Miami and Boston College are set to square-off Friday night in Chestnut Hill, and for the Eagles, they received great news recently. For BC, their best player, running back A.J. Dillon practiced on Tuesday, and expects to suit up against the Hurricanes in a must-win game for Miami.
Heeeeee's BAAAACKKKKK: AJ Dillon Returns To Practice, Set To Play Friday Against Miami https://t.co/GDMznrCrGd— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) October 23, 2018
Dillon has missed the last two games for Boston College due to an ankle roll, but had been ripping the Eagles opposing defenses to shreds prior to being sidelined.
Before injuring his ankle on Sep. 29th, Dillon had rushed for 652 yards and six touchdowns, leading the ACC. In those five games, Dillon was averaging 6.2 yards per carry, and had three games where he rushed for over 140 yards.
Now, its no secret that the Hurricanes main goal on defense Friday night is to stop Dillon. At quarterback, the Eagles Anthony Brown has played well enough to help guide BC to a record of 5-2, but still is only completing 58% of his throws, and averaging under 200 yards a game.
Also, don’t expect Boston College, or Miami either for that matter to throw the ball too much, with the high temperature at Alumni Stadium projected only at 51 degrees.
There was one game so far in 2018 where Dillon struggled, and that came in a 30-13 loss to Purdue. For the first time all season, Dillon was well contained, chalking up just 59 yards on 19 carries. What Purdue did well in that game was stacking the box, as well as forcing Dillon to bounce runs to the outside instead of up the middle, and Miami has tremendous speed at all positions on the defense.
#23 BC lost on the road at previously-winless Purdue 30-13, dropping from the rankings entirely (not even garnering a single vote). QB Anthony Brown threw for only 96 yards and 4 INTs on the day with one TD. RB AJ Dillon was contained for the first time, 19/59/0 his numbers— #FightMassachusetts (@FightMA247) September 25, 2018
To make matters even more interesting, Purdue has nowhere near the run defense that the Canes have. Not only is Miami top 10 against the run, but they’re also ranked first in the country for both tackles for loss as well as opponents yards per play.
Against the run, Manny Diaz’s defense has been lethal, ranking 10th in the nation allowing only 105.6 rushing yards a game. That being said, Miami hasn’t faced a team that’s ranked within the top 40 in the country when it comes to running the ball.
Miami leads the Power-5 teams with 68 tackles for either a loss or no gain against the run pic.twitter.com/8pRXgNe0jV— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 19, 2018
The best rushing team that the Hurricanes have faced so far in 2018 was Toledo, who currently sits at 42nd in the nation running the football, and Miami held their leading rusher to under 50 yards.
Against Cam Akers, who is a premiere back in the ACC, the Hurricanes were all over the FSU playmaker. Though Dillon has about 35 pounds on Akers, they both like to run up the middle as opposed to the outside, especially Dillon, with his 245 pound frame. Against the Seminoles, Miami’s defense was able to crowd and stuff the middle for Akers.
Nobody is really expecting offensive fireworks from the Hurricanes, so either Miami’s defense shuts up Dillon on the ground and they stay alive in the ACC Coastal race, or the Canes fall to an unthinkable record of 5-3.