Boston College Eagles (3-1 SU, 1-3-1 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, October 3rd, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium
by Mike M., NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BC +6.5 / Duke -6.5
Over/Under Total: 39.5
The Boston College Eagles head to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils in an ACC showdown of teams looking to build upon their early season success.
>BC enters the game with a 3-1 record after two hollow wins to start the year against FCS schools Maine and Howard followed by a shutout loss at home against Florida and a 17-14 victory in Chestnut Hill last weekend against Northern Illinois. The Eagles started the year with only ten returning starters and have suffered a rash of injuries over the past month, mostly recently against NIU when they lost leading rusher Jon Hillman indefinitely with a broken foot. Along with Hillman they have lost their starting center, top two tight ends and most importantly their starting quarterback Darius Wade, who is gone for the season thanks to a broken ankle he suffered in the loss Florida State.
In his third year as the Eagles head coach Steve Addazio has gained a well-earned reputation for getting the most out his players and emphasizing the running game as the focal point of the offense. His talents will surely be put to the test with the injuries to Hillman and Wade as the team now has to rely on two inexperienced players to fill their void, junior running back Tyler Rouse and true freshman quarterback Troy Flutie, nephew of former Boston College and CFL star Doug Flutie. Rouse has rushed for 160 yards and five touchdowns to start the year, but its difficult to gage his expectations against quality teams as all of his touchdowns and 158 of his yards were against Maine and Howard. Flutie played well enough for the team to get past Northern Illinois, completing 5 of 11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown along with one interception but will be facing a significantly more difficult task this weekend having to start his first road game against a strong Blue Devil defense.
Duke began the year similar to Boston College with wins against cupcake teams (Tulane and NC Central), a loss in week three (Northwestern) followed by a win last week, which was a big one as they beat Georgia Tech 34-20 as a touchdown+ underdog. Junior quarterback Thomas Sirk has stepped up well after the loss of All-ACC quarterback Anthony Boone to graduation, throwing for 868 yards and six touchdowns along with running for 267 yards and two more scores. Sirk hopes to keep it going with a wide receiver duo he has developed a quick rapport with, senior wide receiver Max McCaffrey, the son of former Denver Bronco wide receiver Easy Ed McCaffrey and brother of current Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey, and fellow junior Johnell Barnes, who is suspended for the first half of this weeks game after being called for targeting in the fourth quarter against Georgia Tech for a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit in the fourth quarter.
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Blue Devil strong safety Jeremy Cash leads the defense in Durham and was named the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Yellow Jackets when he tallied 12 tackles, two forced fumbles, four quarterback hurries, a sack and four tackles for loss. Much like Notre Dame in the previous week Duke was able to shutdown Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas, limiting him to only six completions on twenty-one pass attempts and a meager 2.4 yards per carry on 24 rushes and the team hope to duplicate that effort this week against an inexperienced and banged up Boston College offense.
Points are expected to be at a premium in this weeks Duke vs. BC matchup, clearly evident by the over under currently listed at 39.5, the lowest amount of any college or pro game on the docket this weekend. With both teams ranked in the top ten in total defense and the top seven in points allowed, its easy to see why the experts made the point total so low. The under has hit in Dukes last four games and ten of their last twelve ACC games and BC is in a similar boat, with five of their last seven games going under and only two of their last nine conference games going over the expected total.
While its clear both teams have defensive prowess the offenses are a different story, as Dukes ranks 44th in the country while Boston College is at mere 114th and just lost their most prolific offensive player with last weeks injury to Hillman. Wallace Wade Stadium may not inspire the same amount of fear as playing at Cameron Indoor, but for a freshman quarterback making his first road start it will certainly not make things easy, especially with the plethora of injuries to a BC offense already lacking in playmakers. In what should be a low scoring game, Thomas Sirk and the Duke Blue Devils will put up enough points to win and cover at home.
Mikes Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Duke -6.5
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