Our Cardinals have won 3 straight, have secured another Bowl trip and are ranked 7th in the first College Football Playoff Poll. I’d say things are going pretty well. They will now head to the Northeast to face Boston College. The Cardinals lead the series between these teams 5-3 and have won the last three match-ups. They are heavy favorites again this week but there is an old foe and a really good defense who would love nothing more than to ruin the Cardinals day on Saturday.
Boston College just broke a 12 game ACC losing streak last week with a victory over NC State and they are going to be feeling pretty good about themselves Saturday afternoon. There is one guy on their team in particular who has been waiting for the Cardinals to come to town all season. Former embattled Kentucky QB Patrick Towles has found refuge at Chestnut Hills and for him this game is a chance at redemption for the losses he took against his Bluegrass Rival.
Towles grew up in Kentucky and was a very good high school QB. I always thought he was a gamer when he played for the Wildcats but he never seemed to gain the support or confidence of their fans or his coach. So far this year, Towles is 88-of-107 with 1147 yards and a 7:5 TD: INT ratio for Boston College. He is a QB that will run the ball and has rushed for 268 yards with 4 touchdowns this season. He is the team’s second leading rusher.
Boston College has a pretty balanced offensive attack with 1,241 yards through the air and 1,361 yards on the ground this season. They do slightly favor the run. Coach Steve Addazio has already made mention of a grind it out day so I’d say that we will see a heavy dose of their leading rusher RB Jon Hillman who has 411 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season and RB Davon Jones who has 290 yards and 1 touchdown on the season. WR Jeff Smith will also run out of the backfield. He had five carries for 70 yard and a touchdown in their win against NC State. Towles will also sling the ball down the field to Smith who is his leading receiver with 284 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Looking to stop the BC offensive attack is a Louisville defense that is ranked 16th nationally against the run and 11th overall. Defensively, the Cards held Virginia to 322 yards of total offense and just 84 yards on the ground to remain in the top 20 in total defense and rushing defense. CB Jaire Alexander has emerged as a big spark to the Cardinal’s defensive attack and is second nationally with five picks through eight games. Devonte Fields is still looking for the numbers he produced last season but has been slowed by nagging injuries. Facing a rushing offense this would be a good game for him to return to form.
This will be a game that will feature one of the best offenses in the country against one of the better defenses. So far this season for Louisville, Heisman leading Lamar Jackson is 158-of-271 for 2522 yards and 22 touchdowns, and is also tops in the running game with 147 carries for 996 yards and 16 more scores. Staples is the leading receiver for the Cardinals this year, bagging 29 catches for 546 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Addazio has rebuilt the BC program on the fundamentals of good defense. His team boasts a top 5 defense against the run and is ranked #8 nationally in total defense. Boston College will feature all-league contenders at each level, headlined by DE Harold Landry (29 tackles, 9 sacks), linebackers Matt Milano (44 tackles, 5 sacks) and Connor Strachan (36 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and S John Johnson (47 tackles) and CB Kamrin Moore (19 tackles).
Reviews say that Alumni Stadium at Chestnut Hill offers legitimate college football to the New England area. From the upper deck you can get a view of BC’s Gothic architecture looming just up the hill from the stadium and Boston College will try to go medieval on the Cardinals on Saturday. They have a hungry defense and a QB with revenge on his mind. The Cardinals will have to prove again to the country on Saturday that they belong in the playoff conversation. A big win would show that and put the Cardinals in good shape heading into the final month of their schedule. I think we will see another good ACC battle… Go Cards!