Boston College football’s season opener against Rutgers brings a rare occurrence for the Eagles: a matchup with a Big Ten opponent. It’s the first time since a 24–17 loss to Northwestern in 2011 that BC will welcome a Big Ten opponent to Alumni Stadium to open the season. The two teams often battle for the same recruits from the Northeast region, which should add some tension as they begin their 2022 seasons.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, Sept. 3, 12 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to watch:
The game will air on ACC Network and BC Sports Network WEEI 93.7 FM/850 AM.
The Eagles hold a 20–6–1 record against the Scarlet Knights all time. An Anthony Brown–led BC team won the teams’ last meeting in 2019. Both teams joined the Big East in 1991, and they met regularly until BC left for the ACC in 2005. ESPN predicts Rutgers will finish the season with a 4–8 record.
What to expect from Rutgers:
The 2021 Scarlet Knights finished 11th in the Big Ten in total touchdowns and ninth in passing yards. They’ll be without No. 1 receiver Bo Melton, who graduated, and star running back Isiah Pacheco, who will be suiting up on Sundays for the Kansas City Chiefs. Expect Rutgers to rely on Pacheco’s replacement—sophomore Kyle Monangai—until its quarterback—who hasn’t yet been announced for Saturday’s game—can find a rhythm against the Eagles defense.
The offensive line is a work in progress for Rutgers. Among the five projected starters, three are transfers this season: Willie Tyler III from Louisiana Monroe, Curtis Dunlap Jr. from Minnesota, and JD DiRenzo from Sacred Heart. The lone lineman who has been a Scarlet Knight for his whole college career is sophomore Hollin Pierce.
The fifth starter is Ireland Brown, a recruit that BC and Rutgers fought over in the Northeast region. Originally from Jamaica, N.Y., Brown began his career in 2019 for the Eagles before transferring to Piscataway for the 2020 season. Brown originally played defensive tackle but switched to play on the offensive line during the 2021 season. He will start at center against BC on Saturday.
In contrast to its offensive uncertainty, Rutgers has more consistent and experienced players on the defensive side of the ball. The Scarlet Knights finished the season in the top half of the country in points allowed per game, a more impressive stat considering the Scarlet Knights play in a conference with offensive powerhouses Ohio State and Michigan State. Only one newcomer will start in Rutgers’ defensive unit.
The Scarlet Knights’ defense could force BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec and BC’s offense to settle for field goals. The Eagles’ run defense struggled last year, but as long as it can contain Rutgers’ quarterback—whoever it may be—in the pocket and force him to throw into its stronger pass defense, it can control the flow of the game.
Still, Rutgers is a Big Ten team, and it will be much tougher competition than the Eagles have faced to start the previous couple seasons—including the Eagles’ 51–0 blowout of Colgate in 2021.