Sports, Football, Fall

Preview: Eagles Look to Assert Dominance With Win Over Virginia Tech

Boston College football not only walked away from the JMA Wireless Dome with a win last Friday night, but the Eagles also left Syracuse, N.Y. with bowl eligibility.

None other than sophomore transfer quarterback Thomas Castellanos has energized BC’s fanbase this season. Games have become appointment television, as seven of the Eagles’ nine contests have ended within seven points with several thrilling finishes. With postseason play in hand now, BC turns its attention to finishing strong in ACC play, with a path to the ACC Championship still a possibility.

Returning to the Heights, BC will face its next challenge in the form of a Virginia Tech squad led by second-year head coach Brent Pry. The Hokies enter the contest fresh off a 34–3 loss at Louisville. BC head coach Jeff Hafley’s squad, meanwhile, is the winner of five straight games and is looking to extend its winning streak in front of Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Who is BC Playing?

Virginia Tech

When is BC Playing?

Saturday, Nov. 11, 12 p.m.

Where is BC Playing?

Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How To Watch?

The game will air on the ACC Network and on BC Sports Network from Learfield on WEEI 93.7FM/850 AM.

Series History:

The Hokies have had BC’s number historically, leading the all-time series 20–11. Virginia Tech also leads BC in ACC regular season games 10–8, as both programs were previously in the Big East together from 1991–2003.

BC lost last year’s matchup to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., 27–10.

What To Expect From Virginia Tech’s Offense:

In some ways, the Hokies’ offensive story this season has been similar to BC’s, with an in-season change at quarterback providing a spark. Since replacing senior Grant Wells in Week Three, sophomore Kyron Drones out of Pearland, Texas, has led Virginia Tech’s offense.

Drones has been effective, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt while completing passes at a 58.5 percent clip for seven touchdowns to two interceptions. He has also been used heavily in the running game, tallying 406 yards on 110 carries for four touchdowns.

But Drones struggled mightily last week at Louisville, taking four sacks while accumulating just 69 yards passing on 12 completions. He also threw an interception in the loss.

In the passing game, Drones is complemented by a balanced receiving corps, with five players hauling in at least 200 yards this season: Jaylin Lane, Da’Quan Felton, Stephen Gosnell, Bhayshul Tuten and Dae’Quan Wright. Lane, Felton, and Gosnell each average right around 14 yards per catch. Virginia Tech likes to take a lot of shots down field, something BC’s rapidly improving secondary—which includes leader Elijah Jones—will look to counter.

On the ground, the Hokies have been less effective, averaging just four yards per carry for a total of 1,368 yards. Tuten is the lead back for the Hokies and has run for 535 yards and four touchdowns on 121 carries this season. The Eagles’ front seven seems capable of containing Virginia Tech’s run game, which will put even more pressure on the back end of BC’s defense if the Hokies rely on the passing game for most of their offense.

One bright spot for Virginia Tech offensively is its kicking game. Freshman kicker John Love is a perfect 22 for 22 on point-after attempts and 16 for 18 on field goals, with a long of 44 yards.

What To Expect From Virginia Tech’s Defense:

Virginia Tech has been solid defensively so far this season, with defensive coordinator Chris Marve in his second season leading the unit. The Hokies have allowed just 159.6 rushing and 163.78 passing yards per game, slightly edging out BC’s figures of 169.4 and 181.67 yards, respectively.

The Hokies’ front seven has been elite, totaling 31 sacks, which lead the ACC. Linebackers Keli Lawson and Alan Tisdale lead the unit. Lawson has contributed everywhere, leading the team with 70 tackles while also adding 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. Tisdale has registered 49 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

On the defensive line, junior Antwaun Powell-Ryland has recorded nine sacks to go along with three forced fumbles and 31 tackles. Controlling the 6-foot-3 junior will be a key focus for BC’s offensive line. The Hokies’ secondary, meanwhile, has been a consistent unit all season, giving up just 10 touchdowns in the air.


All the momentum is behind the Eagles in this matchup, but like most ACC matchups for BC this season, all signs point to another tight game. While the Eagles will likely have the edge in trenches, they will face another strong test defensively, especially in the secondary. Containing the Hokies’ offense and getting off the field on third down will be the defensive keys for BC.

A BC victory will require the Eagles to effectively control the line of scrimmage on offense and both open up holes for the running game and contain the pass rush for Castellanos to thrive. Running backs Kye Robichaux and Alex Broome’s statuses are still up in the air, but according to Hafley, it is looking like the duo will suit up on Saturday with BC looking to claim its sixth straight win.

November 10, 2023