Eagles to Face Arizona State in the Aloha Bowl
For the second time in six years, the Boston Collge Eagles will be off to Hawaii
for Christmas. The Eagles, who beat Kansas State 12-7 in the 1994 Aloha Bowl, will
face Arizona State in this year's game on Christmas Day. Like the Eagles, the Sun
Devils finished the regular season with a disappointing 6-5 record. Arizona State
comes into this game having lost five of their last eight games, but played
Top 25 opponents very tough over that stretch, losing by only six points to #4
Washington and by only one point to #11 Oregon.
Boston College/Arizona State Preview
Position by Position Matchup
Aloha Sound File
|Aloha Bowl Matchup
||Arizona State Freshman Jeff Krohn has improved over the course
of the year, but Tim Hasselbeck has the experience. If Hasselbeck is healthy the edge
goes to BC, otherwise advantage: Sun Devils.
||An easy choice. The two best backs in this game both play
for BC. ASU running backs Pace and Williams average just under 4.0 yards per carry
as compared to the 5.4 average for BC's duo of Washington and Green.
||Dedrick DeWalt has been the only consistent receiver for
the Eagles in 2000, but ASU's Krohn has three legitimate "go to" guys to choose
from. Receivers Williams and O'Neal and Pac Ten first-team tight end Todd Heap
each caught at least 38 passes for more than 600 yards this season.
||The Devils can claim two All Pac Ten first-teamers on the
o-line (Victor Leyva and Scott Peters) and one more on the second team (Levi Jones),
but four of five Eagle offensive linemen received either first or second team
Big East honors. As for protecting the quarterback, the Eagles surrendered
only 6 sacks in 2000 as compared to a hefty 37 allowed by Arizona State.
||No doubt about it. The Eagles were horrible against the
run this season, thanks to injuries, graduation, inexperience and some disappointing
performances. Arizona State ranked only 74th in the nation against the run, but did
a much better job pressuring the quarterback led by true freshman DE Terrell Suggs,
whose 10 sacks helped him become Pac Ten Freshman of the Year. All told, ASU sacked
opposing quarterbacks 35 times in 2000, 14 more than the Eagles.
||BC had a very difficult time at linebacker this season, providing
little help to the beleaguered defensive line. Meanwhile, Sun Devil Senior outside
linebacker Adam Archuleta piled up 119 tackes - 86 of them solo - on his way to
becoming the Pac Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
||BC's top ten national ranking against the pass is a bit
misleading because Eagle opponents were able to run so easily, but the Eagle
secondary was a solid unit in 2000 led by Jonathan Ordway and Lenny Walls.
Arizona State ranked 91st in the nation against the pass, surrendering a
whopping 234 yards per game despite a pass rush that accumulated 35 sacks.
||This one is too close to call. Mike Sutphin, who converted 12 of
14 field goals edges out Sun Devil placekicker Mike Barth who made only 15 of 23
attempts. Both kickers were very accurate on kicks of less than 40 yards (Sutphin
10 of 12, Barth 10 of 11). Arizona State's Mike Murphy wins the battle of the
punters averaging 41.1 yards per punt, a notch better than Kevin McMyler's 39.7
||Both Arizona State and Boston College were outplayed by their
opponents on special teams. Both teams gave up more than 20 yards per kickoff
return this season, though none went for touchdowns. Each team was able to score
one touchdown via the punt return in 2000. Arizona State allowed two opponents to
return punts for TDs, compared to three for BC. Based on what I saw from BC against
Miami, the edge has to go to Arizona State.
||It looks like we should be in for a high-scoring, tightly-contested game on
Christmas Day. The BC pass defense has done poorly against teams with multiple
pass receiving threats and the run defense has failed to stop any decent team all
season. That all bodes well for Arizona State's balanced offense. On the other side
of the ball, Tim Hasselbeck (if healthy) should be able to throw all day against a weak
Sun Devil secondary, assuming that the Eagles can contain the pass rush of Terrell
Suggs. The key to BC's running attack will be the ability to put a helmet on
Archuleta and Bates. If they aren't a factor, BC should be able to run the ball
Prediction: Tim Hasselbeck's Senior leadership will prove to be the key in a 34-31