After a 49-21 win over UC-Davis and a bye week to get healthy, the Colorado State Rams (2-1) are looking to go into Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and beat the Boston College Eagles (3-1), but history would have it differently.
Since 2002, the Rams haven’t won a single game east of the Mississippi River, and that statistic becomes even more difficult for the Rams when you account for the team that they’ll be playing this Saturday.
Boston College, in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), is coming off of a mediocre 7-6 season in 2013, but those wins and losses don’t necessarily tell the story of this team. They almost pulled off a huge upset of eighth-ranked Florida State, who would go on to win the national championship. They also played an incredibly competitive game against third ranked Clemson, losing 24-14 in that contest.
Through four games this season, the Eagles are fifth in the nation in rushing yards (336.3) and 27th in points allowed (19.5). They also have dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy, who’s thrown for 491 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 500 yards and five touchdowns. The combination of power running and stout defense paired with their explosive quarterback is what discourages and wears down opponents.
CSU, however, isn’t looking to be discouraged or worn down, because Rams senior quarterback Garrett Grayson doesn’t care about the acclaimed BC run defense.
“We want to dictate what they’re doing. If our run game is working against their run defense then I’m sure we’ll stick with that, but otherwise we’ll feel them out on the first couple drives and see what’s working,” Grayson said.
It also certainly benefits Grayson that he had the bye week to study the Eagles’ defense and prepare for what could very well be the most dynamic team the Rams will face this season.
“We got an extra seven days to study those guys; see what they’re doing, see their tendencies,” Grayson added. “They do a bunch of wacky stuff that not many teams do so it’s huge to have that extra bye week.”
Similarly, the Rams defense also had that extra week to prepare to stop the Eagles from getting anywhere near their average of 336 rushing yards per game. CSU had trouble stopping Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, so stopping Boston College’s main running threat, Tyler Murphy, will be a top priority.
“It comes down to things we always talk about which is playing within the integrity of the defense,” senior linebacker Max Morgan said. “Everyone has to do their job and trust the guys around you to do their job. We have to play with good eyes and good discipline.”
A few factors will dictate whether or not CSU can pull out a victory in Chestnut Hill:
- The CSU defense absolutely has to stop the run. If the Eagles are able to run as they’d like, in their own stadium in front of their own fans, the Rams will get gassed early and lose their energy.
- The CSU “three-headed monster” of running backs has to show up, big. Garrett Grayson has proven he can throw for a lot of yards, but it won’t matter against BC if the Rams can’t run. CSU has to be able to run the ball, control the clock, and keep BC quarterback Tyler Murphy off the field for as long as possible.
- Can CSU get turnovers? With a BC offense that makes long drives and eats up the game clock, turnovers could be crucial in getting the CSU offense the ball in optimal positions to score. In essence, CSU can’t let Boston College NOT turn over the ball
CSU and Boston College kick off at 12:30p.m. Eastern Time at Alumni Stadium and the game will be aired on ROOT Sports.
Collegian Sports Reporter Steven Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @steven_jacobs_.