Boston College has its share of offensive firepower

By Anthony Andro

The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl will give the Boston College Eagles a chance to show they can play a little offense of their own.

Boston College (7-5) averaged 404 yards a game this season, good enough for 48th in the country. But the Eagles were able to make the most of those yards by averaging 32 points a game, good enough for 42nd in the country.

While those numbers don’t match up statistically to their foe in Boise State (10-2), a deeper look shows really how good the Eagles are. Boston College put up those numbers against eight teams that made bowl games. Two of those teams – Miami and Clemson - entered the bowl season ranked in the top four in total defense nationally. Miami is No. 2 and Boston College beat the Hurricanes 27-14 and piled up 433 yards in that game.

The Eagles did all that with star running back A.J. Dillon nursing a high ankle sprain throughout the season. That didn’t keep him from rushing for more than 1,000 yards despite not playing in two games. And he’ll have a month since the regular-season finale to heal up for the matchup against the Broncos.

While the Broncos will present a tough test for the BC offense, it’s a challenge the Eagles are looking forward to.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, and we’re really looking forward to it,” Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said. “Our goal here is we’re pretty good running the football. We have an outstanding set of backs. We’re looking forward to getting A.J. back to full strength. That’s something we’re looking for here.”

The Eagles have three other backs who have each rushed for 200 yards this season, helping ease the burden for the loss of Dillon. That deep core helped the Eagles rank 25th nationally in rushing offense.

Boston College doesn’t just run the ball. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Brown has thrown for more than 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Like Dillon, he’s in his second full season as a starter.

The offense was good enough that offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was hired by Bowling Green at the end of the November to be that team’s head coach.

Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin knows his defense will have its work cut out for it.

“I know of Dillon, I got a chance to see his highlights,” Harsin said. “I know he’s a really good player. We’ll get a chance to watch Dillon and start studying and figuring out how we’ll slow him down a little bit. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”

As good as the Eagles are offensively, they know they have to find a way to keep Boise State off the field to take advantage of it. The Eagles are allowing more than 400 yards a game and will have their hands full trying to slow down the duo of running back Alexander Mattison and quarterback Brett Rypien.

If it can do that, then its offense will have a chance to shine.

“We’re facing a terrific opponent,” Addazio said. “We know how big a challenge it will be to face the Broncos. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. They have a very strong offense and a very strong defense.

“Boise has a tremendous running back and a tremendous running game. They also have a terrific quarterback who has a tremendous completion percentage. You can get a lot done in the run game and the throw game with that combination.”