Week Three: Who has the edge?

Northwestern and Boston College are set for battle on Saturday at Ryan Field. Entering the contest, the Wildcats are seeking improvements, despite their 2-0 record. Which team has the edge, the Wildcats or Golden Eagles?

Northwestern pulled off a major win last week against Vanderbilt, but the 'Cats have no time to reload as 2-0 Boston College heads to Evanston looking to avenge last year's close loss to NU. So who has the edge?

When NU has the ball...

Kain Colter is a known entity and Venric Mark continues to prove himself as a solid starter at the running back position. Mark racked up 123 yards and a pivotal touchdown against Vandy and is averaging just over 5 yards per carry. His speed is the same as always, but he's much improved running up the middle.

Meanwhile, BC showed that it is susceptible to the run against Miami in week one. The Eagles gave up 135 yards to freshman Duke Johnson, including two long touchdowns. If Mark can play well, the NU offense will be in great shape. Colter has continued to run well and Trevor Siemian has proven himself in the clutch. Once again, points won't be NU's problem.

Advantage: Northwestern

When BC has the ball...

BC quarterback Chase Rettig has a grey arm, and he proved it against Miami, throwing for 441 yards and two touchdowns. He burned the 'Cats for over 350 yards last year, and is a dangerous passer.

The NU defense stepped up in a huge way against Vanderbilt, holding the Commodores to just 13 points and coming up with several big plays when necessary. The secondary is still a question mark though, one big game won't change that just yet. NU's secondary will have to keep BC receivers in front of them and prevent big plays. That said, Rettig can tear up a secondary if he's on.

Advantage: Boston College

Special Teams...

NU has had solid special teams all season, highlighted by Mark's punt returns in week one. Jeff Budzien is 3-3 on the season with a long of 40, soothe kicking game, while mostly untested, has come up strong.

BC's kicker Nate Freese has been solid as well, with stats comparable to Budzien: 5-5 with a long of 39.

If Mark can make a big play, NU can steal a score or win the field position game.

Advantage: Northwestern (slight)


NU is riding high after two strong wins to open the season. Meanwhile, BC put in a solid effort at home against Miami in week one but came up short, then followed up by crushing Maine 34-3. NU may put together a big crowd again after a strong showing last week. Rettig has strong experience, however, and isn't likely to be fazed.

Northwestern takes the advantage because it's a home game, but don't expect BC to come out flat or tentative at all.

Advantage: Northwestern (slight)

Prediction: It will stay close early, which 'Cats fans should be very happy about considering the differing paths to victory in the first two games. Mark will run well and make a big play on special teams, Colter will hit his stride throwing the football and the defense will put together a second-straight big performance.

Northwestern: 34, Boston College: 21

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