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Miami Hurricanes Game Preview: Boston College

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Miami travels to Chestnut Hill on Friday in a must-win game against Boston College.

Miami v Boston College Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Miami has had a two-week break since their catastrophic disaster at Virginia, where they were upset 16-13, and now face a must-win situation on Friday on the East Coast. For the first time since 2012, the Hurricanes and the Eagles of Boston College meet each other, this time in late-October with major ACC division implications on the line.

The Hurricanes currently sit at 5-2, with an ACC record of 2-1. Boston College owns the same record as Miami, also at 5-2 and a 2-1 conference record. Both teams currently are in third in their respected divisions in the ACC.

Miami has lost to LSU and Virginia, while the Eagles have suffered defeats at the hands of Purdue and NC State. Both teams were in the AP 25 at points this season, with Miami just dropping out after their Virginia loss, and Boston College appearing just for a week back in September before losing to Purdue.

ROSIER BACK AT QUARTERBACK FOR MIAMI:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Malik Rosier has once again been named the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes. The fifth-year senior took over for redshirt-freshman N’Kosi Perry during the Virginia game once Perry started struggling and throwing interceptions. Rosier went 12-for-23 against the Cavaliers for 170 yards, one interception and no touchdowns.

Rosier last started against FIU back on September 22nd, then was replaced for Perry. Though he has a 14-4 record as a starter for Miami, he has been looked at more negatively for his 52 percent completion rate in 2018 and inconsistent play.

Rosier’s finest start of this season came against Toledo, when the Mobile native went 13-for-23 through the air for 205 yards, two touchdowns and also ran for three touchdowns and 80 yards in a 49-24 Miami victory.

MUST-WIN SITUATION FOR MARK RICHT AND CANES:

After winning five straight games following an opening-weekend loss to LSU, the Hurricanes were upset in Virginia, and now face the very real possibility of failing to repeat as ACC Coastal division champions.

If (when) the Canes win on Friday, it would give them a great shot at sneaking back into the AP 25, a renewed sense of confidence, and also a home game against Duke coming the next Saturday back in Hard Rock Stadium. Now, if the Hurricanes were to lose, then the 2018 season could very well be considered a failure. They’d be 5-3, would make it nearly impossibly to win the Coastal, more recruits may drop, and the fanbase would be even more enraged, though that’s hard to imagine.

So yes, absolutely this is a must-win game.

OFFENSIVE WOES FOR MIAMI:

In their worst offensive performance of the season last game against Virginia, Miami managed to score only 13 points, their lowest total of 2018. Some of that has to do with the play calling, quarterback play, the offensive line struggles and also the decline of the rushing attack, everyone is to blame.

Deejay Dallas had only 24 yards on 10 carries, Jeff Thomas registered just one catch for five yards, N’Kosi Perry plus Malik Rosier combined to throw three interceptions. Something has to change, and it has to happen on Friday. Travis Homer, Miami’s leading rusher, and tight-end Brevin Jordan, the Canes leader in receptions, are two players that could play a big role in a Canes victory.

In order to beat Boston College, Miami must produce points in the first half. In their last two games, the Hurricanes have scored just a combined 13 points. Also, the Hurricanes have failed to rush for over 200 yards in the previous two games. When they reach 200 yards on the ground, they’re 4-0, and score 51 points a game.

BOSTON COLLEGE OFFENSE:

This BC offense is one that is known for one player if we’re being honest, and that’s running back A.J. Dillon. Though he’s missed the last two games due to an injury, he will play against Miami, and is by far the most talented back the Canes defense has faced all season. In five games, Dillon has rushed for 652 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards a carry.

The Eagles also have a veteran and extremely physical offensive line, as well as Dillon’s backup Ben Glines, who filled in nicely for Dillon, and can make a difference on Friday.

At quarterback, Anthony Brown has played well for BC, coming back from an injury he suffered in 2017. Though completing just 58% of his passes, Brown has a 150.4 quarterback efficiency rating, throwing 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Boston College is undefeated playing in Chestnut Hill so far in 2018, and their offense is a large part of that success. At home, the Eagles are putting up 50 points a game.

BOSTON COLLEGE DEFENSE:

Defensively, the Eagles are led by their stud defensive ends, Wyatt Ray and Zach Allen. Ray leads the country in sacks with 8.5, while Allen has 11 TFLs and 13 combined sacks and hits. This BC defense also is near the tops in TFLs as a team, averaging eight a game.

The Eagles are tied with the Hurricanes for eighth in the country with 11 interceptions, so they know how to create turnovers. At cornerback, BC has Hamp Cheevers, who has four interceptions on the season and has returned one of them for a touchdown, and opposing quarterbacks have just a 20.3 passer rating on plays covered by Cheevers. Lukas Denis at safety is also someone to keep an eye on, snagging seven interceptions in 2017.

However, the defense, though talented, has been inconsistent at times. In a 28-23 loss against NC State, the Wolfpack shredded the Eagles for over 300 yards through the air and 225 yards rushing. Wake Forest was able to run for 298 yards playing BC, and Purdue quarterback David Blough completed 75% of his passes while facing the Eagles defense.

STATS TO KNOW:

  1. Miami’s defense is allowing 105.6 rushing yards a game (10th in NCAA) and 131.9 passing yards a game (2nd in NCAA). The Eagles are running the ball for 227 yards per game.
  2. The Canes are averaging 37.4 points per game, though 26.3 on the road and 29.3 in ACC play. BC’s offense averages 39.5 points per game, 50 at home and 34 in ACC play.

KEY MATCHUP:

  • Miami’s front-seven against the Boston College offensive line. The Hurricanes lead the country in TFLs, and Boston College has A.J. Dillon. If Miami is able to get in the backfield and eliminate the run game, there’s a very good chance the Canes win.

MIAMI KEYS TO VICTORY:

  1. SHUT DOWN A.J. DILLON.
  2. Consistent play from Malik Rosier. We’ve seen him conduct the Canes offense well, and we’ve also seen terrible performances.
  3. Just score points Miami. 13 points will not win you a conference game on the road. Don’t get behind like Virginia, score early and let the defense carry us to 6-2.

FINAL WORDS:

Not much more to say. Either the Canes pull it out on Friday night, or the season is pretty much over, 2018 is on the line.

GO CANES!