Defensive Excellence is the Catalyst to Eagles' Early Season Success

Boston College’s defense has been practically impenetrable. In the first four games of this season, the stellar defense has allowed a combined total of 31 points against all opponents, with the highest amount of points allowed being 14 to both the top-tiered Florida State Seminoles and the highly praised Northern Illinois Huskies, who almost squeaked a win past Urban Meyer’s No.1 Ohio State Buckeyes just prior to facing the Eagles.

In total, according to ESPN, BC is No. 2  in the nation when it comes to points-against, allowing opponents to score an average of 7.8 points per game. While opposing teams clearly seem to be having a tough time crossing the plain against this mighty defense, it is really the total yards allowed by BC that proves to be the most staggering statistic through the first month of the season—a statistic that can be at least partially attributed to the superb performance of the defensive line.

The first four games of the season showcased the true talent of the defensive line, with players like Truman Gutapfel and Connor Wujciak holding down the front and stuffing any running back threatening to come into their territory.

Kristen Morse/ Gavel Media.

Kristen Morse / Gavel Media

The same goes for sophomore defensive ends Harold Landry and Kevin Kavalec, who have done excellent jobs sealing the outside to force rushers inside for the rest of the defense to feast on. It has been the excellent play of these particular players that has helped BC keep the total yardage allowed for opponents to a mere 472 on the season, with the highest being, not surprisingly, 211 yards allowed to Florida State, and the lowest coming from FCS opponent Howard, with only 11 yards of total offense.

The Eagles' secondary has also been doing an excellent job in picking up routes and providing tight coverage. Deep passes have not posed too much of a threat on the defensive side, as senior back Justin Simmons has continued to display his veteran abilities by playing his position to near perfection, picking up almost everything that has come his way. The only issue that has appeared for the secondary is its inability to read short in-patterns that have proved beneficial to some teams when passing for first downs. If the defense can equilibrate its ability to read long passes as it does short passes, BC's defense will continue to be one of the very best in the country.

Overall, this defense has proven to be the catalyst in getting the Boston College football team to 3-1. The only points that opponents have really been able to generate were due to major flukes on offense and special teams. The one major breakdown of the defense this season came in the opening drive of the Florida State game, in which the Seminoles stormed down the field and strung together a series of quick plays for 83 yards to bring them into the end zone. SuperFans watching the game were surely uneasy at the prospect of the Seminoles breaking through the Eagles' defense again. Yet, the team stood its ground, and that opening touchdown proved to be the only offensive score of the game. Perhaps most impressively, star running back and future NFL prospect Delvin Cook was held to only 54 yards on 15 carries.

Kristen Morse/ Gavel Media

Kristen Morse / Gavel Media

Ultimately, this may be among the best defenses in Boston College football history, and the best since the team's championship-caliber defense in 2007, which consisted of NFL players such as current Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J Raji and former New York Giants outside linebacker Mark Herzlich.

However, there are some things to consider. For starters, the Eagles' first two games were against FCS opponents considered to have weak programs. That alone obviously can skew BC’s defensive statistics in a way that looks favorable. Also, the fact that all games thus far were played at home could mean something for the defense’s success. Playing in a home environment boosts team morale, and it will be interesting to see how this team does on the road when the stadium majority is rooting for them to falter. Finally, as good as the Eagles' defense has been, the Eagles' offense has been equally as bad. If the offense is somehow able to safely possess the ball for extended periods of time, move the ball up the field, and score some points of its own, it will take serious pressure off the defense.

With all the said, the future looks bright for the mighty Eagles as the program furthers its season along. The team looks to continue stellar play against the Duke Blue Devils this Saturday in North Carolina.

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