Let's get this out of the way first: Boston College is not the same team they were when Matt Ryan was the quarterback and Tom O'Brien was the coach. They're on their third head coach since then, former Pennsylvania Government Waste head man Steve Addazio. Their senior quarterback, Chase Rettig has never completed more than 54.2% of his passes, and was sacked more than three times a game last season, and he threw more than one interception per game. BC was also 115th in FCS in rushing yardage, averaging only 3.16 yards per carry. They also couldn't play defense, giving up more than 200 rushing yards a game, which was 111th in FBS. All of this amounted to the Eagles finishing 2-10 in 2012, and coach Frank Spaziani getting fired.
Now, of course BC is a BCS conference team with 22 more scholarship players than Villanova, so even if they are a bad BCS team, it should not be assumed that this game will be a cakewalk for the Wildcats. In fact, Villanova are more than two touchdown underdogs in this one.
Here are the keys to the game:
- Get into the backfield- Villanova's defensive line is arguably its greatest strength, with four year starters Rakim Cox and Antoine Lewis holding down the fort. I don't expect the Villanova defensive backs to have great success covering bigger receivers, so Villanova must get pressure on Rettig and contain the running game, because I'm pretty sure that Addazio is going to run try to run the ball early and often.
- Run, Run, Pass- Last season was Villanova's greatest rushing team in school history, with two 1,000 yard rushers in Kevin Monangai and John "Pinball" Robertson.
- Ball Protection- Villanova was generally good at this last season, but it's even more important in a game like this. If they don't force turnovers and prevent their own turnovers, their chances of winning go down substantially.
- Reassess after halftime- If Villanova is down by more than two touchdowns after their first possession of the second half, there is no sense in risking anything. Starters should be taken out. There's no sense in letting them get demoralized and possibly injured.