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Boston College Beat NIU Last Saturday But Lost Their Top Runningback In The Process

The Boston College Eagles won Saturday, beating NIU 17-14, but they lost their top runningback Jon Hilliman for the season, who suffered an ankle injury against the Huskies. Will the Eagles be able to move the ball with their decimated offense against a potent Duke defense this week?

The Boston College Eagles won their third game in four tries last Saturday when they defeated Northern Illinois at home 17-14.

The Eagle’s offense rushed for 234 yards. There was a total of eight explosive plays resulting in a huge gain of yards and Boston College had possession for 38 minutes.  There were a few miscues, which included a play action pass that left a receiver wide open and ended in an incomplete pass.  Addazio said in a press conference on Monday he wants the offense to become more consistent.  He attributes the inconsistency to the youth and the injuries of key players.

The Eagles' defense has been by far the strongest unit of the lot. The Eagles are best in the nation in yards per game, 118, and second in total points per game, 7.8. The Eagles have played two FCS oppenents, but held the Huskies to a mere 153 total yards. Boston College's defense was strongest on third and fourth down, as NIU only converted three of their 15 tries on those downs. The largely veteran unit has also been able to stay healthy, something the offense hasn't been able to do. 

 NIU's physical play took it's toll on the running attack as feature back Jon Hilliman had to undergo surgery on his foot this week. Myles Willis and Louis Addazio are also questionable for Saturday. The young offense has caught the injury bug, as so far this season the offense has lost their starting quarterback, their star running back, two starting tight ends, their starting center, and a potential starting wider receiver.

“That is why I give the kids a lot of credit," head coach Steve Addazio said in Monday's press conference. "The kids hung in there, found a way to win given all the adversity."

 Because of the offensive injuries, it is difficult for Addazio to create a game plan week to week with the same offensive unit.  It is hard to develop consistency when many players are injured but also when the Eagles are rotating two quarterbacks.  Addazio is planning on continuing to interchange the quarterbacks so they can both gain experience incase one of them gets injured.

Both quarterbacks, Jeff Smith and Troy Flutie, are expected to play this weekend but Addazio is planning on starting the redshirt freshman in Flutie.

 Duke, the Eagles next opponent, has started strong with a record of 3-1.  Duke’s defense will be a challenge for the undermanned Eagles offense. They are ranked 10th in total defense and 29th against the run and 14th against the pass.  Their strength is the secondary with three returning starters.

 Offensively, the Blue Devils are strong, intense, and physical.  With a junior quarterback who can run and throw, they will be hard to defend.  Duke has two running backs and two receivers they rely on.  Duke is averaging 209 yards rushing per game and 239 passing.

 "They are well coached," Addazio said. "They are sound. A good football team and we have got to go on the road and play them, which adds another element that will be a new and interesting element for our team, being that we have a lot of guys who have never played on the road. Those are all the factors going into this game."

 Look for the Eagles to continue to be physical and to fight hard for the win against Duke.  Each week the offense has improved and the trend is expected to continue. However, the  Eagles defense will be the key to keep the team in the game.


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