The last of our unit previews springs forth on the day following Christmas, when doubtlessly nobody is reading this. It’s no big deal, anyway, as it’s just about Arizona’s special teams.
The Wildcats’ most important man here is their kicker, senior Jake Smith. Smith has gotten to kick 49 extra point attempts, missing two. The real problem has been his field goal kicking:
• 12-for-19 overall
• No attempts inside 20 yards
• Missed first attempt of season (inside 30 yards)
• 2-for-5 between 30 and 39 yards
• 3-for-5 above 39 yards
Of course, Boston College has faced kickers having bad seasons before, who somehow become All-Americans when opposed by maroon and gold, not that it would necessarily effect the game’s outcome.
The punting is handled by sophomore Drew Riggleman, who has averaged 40.4 yards per punt this season. That is eighth-best in the Pac-12, but for reasons you will see shortly, it has not been much of a negative.
Otherwise, Arizona has essentially no return game of which to speak. Their longest punt return of the season was 25 yards by sophomore Johnny Jackson. As for kickoff returns, they’ve had some in the 20s and 30s, with the longest coming from sophomore Jared Baker. It goes without saying that they’ve had no return touchdowns this year, though they have not allowed any, either. Arizona is tied for 12th in the nation in terms of fewest yards allowed per punt return (3.33), and are 28th in kickoff return yards allowed (19.53). Riggleman might not be booting it further than anyone, but the opposition does not advance.
Therefore, Boston College probably will not get very far on special teams (in the event they return punts or kickoffs at all); their best chance is for Smith to shank a few kicks.