Boston College - BYU Matchup

The Boston College Eagles will begin the 2005 season against the BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah. The Cougars are coming off of a disappointing 5-6 campaign that ended with a 52-21 beating at the hands of undefeated Utah. Bronco Mendenhall's team returns seven starters on offense and five starters on defense. Boston College is currently a four point favorite. Here is a look at the top players and their 2004 stats.

The Quarterbacks
Quinton Porter ('03) -- 56% comp, 1,764 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT
John Beck -- 56% comp, 2,563 yards, 15 TD, 8 INT

Top Rushers
Andre Callender -- 637 yards, 4.6 ypc, 2 TD
  L.V. Whitworth -- 623 yards, 4.4 ypc, 5 TD
Curtis Brown -- 789 yards, 5.0 ypc, 6 TD
  Naufahu Tahi -- 339 yards, 3.6 ypc, 5 TD

Top Receivers
Larry Lester (WR) -- 35 catches, 515 yards, 2 TD
  Will Blackmon (WR) -- Converted CB
  Chris Miller (TE) -- 20 catches, 228 yards, 2 TD
Todd Watkins (WR) -- 52 catches, 1,042 yards, 6 TD
  Bryce Mahuika (WR) -- 1 catches, 50 yards, 0 TD
  Curtis Brown (RB) -- 27 catches, 175 yards, 0 TD

Top Defenders
Mathias Kiwanuka (DE) -- 67 tackles (24.5 for lost yardage), 11.5 sacks
  Brian Toal (LB) -- 77 tackles
  Ray Henderson (LB) -- 75 tackles, 6 INT
Cameron Jensen (MLB) -- 103 tackles (12 for loss)
  Nate Soelberg (CB) -- 41 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBU
  Manaia Brown (DE) -- 26 tackles, 4.5 sacks

The Kickers
Ryan Ohliger -- 13/19 FG, 31/34 PAT
Trent Williams -- Redshirt Freshman

The Punters
Johnny Ayers -- 39.3 yards per kick
Jared McLoughlin -- Sophomore

The Kick Returners
Will Blackmon -- 27.2 yds per KO return (1 TD),
11.3 yds per punt return (1 TD)
Bryce Mahuika -- 22.5 yards per KO ret,
7.4 yds per punt return

Final Analysis

Boston College's biggest challenge on defense will be stopping BYU's passing game. The Cougars return Preseason All Mountain West quarterback John Beck and All American candidate Todd Watkins. Watkins caught 52 passes for 1,042 yards last year and at 6'3", 194 pounds, he will be a tough matchup for the BC secondary. Watkins will be more dangerous if BYU can generate a running game. That was rare last season - the Cougars ranked 102nd in the nation in rushing yards per game. BYU returns three starters on the offensive line, including 6'5", 330 pound right tackle Jake Kuresa.

On the other side of the ball, BC's big advantage will be on the line of scrimmage. The Eagles offensive line returns all five starters with an average size of 6'6" and 316 pounds. L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender will likely share the duties at halfback. Both were impressive at times last season as freshman and should be more consistent this season with a year of experience under their belts. Quinton Porter returns to the quarterback position after a one year hiatus. It will be very interesting to see what kind of impact Will Blackmon makes on the offensive side of the ball. BYU's defense was ranked near the middle of the pack nationally last season. BC will need to keep a close eye on 6'2", 230 pound linebacker Cameron Jensen, who had 103 tackles last season for the Cougars. BYU plays a 3-3-5 defense and they have plenty of talent and experience in the defensive front six.

It is always difficult to begin the season on the road, especially when the game is played 2,000 miles away from home in high altitude. BYU will be breaking in a new coach and new uniforms (actually, they could be considered old uniforms since they resemble the style worn by the likes of Steve Young and Jim McMahon). The BC offense will have an advantage at the line of scrimmage, but with two 300 pounders among the defensive front three, the Cougars will not be pushovers. Controlling the ball will mean everything because of the high altitude and BC's lack of depth on the defensive line. The fact that Quinton Porter hasn't played a regular season game in 22 months is an area of concern, but if BC can avoid falling behind early, Porter should be fine. BYU returns only one starter in their five man defensive backfield so this is a good opportunity to ease Porter back into the mix. BYU has a good offensive line that is nearly as big as BC's (6'4", 312 pounds). Again, ball control is the key. Kiwi will be a marked man and the fewer plays he has to make early in the game, the better he will be in the fourth quarter. If the Eagles can avoid giving up the big play (turnovers, letting Watkins get behind the defense), they should have a very successful day. This will be a tough game, but BC appears to have enough of a talent and experience edge to overcome BYU's home crowd and the unfamiliar high altitude/dry air environment.

Final Score: Boston College 28 BYU 24

More Links

BC-BYU Game Notes (BYUCougars.com)
BYU-BC Game Notes (BCEagles.com)

BYU Links
Official Site
CBS Sportsline
Fox Sports

Brigham Young by the Numbers

BYU is 5-0 in season openers at home since 1999.

BYU is 0-10 in their last ten games against ranked opponents.

In the only meeting between the two teams, BYU beat BC 28-14 in the 1985 opener at Giants Stadium.

Statistic BC BYU
Offense - Run 74 102
Offense - Pass 32 12
Defense - Run 33 59
Defense - Pass 25 50