Boston College takes the field Saturday against Louisville. To help preview the Cardinals, our friends at our sister site Card Chronicle were kind enough to sit down with us and give us their thoughts.
1. The season seems like a mixed bag for Louisville this year. Some good (2 out of 3 against Florida teams ain’t bad) but a tough out in Syracuse and FSU dampens the mood for the year I’m sure. How are y’all feeling about the team?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed with where they are. Taking care of business last week and winning on the road in a very tough environment (Bounce House- UCF) are positives, but the lack of effort and preparation for Syracuse in the opener was tough to shake, and after focusing all offseason on “finishing” due to so many tight losses in 2021, they once again did not finish against Florida State after being up late and having the advantage of playing against a backup QB with Jordan Travis hurt. While 2-2 doesn’t end the season, their schedule is so backloaded (potential to play 6 ranked teams in last six games) we know they need wins early to put up a good number, and even if they play better later in the year, the competition may not allow the extra effort and efficiency to translate into wins. Most folks had a 6-6 or 7-5 type outlook preseason, and while that is still attainable, losing games many feel they should have won (again) early is extremely frustrating.
2. I feel like Malik Cunningham has been a headache for ACC teams as long as I can remember. How has he been in his RS Senior year?
You’re not alone in your assessment of Dr. Cunningham as one “transition” year is all that separates him from Lamar Jackson. The same Lamar Jackson who has already won the NFL MVP Award and is in the midst of his fifth season in the pros. I think for many teams in the ACC stacking those two guys more or less back to back they kind of merge into each other as “oh yeah, Louisville has that really dangerous dual-threat QB we got play”...and it’s just been that way for nearly a decade. Overall Malik has started to settle into his own after a rough outing in Week 1 and some inconsistencies against UCF and FSU. The biggest gripe you’ll hear from fans and the staff is his deep ball. We’ve had 4-5 touchdowns just flat out missed this year due to poor throws, and that’s something that has carried over from seasons past. While his touch could use some refining, his legs still work very, very well.
3. BC’s biggest weakness is its offensive line. How will the Louisville front seven stack up?
I really like what the Cards front is building into as I think by midseason they’ll be where many of us hoped they would be when we kicked the dang thing off back on Labor Day weekend. The defensive line is finally starting to develop pressure on their own and guys like DE Yaya Diaby (4.5 sacks) and DE Ashton Gillotte (3 sacks) are making teams account for their push with an extra blocker or double teams. The Cards have been a bit disappointing in their LB core so far, but veteran Yasir Abdullah is finally starting to play at the level we saw in 2021 and is not only getting into the backfield (5 TFL) but dropping into coverage and creating challenges in the passing game (1 INT, 2PBUs). We also have a guy nicknamed ‘Deebo’ (Dorian Jones) that can ruin Jurkovec’s day with one well timed hit, so maybe block that guy as well.
4. How does Louisville win? How does BC?
Louisville wins by not getting too cute and outthinking themselves. On offense, let Malik use his legs and the running backs do work up front. The Cards have 3 weapons at running back in Tiyon Evans, Trevion Cooley, and Jawhar Jordan who can all make plays and the O-line has allowed them to do so pretty well thus far. If BC starts to peek then let guys like WR Tyler Hudson and WR Ahmari Huggins-Bruce eat on the secondary. On defense...bring pressure. As you noted the BC line is struggling and if we force Jurkovec to make quick decisions or have no time to get set, they can make it a long day and really limit the BC offense.
BC wins if Louisville does the exact opposite as described above, and tries to force Malik to throw the ball 40 times, stay in the pocket, and limit the impact of the ground game. On defense, if they drop eight and try and play safe I think Jurkovec is talented enough to pick them apart like he’s opening up a crab leg and can torch some unsuspecting DBs in a Louisville secondary that is not playing at a high level consistently. If you give the Eagles a window they are skilled enough to make plays to win games. You have to shut it down early and not let off the gas.
Louisville should win this game. I think BC is actually better than the guys in the desert think they are but the Cards should be in control in the second half if they play it right. I think Malik goes for 75+ yards on the ground and the Cards get at least three scores from the rushing attack. Eagles keep it close through the half and then the O-line gets “Jurk”ed around and the scoring slows enough to create some separation. I’ll go Cards 31 - Eagles 17. And we need to win about 5 in a row to even come close to getting payback for that AJ Dillon game!
Thank you to Card Chronicle for their time. Check out all of their stuff here, and check out our Q&A with them here.