Now in its fifth year of existence, the Red Bandana Game has become a staple of the Boston College football season. With the vast variability of college football scheduling, students can always look ahead to that Friday night game that honors “the Man in the Red Bandana,” Welles Remy Crowther. Last season, the game resulted in a dominating Eagles win over Florida State. Students triumphantly stormed the field of Alumni Stadium, celebrating BC’s first ACC home victory in three years. With just two home games left for most students—Syracuse will visit over Thanksgiving Break—a win on Friday night could warrant another victorious raid of the turf.
The opponent for this edition of the Red Bandana Game is Miami (5-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast), who, like BC (5-2, 2-1), is coming off a bye week. Before that, the Hurricanes surprisingly dropped a road game to Virginia and fell out of the AP Top 25. The Eagles have used their bye week to get healthy, especially star running back A.J. Dillon. After missing the last two games, Dillon will be ready to go for Friday night’s contest.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Friday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to Watch:
This game will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) BC has put up at least 38 points in all five of its wins this season. The up-tempo rushing attack has put the Eagles in great position to keep scoring when they have the lead. It’s been situations where they’ve faced a deficit that have caused them to stray from the rush—and in those cases, quarterback Anthony Brown has been confronted with a great deal of pressure.
2) During Dillon’s absence, Ben Glines and David Bailey filled the void in the backfield, as both notched 100-yard rushing games two weeks ago against Louisville. Glines has quietly rushed for 317 yards in his last three games. Head coach Steve Addazio didn’t shy away from his power running scheme just because his starting running back was sidelined, and Glines and Bailey showed that they can be valuable pieces to spell Dillon’s workload as the season progresses.
3) The Eagles’ defense has picked off 11 passes this season, compared to just four thrown from Brown. The 11 interceptions are good for second in the conference, and cornerback Hamp Cheevers is leading the charge for this ball-hawking secondary with four picks.
1) The Hurricanes sit tied atop the conference with 25 sacks. Leading the way for the defensive line is Jonathan Garvin with five sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss. The battle in the trenches will be one of respective strengths for these teams: BC’s offensive line and Miami’s defensive line.
2) The Miami rushing attack has modeled that of a three-headed monster with Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, and the combination of quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry amassing at least 64 carries each. Both Homer and Dallas are averaging 5.8 yards per carry, so BC won’t be able to focus on just one ball carrier in this matchup.
3) Miami is second in the conference in scoring defense, averaging just over 18 points allowed per game. The famous “turnover chain” has had a lot to do with this. The Hurricanes defense has forced 17 turnovers this season, which they have used to turn defense into quick offense.
Despite both playing in the ACC, the teams haven’t met since 2012, primarily due to their divisional ties. Six years ago, BC hosted Miami to open the season and fell, 41-32, in a back-and-forth shootout. Chase Rettig threw for 441 yards in the losing effort while former New York Giants running back Andre Williams was held to 49 yards on the ground. It was the beginning to a dismal 2-10 season for the Eagles, followed by an offseason that led to the hire of Addazio.
Both teams are coming off an extra week of rest, so they should each be fresh and well-prepared. The offensive X-factor for the Eagles should be Dillon. Having him in the lineup affects the defensive gameplan, as Miami may be forced to stack the box against the run. Brown must protect the football and show that he can once again deliver a clutch performance with all eyes on him in a nationally televised game under the lights, just like he did at Wake Forest earlier this year. While a strong rushing attack would limit the responsibilities of Brown, he will have to be accurate on play-action and on third down to move the chains against this talented Hurricanes defense.
The key for BC’s defense is the line. Malik Rosier is a far-from-perfect pocket passer, so the Eagles could look to keep him inside the hashes. When he gets outside the pocket, he makes his fair share of big plays. The secondary will attempt to keep everything in front of it to prevent receivers from getting over the top, but a strong pass rush can limit the Hurricanes’ options on offense. Stopping the run on early downs will also be crucial, as creating third-and-longs will force Miami to turn to the pass, the weaker dimension of its offense.
A win on Friday night would make the Eagles bowl eligible and keep their momentum rolling, as brutal games against Virginia Tech and Clemson await in the next few weeks. The red bandanas will be in full force—time will if tell if the Eagles can say the same.
Featured Image by Steve Helber / AP Photo