Ahead of its primetime contest against a winless Maine, Boston College football’s season is teetering on the edge of disaster. For just the fourth time in the last three decades—and the first time since 2011—the Eagles have dropped their two first games.
Saturday night’s matchup against the Black Bears could not have arrived at a better time for BC, however, as ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Eagles a 96.4 percent chance of victory—a perfect opportunity for BC to grab a sorely needed win and prevent an 0–3 start.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to watch:
The game will air on NESN and BC Sports Network on WEEI 93.7 FM/850 AM.
Playing in different NCAA subdivisions, BC and Maine rarely meet, though Maine has been the Eagles’ most common FCS opponent since 1985.
Of the nine games the two programs have played, the Eagles have won the last six, with the most recent victory coming in BC’s 2015 season opener. The Eagles cruised to a 24–3 win in that contest.
What to expect from Maine:
Experience is a strength of Maine’s squad, which returned eight starters on offense this year.
For the fourth straight year, quarterback Joe Fagnano will lead the Black Bears’ offense. While Fagnano is not the most explosive quarterback—the senior has averaged 5.2 yards per completion this year—he generally limits mistakes, having only thrown one interception in his last 137 attempts.
Fagnano will look to his top target, tight end Shawn Bowman, to spark the offense. A week ago against Colgate, Bowman racked up a career-high 73 yards on five catches.
Maine’s run game hasn’t fared especially well thus far this season. The Black Bears rushed for only 22 yards on 20 attempts in their season opener at New Mexico but improved to 116 yards on 38 carries against Colgate.
The Black Bears’ defense got off to a rocky start this season, giving up 41 points to New Mexico in Week One.
Although Miane lost to Colgate a week later, Maine’s pass defense looked much improved, holding the Raiders to only 62 yards through the air. Maine’s defense held strong on third down last week—a trend to keep in mind against an Eagles’ offense that has only mustered six third-down conversions this season.
Linebackers Adrian Otero and Brian Lee Jr., a pair of seniors who lead the team in tackles, anchor the Black Bears’ defense.
BC’s offensive line will again be the focal point of Saturday’s game. Down a starting lineman to injury, the unit’s struggles continued last week against Virginia Tech, and the group gave up five sacks. If Maine can generate consistent pressure against the Eagles’ vulnerable offensive line, expect another unsteady performance from quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
Stronger offensive line play will also be crucial in establishing a constant rushing attack. Despite returning a 1,000-yard rusher in Pat Garwo III, the Eagles’ ground game is ranked the nation’s worst, as BC is one of three offenses in the country that has yet to score a rushing touchdown.
If the Eagles’ offense can control the ball, BC’s defense will be in prime position to stop Maine and secure a victory. Though BC’s run defense has struggled at times this season, a weak Maine running game will put much of the offensive responsibility on Fagnano—playing right into the hands of an Eagles’ secondary that has held teams to an ACC-best 125 passing yards per game.
BC will look to win the turnover battle against Maine, something it failed to do in both of its losses.