranked in the mid-80s in a number of FBS statistical categories. This week, well, they got worse. Despite having come from behind for a 20-17 win over Maryland, Boston College is now 93rd in total offense (362.38 ypg) and 92nd in scoring (23.13 ppg). Another category where we know the Eagles got worse is third-down conversions, where BC went 3-for-13. Here’s the thing with that: the Eagles started 0-for-10 but finished 3-for-3 at the end, including 2-for-2 in the game-winning drive. That does count for something. Still, Boston College is now the third-worst team in the entire country on third downs at just 28.57%.
Chase Rettig again proved that he is capable of leading his team. The results have not always been there, but Rettig is the man to lead this team and always has been. His on-field connection with Alex Amidon has truly saved the Eagles, and the receiver has had a remarkable breakout season. That is not to say that there haven’t been other useful offensive weapons, like Johnathan Coleman who caught the game-winning touchdown on Saturday, but Rettig-to-Amidon has been the main vehicle for Boston College offensive success in 2012.
Wake Forest’s defense would probably do well to put their best corner on Amidon, but Rettig does have other options. Sometimes, Rettig locks in on just one of them, but that is not as big of a problem lately. It also helps when the guy you lock in on — usually Amidon — finds a way to catch the ball. Speaking of, drops have at times been a problem for the Eagles as a whole.
The Boston College offense has some nice players but is not great overall. That is not only because of the 90-something total offensive rankings, but also the run game. BC had another goal-line fumble this past week from Andre Williams, but the total body of work has been miserable. The Eagles have the 4th-worst rushing offense in the country with just 82.5 yards per game on the ground. BC is entirely one-dimensional and that is a big part of what’s holding them back.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest’s run defense is mediocre, tied for 79th at 173.38 yards allowed per game. Their passing defense isn’t any better as they allow 62.4% opposing quarterback completions and a passer rating of 139.68. Before getting blown out by Clemson last week, however, Wake did have two decent defensive performances. One was against Maryland, and the other against Virginia (both of which are bad offensive teams, but BC’s defense did the same thing against Maryland, so take it for what it is and give them credit as well). The Terps held the ball for almost 36 minutes, though they only managed 5-for-18 on third downs and 244 total yards, along with 19 points. In the Virginia game, Wake held the Cavaliers to 301 yards and 10 points.
Some of Wake’s key players on defense are Mike Olson, a junior with 59 tackles, Justin Jackson, a junior with 57 tackles and four sacks, and Riley Hayes, a senior with 49 tackles. All three of those young men play at the various linebacker positions.
The composition of their defense is veteran. Of the eleven starters listed for last week’s game, nine were upper-classmen. The other two were sophomores. Only four freshmen appear on Wake’s two-deep on this side of the football. Wake Forest has experience on defense, but apparently, it has not translated to great success.
This is a matchup that in some respects is favorable to Boston College. The Eagles aren’t going to look like Clemson did last Thursday night, but they should be able to have some success moving the football against this Deacs defense. The Eagles’ running game is not at all reliable, but Chase Rettig and his corps of wide receivers will likely advance through the air and score points.