Boston College’s defense is a unit that is probably holding out for the season to be over. With the shocking body of work they’ve put together so far, nobody can blame them if they do. In their final home game of the 2012 season, they face off against a Virginia Tech Hokies offense that has also had its share of struggles.
Virginia Tech lost some offensive talent in the offseason when RB David Wilson and WR Danny Coale entered the draft while others graduated. Quarterback Logan Thomas is still there, but he leads a unit with less firepower. In 2012, the Hokies are 71st in scoring with 26.6 points per game and 65th in total yardage (399.8). Compare this to last season where Virginia Tech was 35th in yardage (413) and 57th in scoring (27.93). The difference is negligible, but there’s no question that the Hokies have done a little less this season. With their defense not up to its normal levels this year, they can’t afford to get away with it. Consider also that they scored 79 points against Austin Peay and Bowling Green, so that skewed the statistics a bit.
Logan Thomas has been part of the problem this year. He has thrown 14 touchdowns, but also 14 interceptions, “helping” his team to 93rd in turnover margin; Virginia Tech’s 22 turnovers lost is near the bottom of the country. Thomas’s completion percentage this year is not very high, either, at just 53.6%.
The quarterback also happens to be the team’s leading rusher, which should tell you something about how the Hokies have coped with the loss of David Wilson. Wilson had 1709 yards on the ground last season, while Thomas leads VT this year with 435. It should not surprise anyone, then, that they are on pace for hundreds upon hundreds fewer rushing yards than 2011, with fewer touchdowns as well.
As for the Boston College defense they will face, their struggles are well known to those who have seen any games against teams not from Maine or Maryland. With only two games remaining in this forgettable season, the body of work is disturbing:
• 107th in FBS (11th ACC) in total defense: 470 ypg allowed
• 77th in FBS (9th ACC) in scoring defense: 29.9 ppg allowed
• 119th in FBS in tackles for a loss: 3.3 per game
• Poor tackling
• Ineffective scheme
• Worst defensive line play in over a decade
These problems did not magically fix themselves over the first ten games, so it’s unlikely that they will in the last two. The Hokies that they will face this week may not have a powerful offense, but it’s better than, say, Notre Dame. To date, the only offenses BC has been able to stop are Maine, an FCS team, and Maryland, a miserable offense which was on its fourth-string quarterback. When your team is allowing about 500 yards per game against FBS competition, it’s obvious that they’re having trouble, and Boston College will have a lot to fix in 2013, ostensibly under a completely new coaching staff.
Virginia Tech may have a slight advantage in this matchup by virtue of BC’s defensive performance across the board. What may turn the scales a bit is the Hokies’ propensity to turn the ball over; a few interceptions could give the Eagles defense a fighting chance and mask some deficiencies.