Duke-Boston College: Devils Look To Force the Eagles To Take Flight

Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 12, 2010

Sean Renfree has been on the mark both throwing and running the ball during Duke's two-game winning streak.
Sean Renfree has been on the mark both throwing and running the ball during Duke's two-game winning streak.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There is no doubt that the current incarnation of the Boston College Eagles prefer to stay grounded.

When you have a player like Montel Harris, there isn't much cause to force yourself to throw the ball. That is exactly what Duke must do, though, to knock off the Eagles and win their third game in a row.

The problem is that the Blue Devils defense has been the weakest link for much of the season. While they showed some improvement at times, they are coming off a game where they gave up more than 600 yards of offense and 48 points.

Granted the Duke defense was able to stop the high powered running offense of Navy. And thanks in part to their offense generating points again, the Blue Devils have won two straight games, including their first conference contest last week against Virginia.

But the difference from Virginia is that BC has a strong defense that could cause the beat-up offensive unit from Duke to struggle to protect their quarterbacks or open holes for their running backs.

If the Blue Devils cannot run the ball effectively they will quickly become one-dimensional. This is never a good thing against a good defense.

On defense Duke is going to try to contain Harris and force the Eagles quarterback, whoever it may be, to throw the ball.

Duke's secondary has been shaky at times this year, but if you look at the turnovers they have forced in their recent winning streak they have come from the secondary.

Still Duke is going to need balance on offense to control the clock and keep BC from long sustained drives, especially if they get a lead.


Keys for Duke

Duke's biggest key to success is avoiding turnovers. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree has not thrown any picks in the last two games.

The only turnover during that span was a late game fumble that was almost a disaster against Virginia. With Duke holding on to the ball their offense has been able to put up big numbers and more importantly points.

If the defense can limit the length of the Eagles' possessions and Duke's offense can put up some points without coughing up the ball, they will win.


Keys for Boston College

The Eagles need to score early and get a lead. If that happens, their defense can dial up the pressure and force Duke into mistakes.

The offense can also feed Harris the ball and run a lot of clock. BC wants a lower scoring game than what Duke has been playing. They don't want to have to force themselves into short possession airing the ball out.



Boston College 28, Duke 24.

The BC defense will show up and allow the offense to grind out some points. The will also force Duke into one too many turnovers that turn into points for the Eagles.