After dropping three straight games at home, Purdue will host undefeated Boston College on Saturday afternoon looking to notch its first win of the season. The Boilermakers have come close but have just not been able to get over the hump. Getting their first win against Boston College will not be easy, as the Eagles fly intoBig Ten territory with the look of a formidable ACC program on the rise with a throwback style that would fit right in with the Big Ten.
AJ Dillon will be the star of the show for Boston College, but the Eagles also bring a solid defense to the table that should make for some interesting battles with a Purdue offense that continues to try keeping things open. Can Boston College win its first road game against a Big Ten team since winning at Penn State in 2003?
Boston College at Purdue
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Boston College -7.0
Three Things to Watch
1. AJ Dillon should feast on Purdue’s run defense
The key to Boston College’s offense tends to be the running game. Dillon enters the weekend in the top five nationally in rushing yards with 432 yards and has been tacking on more rushing yards with each game this season. Last week against Wake Forest, Dillon rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown in a 41-34 victory in the ACC opener. This week, Dillon will be taking on a Purdue team that was just gashed for 233 rushing yards by Missouri and gave up 166 rushing yards to Northwestern earlier. Purdue’s defensive strategy may be to focus on selling out against the run, but that leads to another problem...
2. Anthony Brown is the nation’s top-rated passer
There are four quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts this season without an interception. Boston College’s Brown is one of them, and he is the nation’s top-rated passer entering the week. Brown’s 240.18 passer rating is seven points higher than Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa's rating. Brown has proved to be a reliable passer when the call for a pass is necessary. He may not have the yardage totals of other leading passers, but the consistent play without making mistakes is a perfect complement to a running game fueled by Dillon.
3. Purdue is 0-3 but could just as easily be 3-0
Purdue is off to one of the most excruciating 0-3 starts in the country. The Boilermakers have dropped three straight games at home, all by a single possession. The season opened with a four-point loss at home to Northwestern in Big Ten play, followed by back-to-back last-second game-winning field goals by Eastern Michigan and Missouri. How much more pain can Purdue take? With the games being so tight, the emphasis on turnovers is magnified. Purdue has lost the football six times this season, with a minus-four turnover margin coming into the game. If the Boilermakers lose the football against Boston College, the Eagles can run the clock and put points on the scoreboard to really make them pay. If this game is as close as the previous three have been for Purdue, one mistake may do the Boilers in.
Boston College may not be ready to make a serious run at Clemson for the ACC crown, but the Eagles do have the look of a team not to be taken lightly. On the road against Purdue, Boston College is going to get a good battle from its Big Ten opposition. Jeff Brohm’s team is trying to re-learn what it takes to win after a surprise 2017 season, and the Boilers have come close. This one could very well go down to the wire once again for Purdue, but Boston College has the look of a confident team that will be ready to make a few more plays to lead them to victory and a 4-0 record for the first time since 2007.
Prediction: Boston College 34, Purdue 31
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.