Boston College Eagles (5-6) vs Pittsburgh Panthers (7-4)
Coach: Steve Addazio
Boston College Players to watch
*Junior RB A.J. Dillon (6-0/250)
Dillon has thrived in the Eagles’ “12-personnel” double tight end power run game, and became the school’s all-time leading rusher at No. 2 Clemson on Oct. 26. Dillon holds school records for rushing yards (4,204) and rushing touchdowns (37) and is within striking distance of the ACC career rushing record (4,602) held by NC State’s Ted Brown.
“I think we are lucky to have him, I think it’s awesome,” said BC coach Steve Addazio. “I think he made a great decision to come here and to be able to be in a style of offense that would feature his talents and be at a university that would give him an elite degree.”
The PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced today the 10 semifinalists for the 2019 Doak Walker Award, including AJ Dillon of Boston College. It marked the second consecutive season that Dillon has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the nation’s top running back award.
*Junior LB Max Richardson (6-0/230)
One of the elite tacklers in the game, Richardson brings great speed, athleticism and instincts to the field. The former three star recruit had 13 offers, but only three from power five schools. Richardson has developed into another in the long line of great Boston College linebackers.
Richardson’s 95 tackles rank 18th in the country, the best that Notre Dame will face all season. His 63 solo tackles rank fourth in the country. He also leads the team in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (3.5.) He’s an underrated candidate for the All-American team that is likely a lock for the All-ACC team.
**Sophomore TE Hunter Long (6-5/250)
Boston College redshirt sophomore Hunter Long is a stretch-the-field tight end. That term is seldom applied to tight ends, which are typically oversized pass-eligible extensions to the offensive line. Long’s ability to execute deep routes down the middle of the field, combined with the power to pile up yards after the catch on screens, has made an exciting player to watch in the ACC.
Senior OT Benjamin Petrula (6-5/310)
The anchor on the Boston College offensive line is junior tackle Ben Petrula. The 6-5, 310-pound lineman was named to the Outland Trophy watchlist this past summer and also earned first team all-ACC honors. The Eagles’ offensive line was named to the Joe Moore Award midseason honor roll for their performance in the first half of the 2019 season.
Boston College is currently ranked 16th in the FBS in yards per rush attempt. As a team, the Eagles are averaging 5.3 yards per carry. That success in the run game can be partially attributed to the play of running back AJ Dillon, but the offensive line has also been playing well.
**Sophomore CB Brandon Sebastian (6-1/185)
The redshirt sophomore from West Haven, Conn., already has 87 career tackles, three intereceptions and 16 passes defended. “Huge plays,” Sebastian said earlier this year. “That’s what we talk about most. When we get in the red zone, we have to stop [them]. When we get stops in the red zone, we’re high-fiving each other. The more red zone stops, we take it as a win for the defense.”
Coach: Pat Narduzzi
Pittsburgh Players to watch:
**Sophomore NT Jaylen Twyman (6-2/290)
Twyman now has a team-high 10.0 sacks on the year, the most by a Pitt interior defensive lineman since Aaron Donald had 11 during his All-America senior season in 2013. Twyman ranks seventh nationally (second in the ACC) with an average of 0.95 sacks per game. The Panthers lead the nation with 48 total sacks (4.36 per game).
“The defense played another outstanding game. You win championships with defense. Another spectacular performance by them,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the Georgia Tech victory. “They were put in some tough positions in the first half with three turnovers and they just rise to the occasion. It’s an impressive group of guys out there.”
*Junior DE Patrick Jones (6-5/270)
Jones is on pace for over 10 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. Last season, Jones finished with seven sacks and just over five tackles for loss. He’s much improved as a player, thus he’s a legit NFL prospect. In fact, Jones made The Draft Network’s Joe Marino’s stock up for Week 9, praising his vision, ability to finish and slip offensive tackles. He’s a defensive end that does everything right. Jones is smooth with solid hands and sets the edge. Jones isn’t on many draft media big boards yet, but his name will start to appear as the season ends.
Senior WLB Kylan Johnson (6-2/232)
Kylan Johnson, a Florida grad transfer and Pitt’s starter at “Money” linebacker, has seven sacks and 10 tackles-for-loss. Over three active seasons at Florida (2016-18), Johnson played in 33 career games and made nine starts. He compiled career totals of 83 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-los and one sack. Johnson is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduate of Skyline High School.
“Kylan is a really smart player with a great nose for the football,” Narduzzi said. “He can play either outside linebacker position and is a great fit for our scheme. Kylan’s experience and athleticism will be immediate assets for our linebacker group.”
Senior CB Dane Jackson (6-0/190)
Jackson’s 37 total tackles, seventh on the team, is a testament to his willingness to stick his nose in there and make a play. He is currently tied with Damarri Mathis for the team lead with 11 passes break ups, giving him a whopping 38 passes defended for his career, with at least one more game to go. He also has four career INTs.
*Junior QB Kenny Pickett (6-2/220)
Pickett was named ACC Player of the Week following the Nov. 14 victory over North Carolina. Pickett completed 25-of-41 passes with no interceptions. His 74-yard touchdown pass to Shocky Jacques-Louis equaled Pitt’s longest scoring play of the season. Pickett also rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries, giving him 412 of the Panthers’ season-high 498 yards. Pickett has used some new techniques taught to him by offensive coordinator Mark Whipple (footwork, etc.) and looked confident in the pocket this year.
Unfortunately, Pickett went from his best performance of the year to the worst the following week vs Virginia Tech. Pickett went 10-of-26 for 103 yards; he had -12 yard on the ground; and a quarterback rating of 71.7. Pickett has a Td/Int ratio of 10-8 this year and has had problems getting the ball in the endzone.
**Sophomore WR Shocky Jacques-Louis (6-0/180)
Jacques-Louis has emerged from the shadows of senior wide out Maurice FFrench. The week after Ffrench got hurt, Jacques-Louis had a break-out performance with four catches for 104 yards. The native of Fort Myers, Fla., is using his speed to his advantage.
Ffrench is a “game-time decision” for Pitt’s game at No. 25 Virginia Tech, head coach Pat Narduzzi said Thursday afternoon. Narduzzi said in his postgame press conference last Thursday that his senior wide receiver and captain suffered a broken jaw Nov. 2 at Georgia Tech.
**Sophomore SS Paris Ford (6-0/195)
Ford leads the team in solo tackles (46) and total tackles (75). He also has nine passes defended, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles. The sophomore from Steel Valley said he’s more mature this season, and it has helped him make plays and gain confidence.
Unfortunately, the redshirt sophomore was ejected from the VT game last week for the second time this season after being flagged for targeting in the fourth quarter. It’s the fourth time this season a Pitt player has picked up a targeting foul. Ford will miss the first half of next week’s regular season finale vs. Boston College.
Heinz Field – Grass
Nov. 30 | Pittsburgh, PA
*Be sure to check out the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.