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Duke vs. Boston College Prediction: Eagles Aim to Stop Losing Skid at Home Against Blue Devils on Friday Night

Surprising Duke needs just one more win to be become bowl eligible.

The Boston College Eagles hope to secure their first win in more than a month when they host the Duke Blue Devils in ACC crossover action on Friday night.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 10

Duke (5-3, 2-2 ACC) returns from a bye week after a dominant 45-21 win over Miami in Week 8. That win was a much-needed boost for the Blue Devils, who have been on quite the roller coaster but now need just one more victory to become bowl eligible under first-year head coach Mike Elko. Against the Hurricanes, Duke dominated the second and fourth quarters (outscoring Miami 38-0) to win going away.

Boston College (2-6, 1-4) could use a similar surge with three straight losses and now needing to win out to secure a postseason berth. While losses to Clemson and Wake Forest, a pair of ranked divisional foes, can be understood, last Saturday's 13-3 road loss to UConn is hard to stomach. Besides that game representing the first-ever loss to the Huskies (BC leads the series 12-1-2), it also was the third time this season that the Eagles have been held to 10 or fewer points.

But Boston College has a chance to turn things around in November, starting with Friday night's visit from Duke. The Eagles lead the all-time series with the Blue Devils 5-3, including a 26-6 victory in their most recent meeting (2020 in Durham).

Duke at Boston College

Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN2
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Duke -9.5
Tickets: As low as $9 on SITickets.com

When Duke Has the Ball

The Blue Devils may be in the lower third nationally when it comes to their productivity in the passing game, but that hasn't stopped the unit as a whole from moving the ball consistently. Although Duke boasts the second-lowest passing offense at just 217.0 yards per game, thanks to 205.1 yards per game on the ground (second in the ACC, 21st in the FBS) the Blue Devils possess a top-50 total offense at 422.1 total yards per game. In fact, Duke's offense is fairly evenly balanced in 2022, with 48.6 percent of the yardage coming on the ground.

That mode of production continued the last time that Duke took the field when the Blue Devils produced 336 total yards of offense, 200 of which came on the ground. Of the Blue Devils' eight games this season, five have featured at least 200 rushing yards. Against Miami, Riley Leonard completed just over half of his passes in a 13-for-25 effort for 136 yards and a touchdown. But Leonard’s real utility came in the run game. Jaquez Moore may have led the way with 63 yards on just six carries, but Leonard was not far behind with 61 yards while adding three rushing touchdowns, and Jordan Waters contributed one of his own.

Overall, Boston College's defense has been roughly middle-of-the-pack nationally, but this unit has recently struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard. Three of Boston College's last four losses have come to teams that have posted at least 31 points (UConn put up 13). Part of the reason for this is the Eagles have generated a total of eight takeaways this season, tied for the second fewest among ACC teams.

When Boston College Has the Ball

The production on offense has been on the other end of the spectrum for the Eagles. While Duke is in the lower half when it comes to throwing the ball but more than makes up for it on the ground, Boston College falls around the midpoint of the FBS leaderboard through the air while its running game languishes at the bottom. The Eagles have managed just 67.5 rushing yards per game on the ground in 2022. No FBS team is faring worse.

Some of this has to do with Boston College's tendency to fall behind early, forcing a change in the game plan, but that also gives opponents more opportunities to take advantage of an offensive line that has been overmatched more than not. The result is that the Eagles are yielding 3.6 sacks and more than eight tackles for a loss per game, numbers that unfortunately rank second (not in a good way) in the ACC and place them among the bottom 15 in the nation. On top of that, quarterback Phil Jurkovec hardly lights it up when he goes to the air, completing right around 60 percent of his passes for 214 yards per game with just 11 touchdown passes in eight contests.

Overall, Boston College has produced just two total touchdowns in their last three games, so scoring in general has been a struggle. This despite having the ACC's leading receiver in Zay Flowers, who has 726 yards and is third in the conference with six touchdown catches. Jurkovec will need to look to Flowers early and often, especially if the ground game continues to sputter.

The Eagles also will need to put a premium on ball security, having committed 16 turnovers (seven fumbles, nine interceptions) and facing an opportunistic Duke defense that has generated 20 takeaways. This success is driven by an FBS-high 15 fumbles recovered entering this week, with three courtesy of defensive lineman DeWayne Carter and two apiece from linebacker Shaka Heyward and safety Brandon Johnson. Overall, the Blue Devils' plus-14 turnover differential trails only USC nationally.

Final Analysis

Duke may not be bringing a complete offense into this week's game, but with a strong running game and a fierce defense, the Blue Devils should have what it takes to keep the momentum going heading into the final month of the regular season. Add in Boston College's short week compared to Duke coming off of a bye, and that's a lot for the Eagles to handle, even at home.

Prediction: Duke 34, Boston College 16

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— Written by Juan Jose Rodriguez, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a 2019 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Rodriguez was an intern for Athlon during summer 2017 and worked for a variety of media outlets on campus, including as the editor-in-chief of Scholastic Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @JuanJoseRG02.

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