Young and talented players will abound Saturday when Louisville (2-4, 1-2) hosts Boston College (3-4, 0-4) in an ACC battle. The Cardinals and Eagles have both struggled in conference, but both teams have many underclassmen making impacts on the field that should carry on and grow past the 2015 season.
The Eagles 85-man roster is about 75 percent underclassmen and have had to lean on a true freshman quarterback in Jeff Smith to take the reigns of the offense after their starting quarterback Darius Wade (a sophmore) broke his ankle earlier in the season. BC has also had to replace all five starting offensive linemen and are rotating four freshmen into the mix on a consistent basis and the receiving corp is almost exclusively freshmen or sophmores.
The Cardinals have playted nine true freshmen this season, five of which are starters, and have 64 underclassmen on their roster. One freshman who has stepped up is quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is 2-2 since becoming the starter. He also became the third freshman in Louisville football history to throw for 300 yards in a game. Three of the five starting offensive linemen are freshmen, as well as their tight end. Out of the 22 offensive and defensive starters, 18 are slated to return in 2016.
But in his weekly press conference, Eagles head coach Steve Addazio said that Louisville is "young like us, but I would say the thing that would be different, is that [Louisville] is a very explosive team on both sides of the ball."
The Cardinals and Eagles might have key contributors on both sides of the ball that lack much collegiate experience, but Saturday will help tell which team is closer to competing for an ACC championship.