BTP: When we spoke over the summer, you mentioned you had some concerns going into the season about the defensive line. Now that we’re at week six, do you still have those same concerns?
AJ: Yup. BC got gashed on the ground in two out of their last three games, letting Cade Carney of Wake Forest run for 116 yards, and last week Ryquell Armstrong of Temple run for 171 yards and two touchdowns. They have made plays at points, but the interior defense certainly has been inconsistent this year and is definitely a worry moving forward
BTP: What’s the status of AJ Dillon’s ankle? Will he be able to play Saturday, and if not, how does that impact BC’s offense?
AJ: Not sure as of this writing. On Monday Steve Addazio held his weekly press conference and didn’t give any updates on the injury. Ankle injuries are tricky, maybe he will have an update on the conference call on Wednesday. If he doesn’t play that is a huge blow for the Eagles as clearly the offense is based around him, Ben Glines a converted wide receiver had an excellent game against Temple, and would have to step in, but he is a huge step down from Dillon.
BTP: NC State has one of the deepest receiving corps in the country, and with Ryan Finley at QB it makes for a dynamic combination. What will BC look to do to contain the Wolfpack offense?
AJ: Pray? I am really worried about BC’s secondary against NC State as they have really struggled the past three weeks. Last week against Temple, Anthony Russo hit some big deep balls, which had no business hitting because well, he isn’t that good. Ryan Finley is easily the best quarterback they have faced, and if he hits his spots he is going to have a field day. The key matchup will be R-FR Brandon Sebastian who has been beaten up the past few weeks. If he struggles, I imagine that will be a matchup that Finley will exploit.
BTP: Where do you see a weakness on NC State, and how will BC look to exploit that?
AJ: Their defense hasn’t been shown to be weak this year, but I look to BC trying to pound the ball against NC State. Last year the Eagles, without Anthony Brown who was injured halfway through the game, were able to run the ball pretty effectively. NC State really hasn’t faced a strong running attack yet, so it will be interesting to see how they react to the Eagles (of course this is all pending Dillon’s recovery and health status)
BTP: Boston College has a brutal five game stretch coming up. What are fans’ expectations for the rest of the season?
AJ: Honestly? We don’t know. BC sits a 4-1, which should be exciting for our fans. But we have now seen BC hit a stretch where they have played really sloppy football. Special teams have been an unmitigated disaster, with BC giving up points on blocked punts, dropped punts and fumbles, and the offense has turned stagnant (which is weird to say after scoring 45 points last week). I think this is a huge week for Boston College, and fans are very nervous that things could be turning south soon.
BTP: Let’s get a prediction. Who leaves Raleigh with a win on Saturday?
AJ: I think Ryan Finley is going to be too much to handle for the Eagles secondary. I see NC State scoring points and BC struggling. Depending on AJ Dillon’s availability I’ll say with him they lose 35-24, and if he is out they lose 42-17.