Pittsburgh at Boston College: BC Offense vs. Pitt Defense

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Aug 30, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Tyler Murphy (2) runs the ball during the second half against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

BC Offense vs. Pitt Defense: Stat Analysis

There is no way we can read too much into the Eagles’ win over UMass, just like with Pittsburgh’s win over Delaware. Both schools beat inferior teams and the results were expected; besides, the sample size is too small and unrepresentative of the level of talent they will face most of the time.

What we do know is that Boston College will spread out the run amongst several different players, and that they are capable of gashing bad teams.

But can they gash decent teams?

Notice how Pittsburgh is “decent,” perhaps “good,” but not “great.” If they resemble last year’s team in any way, the Panthers are fine at stopping the run, though Boston College was better in avoiding it.

Given how that constitutes the vast majority of the Eagles’ offense, if a team stops the run, they stop most everything else, with the notable inclusion of scoring points. Some of Pitt’s other key defensive stats from last year were ordinary, but as it will be on Friday night, the run defense will matter most.

BC Offense vs. Pitt Defense: Key Matchup

All Boston College rushers vs. Pittsburgh front 7. A broad matchup, but a crucial one. The UMass front seven could not stop the players’ grandmothers last Saturday, and in fact were one of the worst run defenses in 2013. Now we get to see how the Eagles match up against a better opponent.

Last week, Eagles running backs stayed on their feet and powered themselves to extra yardage. Will it be quite that easy on Friday? Fifth-year senior defensive end David Durham may have a say in that, as someone who can create tackles for a loss as well as pressure the quarterback, in this case a mobile one.

BC Offense vs. Pitt Defense: Final Analysis

Boston College is confident that their run game will be just as good this season by committee as it was last season with Andre Williams. That remains to be seen, but the Pitt game will help illuminate. The pass defense for Pittsburgh had a great day against Delaware, as did the run defense, but the Eagles will only turn to that element sparingly.

The Panthers present a defense that looks competent; it won’t be a top-of-the-ACC defense or on the bottom. Boston College should be able to hold their own in this matchup, as a smothering performance by the Panthers seems unlikely. This looks even as both the Eagles offense and Panthers defense are reasonably good at what they do.

BC Offense vs. Pitt Defense: Even