On Saturday, Boston College will go for its third straight win, its longest such streak of the season, when the Eagles travel to North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils in an battle between two of the ACC's lower-ranked teams.
The Eagles (4-5, 2-4 in the ACC) are hoping to win at least two of their final three games of the season to qualify for a bowl. Duke (3-6, 1-4) needs to win out to reach the six-win plateau. The Blue Devils are 2-3 at home this season, while B.C. is just 1-2 on the road in 2010.
Boston College leads the all-time series, 3-1.
Coach Frank Spaziani's second season at Boston College has not gone as smoothly as his first year, as the Eagles have just four wins on the year. However, two of those victories have come in the team's last three matchups, and that includes a 23-13 decision over Wake Forest this past weekend. It was the first road win on the year for the Eagles, and the team's second victory in league action.
The Blue Devils opened the season with a victory over Elon, but that was followed by six consecutive setbacks, four of which came by a double-figure margin. However, coach David Cutcliffe's team could have packed up the season, but instead his troops have reeled off two consecutive wins, defeating Navy (34-31) and most recently Virginia (55-48).
Boston College owns a 3-1 edge over Duke in the all-time series, but this will be the first meeting between the two schools in Durham. The last time these two teams collided the Eagles grabbed a 28-7 victory over the Blue Devils.
Not much has worked for the Eagles offensively this season, which would explain why the team comes into this matchup averaging just 19.2 ppg. The ground game has been a strength, but opponents stack the box because the passing game isn't very good.
Chase Rettig has been unable to pick up the Eagles' offense since taking over for Dave Shinskie, who has been dealing with a concussion. Shinskie is questionable for this matchup, but if he is unable to go Rettig will be back under center where he has thrown just three touchdowns against five interceptions. If there was one player coach Spaziani can rely on it is running back Montel Harris, who is leading the team with 1,020 yards and six touchdowns.
The last time BC was on the field, the team hitched its wagon to Harris and cruised to a victory over Wake Forest. The tailback scored all three touchdowns for the Eagles and finished with 183 yards on 36 carries. Harris' performance softened the blow of Rettig's poor effort, as the quarterback finished with just 133 yards and was intercepted twice.
Boston College's inability to produce offensively, has wasted the solid effort put forth by the defense, which is limiting the opposition to just 22.0 ppg. The Eagles head into this game as one of the top defensive units in terms of stopping the run, and are currently limiting the competition to a meager 82.4 ypg on just 2.7 yards per attempt.
The secondary is surrendering 223.1 ypg through the air, be they have made up for its inconsistencies with an outstanding 17 interceptions. Forcing turnovers has been key for this unit, and along with the interceptions, the defense has also collected nine fumbles.
Four of the team's interceptions came in Boston College's victory over Wake Forest, as the defense overcame 218 yards and one touchdown through the air. One thing that remained the same was BC's effort against the run, as the Eagles held the Demon Deacons to just 69 yards on 2.2 yards per attempt.
The offense for Duke has erupted and over the team's last two contests, as this unit has totaled 89 points. In the team's recent victory over Virginia, the Blue Devils scored 55 points, and relied heavily on the ground game, which gashed the Cavaliers for 230 yards and six scores.
Desmond Scott led the way with 97 yards and one score, while Brandon Connette added 78 yards and two touchdowns. Also getting involved in the fun was quarterback Sean Renfree, who found the end zone twice. Renfree also overcame five sacks to finish the game with 219 yards passing and one touchdown.
Despite the sensational showing in the win over Virginia, the Blue Devils come into this weekend averaging a mediocre 132.8 rushing ypg. Through nine games, Scott is leading the team on the ground, but has just 489 yards, and as for Connette he has posted 281 yards and leads the squad with six rushing touchdowns. As for Renfree, he has been rather inconsistent under center, and even though he has thrown for 2,270 yards, he comes into this game with only 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Regardless of how much better the offense has performed, the defense for Duke continues to be a major problem, as the unit is allowing 38.9 ppg. Duke has been unable to stop the run or the pass, as teams have found the end zone 22 via the run, and 21 times through the air.
The fact that Duke was victorious against Virginia is a minor miracle considering the Cavs racked up 643 total yards. Duke, which is surrendering 199.8 ypg on the ground was gashed for 226 yards, but what was even worse was the 417-yard, four-touchdown performance Duke allowed Virginia to put forth in the matchup.
The Blue Devils have made an impressive turn around offensively, but it is likely that success won't last this weekend. Sure, Duke is home, but coach Cutcliffe's team is facing a very tough Boston College defense. Look for the Eagles to send the Blue Devils back to the loss column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 31, Duke 14
Saturday, Nov. 13, noon ET