This Saturday, the Massachusetts Minutemen face off against the Boston College Eagles at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Massachusetts. This will be a real test for both teams, as the Minutemen look to improve on back to back one win seasons, and the Eagles have lost many key players from last years 7-6 squad in the off-season. Let's break down how UMass will fare against their hated in-state rival (if you want an in-depth preview of BC, go here)?
UMass Offense vs. BC Defense
The biggest question around the Minutemen's offense is whether or not Blake Frohnapfel is the answer at quarterback. Quarterback play for the Minutemen in the past could best be described as god awful? Horrendous? A attack on your senses? Choose your negative synonym. If Blake Frohnapfel could be at least mediocre by MAC standards, it would go a long way in making the Minutemen respectable. Of course, the biggest issue will be dealing with BC's secondary, which will return all four starters from last year. BC's front seven is much younger and inexperienced, which means that Jamal Wilson and Lorenzo Woodley have a chance to shine if the offensive line can hold up.
UMass Defense vs. BC Offense
The Minutemen's new look 3-4 offense will have a hard time against the BC offense, especially the front seven. BC's offensive line is big, strong, and one of their greatest assets. Running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse will run wild if the front seven can't create pressure and hold the line. Quarterback Tyler Murphy is sited for his elusiveness in the pocket, despite rushing for only 61 yards on 61 carries last year. Paired with young wide receivers, BC isn't a real threat through the air. Their offense is going to rely heavily on the run, and if UMass can't stop it, it'll be a long day.
Unless Blake Lucas finds some accuracy this year, the Minutemen are going to have troubles in the kicking game. For the Eagles, kicker Nate Freese was perfect last year, but left due to graduation. As such, their kicking game is very much in the air. Trey Dudley-Giles will be handing returns for the Minutemen, and Bryce Jones for the Eagles.
As much as everyone on the planet hates BC, I unfortunately think they're going to pull this one out. It all comes down to the trenches, and their offensive line is much better than our front seven. Expect BC to bully the Minutemen and to grind the game out of reach. Final Score: Boston College Eagles: 30, Massachusetts Minutemen: 17. The spread is 17 points, so we cover. It's the little victories, folks.