With the calendar soon flipping over to October, Boston College football is running out of opportunities to resurrect a season that appeared full of promise just a month ago. Having dropped three of its first four games, BC’s chances at its ninth bowl berth in 10 years hangs in the balance with Saturday’s clash against Louisville looming.
A victory on Saturday would be the Eagles’ first ACC win and a much-needed step toward bowl eligibility. The Cardinals, however, are just as desperate for a win, having gone winless in conference play as well.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, Oct. 1, 12:00 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 on WEEI 93.7 FM/850 AM.
Though BC has been fairly successful against Louisville in recent years, winning three of the teams’ last five contests, the Cardinals hold a slight 8–6 edge in the all-time series.
The Eagles struggled in their meeting with Louisville a season ago, falling to the Cardinals 28–14. Led by quarterback Dennis Grosel, starting in place of an injured Phil Jurkovec, BC’s offense sputtered. Louisville, meanwhile, gashed the Eagles’ defense on the ground, as quarterback Malik Cunningham piled up 133 yards and three touchdowns with his legs.
What to expect from Louisville:
Louisville boasts one of the more explosive weapons the Eagles will face all season in dual-threat quarterback Cunningham. Along with 782 passing yards so far this season, Cunningham is also the team’s leading rusher with six rushing touchdowns on the season—twice as many touchdowns as BC has scored on the ground as a team.
The Cardinals’ ground game has excelled all season, and Louisville is ranked as the ACC’s second-best rushing offense.
Despite his electrifying potential, Cunningham has struggled at times through the air, particularly in Louisville’s season opener at Syracuse. Facing an experienced BC secondary, the Cardinals will look to sharpen their aerial attack.
After transferring from Central Arkansas, wide receiver Tyler Hudson has immediately established himself as Cunnigham’s top target, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards.
Senior wideout Jaelin Carter also turned heads last weekend, reeling in an acrobatic touchdown grab against South Florida.
Despite a shaky start to its season, Louisville’s defense is coming off a dominant effort one week ago. The Cardinals held South Florida to 48 yards on 35 rushing attempts. Its pass defense fared similarly well, limiting the Bulls to 110 total passing yards.
Louisville’s defense will look to continue its turnaround against a BC team that has struggled offensively through its first four games. As BC trots out one of the nation’s most vulnerable offensive lines, expect unrelenting pressure from a defense that has recorded the second-most sacks in the conference.
YaYa Diaby will be a name to keep in mind on Saturday. The senior defensive end leads the team in sacks and will be the focal point of Louisville’s front four.
Saturday’s contest will come down to the battle in the trenches. Critical for BC will again be the play of its offensive line—a unit that has limped through the season’s first month. Jurkovec has faced more pressure than any other quarterback in the FBS—an especially alarming statistic when playing a blitz-heavy team like Louisville.
The Eagles’ defensive line—down senior defensive end Shitta Sillah for the rest of the season—faces a challenge unlike any it has faced thus far in keeping Cunningham contained in the pocket.
BC will need to take advantage of a turnover-prone Louisville offense in order to get back into the win column.