AJ Dillon and the Eagles welcome Les Miles' Jayhawks to Chestnut Hill for a Friday night Big 12 vs. ACC matchup
The Boston College Eagles started the 2019 college football season in impressive fashion by picking up a 35-28 upset victory over conference rival Virginia Tech. Following a 45-13 win over FCS member Richmond in Week 2, Boston College is set to host the Kansas Jayhawks Friday night in Chestnut Hill with an opportunity to open 3-0 for the second straight season under head coach Steve Addazio.
Kansas head coach Les Miles led the Jayhawks to a win in his first game as KU escaped with a 24-17 victory over Indiana State to open the season. However, KU stalled in an opportunity for its first 2-0 start since 2011 by losing at home to Coastal Carolina 12-7 a week ago.
Kansas at Boston College
Kickoff: Friday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ACC Network
Spread: Boston College -21
When Kansas Has the Ball
Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. was the focal point of the offense as a freshman in 2018, but a one-game suspension opened the door for Khalil Herbert to be the primary ball carrier for the Jayhawks through two games this season. Herbert leads the team with 25 carries and 170 rushing yards, and he scored on a 41-yard run last week against Coastal Carolina. Williams gained 99 yards on a team-high 22 attempts against the Chanticleers, so he is likely to surpass Herbert soon.
Carter Stanley beat out junior college transfer Thomas MacVittie for the starting quarterback job in fall camp. Stanley has completed 33-of-48 passes for 438 yards and two touchdowns, though he added two interceptions in Week 2. Thus far, junior college transfer Andrew Parchment has been Stanley's favorite target. The two have connected for 11 receptions and 135 yards. Daylon Charlot and James Sosinski were on the receiving end of Stanley's TD passes in Week 1.
Though Boston College has allowed 403 total yards per game and an average of 5.07 yards per play (ranking No. 89 and No. 60, respectively, in those categories nationally) through two weeks, the Eagles have excelled forcing turnovers. BC ranks second in the country both in total takeaways (7) and interceptions (5).
When Boston College Has the Ball
AJ Dillon is still the star of the Boston College offense. The 6-foot, 250-pound junior leads the Eagles with 40 carries, 167 rushing yards, and three touchdowns thus far and has added 63 receiving yards and a TD on three catches as well. However, the Eagles have developed depth and diversity in the offensive attack. Backup running back David Bailey is just behind Dillon with 135 rushing yards and 25 carries, including one touchdown, and freshman sensation Zay Flowers has gained 117 rushing yards on only six attempts, including a 46-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Anthony Brown has completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns (to five different receivers) without an interception. Brown has averaged 11.0 yards per pass attempt, which currently ranks No. 7 nationally. Flowers currently leads the team with 91 receiving yards, followed closely by Kobay White at 88. White and tight ends Hunter Long and Korab Idrizi are all tied for the team lead with four receptions.
Kansas has played solid defense through two games. Opponents have averaged just 4.9 yards per play against the Jayhawks, which is an improvement of 1.16 yards on average over last year's mark. Of course, Boston College (and the Big 12 schedule to follow) will likely test the unit more than Indiana State and Coastal Carolina.
Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. Kansas has produced six sacks combined over the first two games, including a pair by both Azur Kamara and Darrius Moragne. The Jayhawks have also intercepted two passes, including a 57-yard TD return by Hasan Defense.
Though it was reasonable to expect the Kansas offense to improve in Week 2 following the return of Williams, the Jayhawks struggled to move the ball consistently and managed just 280 yards of total offense. The defense responded well, limiting Coastal Carolina to just 291 yards, but the Jayhawks lost the turnover battle 2-0 and lost the game as a result.
Boston College has been much more consistent on offense. Dillon is still one of the best running backs in the ACC, if not the country, Brown is solid, and Flowers is a rising star. The Eagles have room to improve defensively, but the new-look secondary has been better than expected.
Given BC's early penchant for forcing turnovers, plus the home-field advantage and a nearly 1,500-mile journey on a short week in Miles' first road game with his new team, we should expect the Eagles to win.
Prediction: Boston College 31, Kansas 13