Mighty Eagles Look to Reign Over Duke

This Saturday, the Boston College Eagles (3-1) will head to Durham, North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils (3-1).

Already considered an underdog by many, the Eagles will look to use their rugged defense as an equalizer—or potential advantage—in stymieing Duke’s prolific offense.

Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation according to NCAA.com, the Eagles’ defense has allowed 472 yards in its four games this season for an average of 118.0 yards per game. To put that in perspective, the No. 2 defense in the nation, Michigan, has allowed 815 yards in its four games this season for an average of 203.8 yards per game.

Duke’s defense, ranked No. 10 in the nation, will also be a force to be reckoned with. Ranked No. 10 in the nation, Duke has allowed 1044 yards so far this season for an average of 261.0 yards per game.

While Duke’s defense hasn’t been as robust as Boston College’s statistically, it’s worth noting that Duke has already had to handle two ranked teams—No. 23 Northwestern and No. 20 Georgia Tech.

As for offense, Boston College has been inconsistent. For example, the Eagles put up a near all-time high number of points—76 to be precise—against the Howard Bison. A week later, the Eagles couldn’t conjure up a single point in a 0-14 loss shutout versus Florida State.

With a total of 1363 offensive yards, 924 of which were attained through rushing and 439 of which were attained through passing, the Eagles’ offense has seemed powerful in some games and anemic in others.

Duke, currently ranked No. 44 in total offense, has a total of 1791 yards on the season, 836 of which have been attained through rushing and 955 of which have been attained through passing. The Blue Devils’ offense, more well rounded than that of the Eagles, will look to keep the Eagles’ defense on its toes.

Without sophomore quarterback Darius Wade (ankle) and star sophomore running back Jon Hilliman (foot), the Eagles will look to junior running back Tyler Rouse, freshman quarterback Jeff Smith (if he plays over Troy Flutie) and junior running back Myles Willis to spark BC’s offense.

Additionally, the Boston College defense will have its hands full with Duke’s offensive stars, consisting of quarterback Thomas Sirk, senior running back Shaquille Powell, sophomore running back Shaun Wilson as well as junior wide receiver Johnell Barnes and senior wide receiver Max McCaffrey.

All statistics and numbers aside, Duke appears to be a clear favorite against Boston College. Both teams—though unranked—wield formidable records and have an abundance of talent. Don’t be surprised if there isn’t an upset; then again, don’t be surprised if there is one.

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Joe Castignetti