Boston College gets a visit from cross-state Holy Cross this weekend. The Crusaders are coming off an undefeated regular season in 2022 that ended with them bowing out in the quarterfinals to eventual champion South Dakota State. Overall eight starters return on offense and a handful on defense as well.
Bob Chesney’s group took care of business in Week 1 against Merrimack 42-20. The last time these two teams met was Chesney’s first season in 2018. The Eagles had the upper hand in all facets, but this rebuilt program will look to and can compete this time.
Senior quarterback Matthew Sluka returns after a breakout campaign in which he was a finalist for the FCS Heisman, the Walter Payton Award. Sluka is a strong runner, rushing for 11 touchdowns and over 1000 yards to go with almost 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns in the passing game.
Sluka also has the benefit of some returning talent to throw to. Jalen Coker is another senior who was first team All-Patriot League after an 11 touchdown, 912 yard season. The 6-3, 213 pound receiver is climbing the program’s record books and torched Merrimack for 136 yards and hauled in a touchdown. Sluka only completed nine passes for 190 yards, but Coker was clearly the top target.
In the ground game, Jordan Fuller is gets to be the focal point now even after scoring 22 touchdowns the past two seasons. Fuller tacked on five more last week along with 120 yards on 13 carries. A pair of fifth year running backs complete the loon, with Tyler Purdy a solid receiving threat.
This team blocks exceptional well and they will look to bring physicality. It’s a senior laden group with experienced depth in case anything goes awry. Left tackle Luke Newman was named an AP All American last year for the subdivision. A fifth year tight end in Sean Morris helps shore up the blocking as well.
The Crusaders defense was best in the conference in points and yards allowed all without the likes of Jacob Dobbs for most of the season due to injury. The 2021 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and All-American returns for his fifth year. He’s a four time captain that is top 10 in many program statistics.
Up front, a few top names have moved on so Dillon Springer will have new starters surrounding him on the line. They’ll need to step up if the team wants to make it deeper into the playoffs.
More talent returns on this team in fifth year corner Devin Haskins. Yet another All-American, Haskins had four interceptions and managed to block four punts. They do lose some top contributors otherwise in the secondary however, but still have experienced players in the backend.
Patrick Haughney returns for punting duty after being a semifinalist for the 2022 Punter of the Year. The special teams unit does however have to replace the program’s all-time leading scorer at kicker however, and have to accommodate two new long snappers. Chesney’s teams have a knack for great special teams (note those blocked punts above).
The Eagles desperately need to get on the right track if they want any hope of not being embarrassed by FSU the following week.