Boston College Preview: Pitt Panthers (3-1) at Boston College Eagles (2-1)

Line: Pitt -6.5

Opening kickoff: Pitt and Boston College met every year from 1970 to 2004 as members of the Big East. The Eagles are 14-17 all-time against the Panthers. The Eagles beat the Panthers 26-19 to end last season. The win made Boston College bowl eligible.

The Eagles last win at home against Pitt cane in 2001 when they beat the Panthers 45-7.

There are plenty of ties between the two programs. Both Jeff Hafley and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti have coached at Pitt. Eagles starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec is a Pittsburgh native. He played at Pine-Richland High School. Jurkovec led the program to a 16-0 record and 2017 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association 6A state championship.

Here are three offensive and defensive keys for the Eagles.

3 Offensive Keys

1. Get David Bailey More Involved: Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti needs to get running back David Bailey more involved in offense. Bailey needs to be more of a focal point today. The Eagles need to run the football more. The Eagles rank last in the ACC in rushing offense at 29.3 yards per game.

2. Pass Protection: The offensive line has struggled in this area thus far this season. It is amazing that Phil Jurkovec has only thrown two interceptions considering how much he escapes the pocket to avoid pressure. Pitt enters the game leading the nation in sacks with 19. The offensive line will have their hands full with Patrick Jones and Rashad Weaver. Both are high motor players who get after it. Alec Lindstrom and company must rise to the challenge.

3. Beat Man Coverage: The Panthers like to pressure and play man to man behind it. Eagle receivers must win one on one and make plays in the passing game. Expect Cignetti to feature a lot of man beaters today. Mesh, dig routes, skinny posts and fades.

3 Defensive Keys

1. Get consistent pressure on Kenny Pickett: Boston College must get consistent pressure on Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and throw him off his spot. They cannot allow him to get comfortable and have time in the pocket.

2. Match Up Outside: Pitt’s receivers present match up problems. Jordan Addison and D.J. Turner both have the ability to make plays vertically so the Eagles secondary will be challenged. It is imperative that they maintain position, plaster and not lose coverage down the field.

3. Create turnovers: This game will be tight so it is important the Eagles generate turnovers. The team that wins the turnover battle could very well win this game.

Final Prediction: Eagles 24 Panthers 21: I think Pitt is a very good team but they have a hard time running the football and protecting Pickett. If the Eagles get the running game going and get key stops in the second half, I think they could win this game.

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