The Boston College Eagles will look to remain undefeated on the season when they host the Missouri Tigers on Saturday afternoon in a non-conference clash at Alumni Stadium. Missouri is off to a 2-1 (0-1 SEC) start after handling FCS Southeastern Missouri State 59-28 last Saturday, failing to cover as a 35.5-point home favorite. Boston College enters the weekend at 3-0 following a 28-3 victory over the Temple Owls last weekend to hit as a 15-point road favorite.
This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Missouri pulls away from Southeast Missouri State earlyThere was no possibility of an FCS over FBS upset last Saturday in Columbia, as Missouri was all over Southeast Missouri State early in a comfortable win. Tyler Badie recorded both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the first eight minutes of the game with Connor Bazelak adding two more long touchdown throws before halftime to give the Tigers a 38-0 lead, and a fourth-quarter flurry by Southeast Missouri wasn't nearly enough.
Bazelak had a huge game, finishing 21 of 30 passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Badie finished with nine carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns, with the Tigers piling up 235 yards on the ground overall. Missouri was in complete control, outgaining Southeast Missouri State 675-373 while converting 10 of 14 third-down attempts.
“It was good for me and Connor to both be able to go out there and do what we gotta do to get out of the game and just rest, and cheer on the rest of the teammates,” Badie said to the Columbia Missourian as the Tigers were able to play their backups in the second half.
Missouri is off to an 0-3 start against the spread, as it has failed to cover in the two games where it has been a favorite while also losing to the Kentucky Wildcats by a touchdown as a slight underdog in the SEC opener. Overs are 2-1 so far for the Tigers after they reached a total of 59 points by themselves last weekend.
The Tigers' offense is firing on all cylinders in the early going with an average of 40.3 points and 513.7 yards per game in the early going. Defense was the bigger question for Missouri, and there's still plenty of unknowns there with opponents putting up 29 points and 455.7 yards per game.
Bazelak is on track to put up huge numbers again, having completed 76 of his 113 pass attempts for 897 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception in the early going. Badie has already racked up 487 yards and six touchdowns on 63 plays from scrimmage, leading the team in both rushing and receiving. Rice transfer Blaze Alldredge is already making a huge impact on his new team with 25 tackles including six for loss and three sacks.
Starting defensive tackle Darius Robinson left last weekend's game with an apparent leg injury and his status is unclear moving forward. Missouri was without two other contributors last week in offensive lineman Case Cook and defensive back Ennis Rakestraw Jr., but indications are they should both be ready to go this weekend. Freshman wide receiver Jay Maclin remains out indefinitely with a forearm injury. Defensive lineman Cannon York has not appeared due for undisclosed reasons.
Boston College handles Temple before tougher testThere's no denying the Eagles have played a soft schedule thus far, but they have easily taken care of business to go 3-0 including a victory at Temple last weekend. Jaden Williams and Pat Garwo III each recorded touchdowns in the first quarter, and later rushing scores from Travis Levy and Dennis Grosel were more than enough as Boston College's defense dominated.
Khris Banks and Brandon Barlow team up to bring down Temple QB Justin Lynch on 2nd-and-Goal. Banks has four total tackles and 1.5 sacks today. He and Isaiah Graham-Mobley are putting on quite the performance against their old team. pic.twitter.com/WW7ROSw8LR— Andy Backstrom (@andybackstrom) September 18, 2021
Filling in for injured starter Phil Jurkovec, Grosel completed seven of his 15 pass attempts for 59 yards, one touchdown and one interception while adding seven carries for 40 yards and a score. Temple transfer Isaiah Graham-Mobley led the defensive effort against his old team with eight tackles. including a key stop on fourth down in the second quarter that ended one of the only decent drives of the game for the Owls. While the Owls actually outgained Boston College 245-238, they went just 3-14 on third down and were stopped on fourth down three separate.
“It’s a huge statement for us,” Graham-Mobley said to Rivals.com. “This is our standard. If we keep playing like that, the sky’s the limit."
Boston College is off to a 2-1 start against the spread while being a massive favorite in all three games, as it handled FCS Colgate and Temple but couldn't win by enough to cover against the UMass Minutemen. Overs are 1-2 for the Eagles after last weekend's game went well under the betting total of 56 points.
Few teams have a better scoring differential than the Eagles early on, with the offense putting up an average of 41.3 points and 406.3 yards per game. Boston College's defense ranks sixth in the nation with 10.3 points per game allowed, with opponents managing only 256.3 yards per contest.
Grosel has seen action in all three games, completing 21 of 33 pass attempts for 277 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in addition to running the ball 13 times for 70 yards and two scores. Zay Flowers is a prolific playmaker to lead the Boston College offense with 10 catches for 212 yards and one touchdown while adding three carries for 39 yards. Florida State transfer Jaiden Woodbey looks great in his new defense, piling up 18 tackles, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries including one for a touchdown.
Jurkovec unfortunately suffered a season-ending wrist injury in the second game of the year against UMass. Wide receiver Jaelen Gill, who had 29 carries for 435 yards last year, is questionable with a foot injury. Defensive tackle is also a bit uncertain, with Chibueze Onwuka out for the season with a ruptured Achillies and Marcus Valdez missing the first three games of the year with an unknown injury.
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This could have been a much different story with a healthy Jurkovec, but the backup quarterback situation doesn't look good enough for Boston College to win here. Missouri will have such a big advantage under center with the rising star Bazelak looking good in the early going, and the Eagles won't quite be able to keep up due to the limited passing game.
While life without Jurkovec got off to a fine enough start against Temple in terms of the final score, Boston College managing just five completions and 34 passing yards won't fly moving forward against a tougher schedule moving forward. Missouri's offense will be tough to keep up with if Boston College doesn't have a passing attack, as the Tigers are averaging 7.1 yards per play and Bazelak has shown the ability to connect downfield throughout his career.
Don't expect the Boston College defense to keep holding up this well forever either as it has only faced poor offenses, and allowing 28 points two weeks ago to arguably the worst FBS team in UMass doesn't bode well. The Eagles have benefitted from an ultra-soft schedule so far, and the advantage Bazelak provides over Boston College's backup quarterbacks will be the biggest difference here.
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Even if the Eagles are limited at quarterback, Jeff Hafley is a good offensive coach who can scheme something up, and there's a question if Missouri's defense can hold up against anyone. After grading out as one of the worst power conference defenses in the country last year, Missouri is getting shredded for 6.6 yards per play so far in 2021, which is particularly bad considering the schedule it has faced so far.
Boston College has also taken on nothing but horrendous opposing offenses after a middling 2020 campaign on the defensive end, and Missouri was moving the ball well against a strong Kentucky defense two weeks ago. Eli Drinkwintz will also push the tempo some for the Tigers, giving both offenses enough possessions to get the over despite Boston College's quarterback issues.