Boston College’s defense had its best performance against an FBS team this season when Maryland visited last Saturday. Of course, it took them facing a fourth-string quarterback and one of the worst offenses in the country, but a win is a win. The offense they will face at Wake Forest this upcoming weekend is perhaps a little better, but not by much.
Better might not even be the correct word to use, because statistically, they aren’t. Stable is perhaps it, but they have had their injuries as well. At quarterback for the Deacs is Tanner Price, a junior who is not necessarily having the sort of year Wake fans expected. Last season, Price completed 60% of his passes and boasted a solid TD:INT ratio of 20:6. This year through two-thirds of the season, it’s at just 9:4 with 52.6% completions. There’s no way to tell how much of it is him and how much is his receivers, but that’s still a steep drop. Unlike Maryland, however, Wake Forest is still on its first-string quarterback, whereas the Terps are one ACL injury away from starting a random student out of the stands.
Overall, the Demon Deacon offense has not been impressive. Their aforementioned passing game is ranked 91st in FBS and their rushing offense is 109th. As far as total yardage, the Deacs are 112th and in points, 101st. In a side-by-side comparison to Boston College’s offense, these two units are probably quite similar. They will not directly face off against one another, but for Boston College fans wanting to know how Wake’s offense is, it is more or less the sort of offense BC trots out onto the field.
BC has their leading receiver in Alex Amidon, while Wake Forest has Michael Campanaro (though Amidon has had a far better season). He missed two games due to injury, but has still managed 481 yards and three touchdowns on the season, and has also rushed for 75 and scored a touchdown on the ground. He will probably be Tanner Price’s key target, but expect senior Terence Davis to also get targets. In last Thursday’s Clemson game, he had seven catches for 84 yards.
Though Wake’s rushing game has not amounted to much in terms of yardage, they have run for 12 touchdowns. Price ran for two of them and Campanaro another, but the bulk were scored by Josh Harris and Deandre Martin. Boston College held Martin to 60 yards on 19 carries in last season’s game, while Martin is a freshman who will face the Eagles for the first time. BC’s run defense is nowhere near as good as it used to be, but his only 100+ yard day was Army (though keep in mind that he is sharing carries with Martin). Of the two, Harris is by far the more productive back.
It will be up to Boston College to keep up their forward momentum from the Maryland game against another offense that is not very good. The Eagles again had some trouble getting off the field, letting Maryland own 33:27 time of possession, but they only allowed 107 rushing yards in their win. Maryland’s 347 offensive yards were easily the fewest BC had allowed to any FBS team yet, though in fairness, it was probably equal parts Maryland being bad and BC playing respectably.
Wake Forest is in a better offensive situation than Maryland, but not by a lot. They have more experienced key players — Price and Campanaro are juniors, while Harris is a senior — but have not scored any roaring offensive victories aside from Army. Their playcalling has been roasted by the student newspaper as being “conservative” (where have we heard that before?) and they don’t seem to have a great deal of explosiveness.
This will be on the Eagles’ defense to show everyone that last week’s performance was not a fluke against a bad offensive team. Most folks of a maroon and gold persuasion would be satisfied with a repeat of last week, assuming the offense scores some points, but something worse would send all the wrong messages and scream out that the Maryland game was the exception, not the rule.
Like in the Maryland game, this matchup is a toss-up which could go either way. Ultimately, the Maryland O/BC D battle slightly favored the Eagles, though you never know. Taking the whole body of work, these units are about as ineffective as one another, though Wake does have a little more talent and veteran leadership than what the Eagles saw last week. Don’t be surprised to see BC do about the same as last Saturday, but likewise do not be shocked if the Deacs perform a bit better than Maryland did.