Breaking down Boston College

By Christopher Loggins

Football will face off against Boston College at noon on Saturday in Chestnut Hill, MA. Sports Editor Christopher Loggins breaks down the key players for the Eagles heading into the game.



After a season-ending ankle injury to starting quarterback Darius Wade, Boston College will more than likely use multiple quarterbacks heading into Saturday’s game against the Huskies. Competing for the starting position for the rest of the season will be freshman Jeff Smith and redshirt freshman Troy Flutie. Flutie has made appearances in three games thus far this year, throwing for 97 yards and a touchdown on 8-10 passing. In two games this season, Smith has rushed for three touchdowns on 97 yards. There is a chance both quarterbacks will be used throughout the game. Each quarterback brings different dimensions to the game. Flutie is a more of a standard in-the-pocket quarterback, whereas Smith is more of a read-option. Uncertainty at the position can be a big help to the Huskies.

Running back

Sophomore running back Jon Hilliman averaged 66.2 yards per game in 2014 as a freshman, running for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hilliman averaged more than 4 yards-per-carry, appearing in 13 games for the Eagles. He was named the ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year after ranking second in the ACC in touchdowns and creeping into the top 10 of Boston College’s freshman rushing ranks. Standing at 6 feet and 224 pounds, Hilliman will be a tough guy to stop for the Huskies. NIU did a great job defending the nation’s top running back in Ezekiel Elliott last week, making it hard to believe they wouldn’t also do a great job against Hilliman.

Wide receiver

Sophomore wide receivers Sherman Alston and Thaddius Smith will start the first and second receiver spots for the Eagles in Saturday’s game. In 2014, Smith played in just nine games and played only 36 snaps, but was able to squeak out a starting spot heading into this season. Alston played all over the field as a freshman, making apperances at receiver, running back and punt returner. He caught 16 balls for 175 yards and two touchdowns, ran the ball 34 times for 352 yards, and finished with 125 yards on punt returns. Alston averaged 50 all-purpose yards per game, doing enough to earn him a starting spot in 2015. Though slightly unproven, these will be players to watch for the Eagles as they look to get things going on the year.

Offensive line

The Eagles’ offensive line was crucial in the running game in 2014, helping the rushing attack rush for over 250 yards per game. The Eagles ran for more than 3000 yards and 31 touchdowns, averaging over five yards-per-carry. The team had six runners with over 200 rush yards, doing so on 635 attempts. The passing attack by Boston College was much less effective than the running game, throwing for only 129 yards per game and throwing for just 13 touchdowns. The team threw the ball a significant amount less than they ran, throwing only 243 times on the season versus 600 attempts on the ground. Eagles quarterbacks were sacked a total of 21 times, losing 153 yards in the process. The line looks to be a lot more efficient on run plays, and with starting quarterback Darius Wade out for the season, look for a heavy run attack by the Eagles.



Senior middle lineback Steven Daniels ranked second on the Eagles last season with 72 tackles, second only to safety Justin Simmons. In addition to his tackling, the 6-foot, 257 pound Daniels picked up a sack, an interception, a pass deflection, and two fumble recoveries on the year. Boston College’s defense allowed less than 95 yards on the ground per game, ranking second in the nation in defense. Daniels’ numbers were quite a drop from 2013, when he had 88 tackles and three sacks, but he was still a big factor on the Eagles’ defense. No matter the numbers, Daniels will be a player to watch over the middle of the field as the Huskies look to solve Boston College’s defense.


Junior safety Justin Simmons started all 13 games for the Eagles in 2014, both at safety and cornerback. Despite the changes, Simmons led the team in tackles for the season with 76 and interceptions with two. He picked his numbers up drastically from 2013, nearly doubling his tackling totals. Simmons also picked up five pass deflections and a sack on the year. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, Simmons is a sure threat in the secondary as he can be moved around the field at many different positions. He’s a ball-hawk who will surely be looking for a chance at a big play that can change the outcome of the game.

Defensive Line

Teams struggled to run the ball against the Eagles in 2014, and their defensive line can be credit for much of that. Opposing teams averaged just more than three yards on the ground last season, rushing for just more than 1200 yards and scoring only 14 touchdowns. While Boston College’s offensive rushing attack ran for over 250 yards-per-contest, opposing teams ran for only 94 yards a game, a 160 yard difference. The defense picked up 33 sacks on the year, with over 20 coming from the defensive line. Though not all of the defensive line has returned for the 2015 campaign, they still remain a solid group with a ton of potential. The Huskies may have trouble running the ball against a defensive unit that specializes in stopping the run.