Boston College runs a power offense that relies heavily on the ground attack. Head coach Steve Addazio wants to run a spread, but has tailored his scheme to fit his personnel. The Eagles run the ball over the formation, utilizing the straight power inside run as well as hitting the off tackle power run.
The Eagles have the ability to throw, and mostly do so off of playaction. You will see a lot of pro-style and west coast type of elements through the air.
Chase Rettig is the starting quarterback for Boston College. The senior signal caller is a smart, experienced quarterback who knows the offense inside and out. He takes care of the ball, throwing only five interceptions on the season.
Rettig benefits from a strong run game and utilizes playaction to perfection. He has a solid arm, but not an extraordinarily strong one. Rettig has struggled with accuracy in the past, but has completed over 62% of his passes this season.
Because of Boston College's reliance on the ground attack, he has had several games with fewer than 100-yards passing. But those statistics can be misleading. Rettig has the ability to hurt an opposition through the air.
Perhaps the best running back in the country is Andre Williams. He is averaging an impressive 6.5 yards per carry, while boasting nearly 2,100 yards on the ground and 16 scoring totes. Williams runs with exceptional patience and power. His breakaway speed is underrated. He will pose a huge challenge for a strong Syracuse run defense on Saturday. Williams has rushed for at least 250-yards in three straight games.
Myles Willis plays the lightning to Williams thunder. He is a faster back who can get to the outside and gash you in the link of an eye. He will spell Williams on occasion to give a different look.
Alex Amidon is the clear top target for the Eagles in the passing attack. He has 64 catches on the season. No one else on B.C. has more than 11. Amidon has a solid frame, but relies on precise route running and strong hands. He is the top vertical threat as well.
Behind Amidon are several receivers that share snaps. Dan Rimmins is a big, 6-foot-5 target that can be a matchup problem in the red zone. David Dudek and Harrison Jackson are both solid route runners who can make plays at times.
The Eagles get slot receiver Spiffy Evans back this week, who is a threat underneath in a Wes Welker type of role.
The tight ends are primarily used as blockers for the power running attack. C.J. Parsons is the only real receiving threat. Michael Giacone and former Syracuse player Louie Addazio also see snaps. Mike Naples plays a hybrid fullback/tight end type of role. He is used primarily as a lead blocker.
In the Trenches
Despite being a power running team, the Boston College line is not as huge as would be expected. That have good, not great size. They make up for that lack of elite size with intelligence and strength.
Left tackle Matt Patchan is a senior who can seal the edge on off tackle runs. Right tackle Ian White is strong with long arms to keep defenders at bay.
On the inside, center Andy Gallik is a smart interior lineman who makes all the adjustments up front. He combines with left guard Bobby Vardaro and right guard Harris Williams to form a strong, road grading set of interior linemen that excel at opening huge holes on the inside.
The biggest strength of the Eagles offensive line is how quick they get off the ball. They use leverage well to create holes quickly and control the line of scrimmage.
While this group can be dominant as run blockers, they are only average protecting their quarterback.
Much like Syracuse, the Eagles use an attacking 4-3 system that relies on constant pressure and varying looks. The linebackers will move all over the formation and blitz frequently. Don't be surprised to see defensive backs get into the blitzing mix as well. If there is a team that blitzes as much as the Orange, it is the Boston College Eagles.
In the Trenches
Defensive end Kasim Edebali is the best of the bunch. He has 9.5 sacks on the season, and has a relentless motor and quick first step. Edebali can hurt opposing tackles with the bull rush as well as use the spin or swim move.
Kaleb Ramsey is the other defensive end. He is a solid player who is better against the run than rushing the passer.
Inside, Jaryd Rudolph and Dominic Appiah try to collapse the pocket with an interior pass rush. Rudolph is a bit smaller, but is athletic and uses his hands well. Appiah is bigger and has solid strength. The two are good against the interior running game.
The Back Seven
The Boston College linebackers are above average players who have athleticism, high motors and decent speed. Kevin Pierre-Louis plays the strong side, and may be the best blitzer on the team.
The man in the middle is Steele Divitto. Like Pierre-Louis, Divitto is a talented blitzer but is a solid tackler against the run. He is a downhill linebacker who isn't afraid to mix it up inside.
The weakside linebacker is Steve Daniels, the lone underclassman of the three starters. Daniels is a bigger body who may be the strongest player in this group. He moves all over the formation can be disruptive against the run, shedding blocks very well in order to get into the backfield.
The weakness in the Boston College defense is their secondary. Manny Asprilla and Bryce Jones are the starting corners. Both are ok in coverage, but are vulnerable to the deep ball. They bite on playaction at times, and are susceptible to the double move.
Safeties Sean Sylvia and Dominique Williams are both strong tacklers who help out against the run. Neither are impressive against the pass and can be had over the top.
Reserves Al Louis-Jean Jr., C.J. Jones and John Johnson rotate in at corner when opponents spread the field with four or five wide receiver sets.
Nate Freese is the kicker and punter for Boston College. He is a very, very good kicker with an above average leg. He is a perfect 17-for-17 on the season. As a punter, is slightly above average.
The return game for the Eagles has been unspectacular to say the least. Dave Dudeck and Myles Willis handle return duties on kickoffs and punts. Neither is a big threat to take one to the house.
This matchup pits strength against strength (Williams vs Syracuse run defense, Syracuse ground attack vs B.C. run defense) and weakness against weakness (Syracuse pass defense vs B.C. air attack, Syracuse passing attack vs B.C. secondary). The key will be how the Orange defense Williams, who has been the most productive running back in the country this season. It should be a physical battle on both sides of the ball with some good, old school football in the trenches. Syracuse will certainly have their work cut out for them as they look to become bowl eligible inside the Carrier Dome.