Boston College will go for its season-high fourth-straight win on Saturday when the Eagles play host to the Virginia Cavaliers at Alumni Stadium at 12:00 p.m. ET.
It's a key ACC battle for both sides, as B.C. is at 3-4 in the Atlantic Division -- while that leaves it an impossibility to catch Florida State (5-2 in the ACC), with just two games left in the season (and only one conference game), the Eagles are just only wins away from becoming bowl eligible at 7-5 overall. Ready the excitement of the ... Fight Hunger Bowl!
Virginia (4-6, 1-5 ACC), meanwhile, enters having lost their past two games, including a 55-48 loss to Duke on Nov. 6. And dating back to last season, UVA has dropped five straight on the road.
GAME NOTES: The Boston College Eagles are soaring high at the present moment, and will look to continue their impressive resurgence this Saturday afternoon when the Virginia Cavaliers come to Alumni Stadium for a tough ACC battle.
It has been a rough year for the Cavs, who come into this game with just a 1-5 mark in conference play. Surprisingly, that lone win came against Miami, one of the better teams in the conference, by a 24-19 margin. However, outside of that victory, it has been one loss after another for this squad, which comes into this contest with a two-game skid. The most recent loss was a lopsided 42-23 decision against Maryland.
As for the Eagles, they have been able to turn their season around when most people had written them off. Boston College suffered through an embarrassing five-game slide, which left the team winless in conference action after four games. However, the Eagles stayed the course and since that skid have won three straight games to even their overall ledger at 5-5. None of the three wins have been easy, as BC just narrowly defeated Duke this past weekend, 21-16, on the road. Nonetheless a win is a win, and with one more the Eagles will be bowl eligible.
The Eagles have a great chance of grabbing that sixth victory because they take on a Virginia squad that they have enjoyed success against throughout the years. Boston College has won all four matchups against the Cavs, including a 14-10 decision this past season.
The Cavaliers went into halftime this past weekend against Maryland down 21-20, but the second half saw Virginia's offense fall apart, as the Cavs suffered a 19-point setback. The majority of the success for this offense came through the air, as Marc Verica threw one of the team's two touchdown passes and finished with 265 yards. However, the signal caller made a couple mistakes that hurt Virginia in the long run. If Virginia was going to enjoy any success in this matchup it had to come from the passing attack, because the Terrapins shut down Virginia's ground game, holding the Cavs to just 92 yards on 3.2 yards per attempt. Usually it is the rushing attack that carries this offense, as the Cavaliers are averaging 147.7 ypg on the ground. Keith Payne, who has scored 14 of the team's 16 rushing TDs, has been the main option, rumbling for 741 yards, while Perry Jones has given this offense a boost with 568 yards.
The offense put forth one solid half against Maryland this past weekend, which is more than could be said about the defense, which looked lost throughout all four quarters. Virginia only allowed 136 rushing yards, which isn't horrible considering Maryland tallied just 3.8 yards per attempt. However, four of Maryland's TDs came via the run, showing that Virginia struggled against the Terps' rushing attack when it mattered most. Adding on to the problems for Virginia was the play in the secondary, as the defensive backfield for coach Mike London was torched for 289 yards. Virginia's inability to stop the run was not surprising, because opponents' rushing attacks have been a thorn in the side of Virginia's defense all season, racking up 202.5 ypg. However, because of that coach London cannot afford to see his secondary begin to show weaknesses, or else this unit will have a hard time stopping any offense.
It wasn't pretty, but the Eagles were able to claim their third straight win with a slim, 21-16 decision over Duke this past Saturday. Chase Rettig missed a few easy passes, but all in all the young signal caller managed the game, and finished as the star of the contest, thanks to his 230 yards and two touchdowns. A nice complement to the passing attack was the ground game, which was consistent throughout the matchup. BC racked up 126 yards in the win, but the majority of that damage was done by Montel Harris who earned 109 of those yards on 23 carries, while also finding the end zone once. This type of performance by the ground game is imperative for Rettig, who is learning on the fly, while filling in for Dave Shinskie. However, even though the rushing attack is averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt, Harris has still managed to rush for 1,129 yards and seven touchdowns, which is a testament to how good he really is. If Harris can continue to take pressure off Rettig, the quarterback might be able to close out the year on a high note.
Boston College was not overwhelming offensively, but did just enough, while the defense did the rest to secure the victory. Even though Duke threw for 307 yards in the matchup, the Eagles were relentless throughout the game, and used its power up front to force two key fumbles and hold Duke to just four yards on 24 carries. Bottling up Duke on the ground however, is not surprising. Boston College is one of the top defense's in terms of defending the run and comes into this weekend holding teams to just 74.6 ypg on 2.5 yards per attempt. Overall this unit has done a commendable job, and has been the real reason why Boston College has won three straight games, because during this winning streak this unit has surrendered just 39 total points. The secret to success for this unit has been its ability to force turnovers, as the Eagles come into this weekend with an impressive 28 takeaways.
The Eagles have rode the play of their defense through this outstanding run, and should continue to do so this weekend against Virginia. The Cavaliers are weak offensively, and should find it tough to post many points against the surging Eagles.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 27, Virginia 13
Saturday, November 20th, 12:00 p.m. (et)