Top defenses, QB questions for Boston College, Wake Forest
BOSTON (AP) Boston College coach Steve Addazio wants to talk about the Wake Forest defense, not his own.
The Eagles have the No. 1 defense in the nation, but Addazio is worried about the Demon Deacons unit that held Florida State to 24 points last week – one week after BC held the Seminoles to 14.
”They had an outstanding defense last year. I remember telling everybody that … and then we went down there and (they) were like, `Wow. They really have a good defense,”’ Addazio said of the 2014 game that the Eagles won 23-17. ”They still are really good on defense.”
Wake Forest (2-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) is 20th in the FBS in net yards allowed. But the Eagles (3-2, 0-2) lead the nation in the category; those stats are surely padded by wins over FCS teams Maine and Howard, but the 217 yards the Seminoles gained against BC were the fewest for FSU since 2011.
”You know they’re going to be physical. You know they’re going to be tough, and possessions are going to be at a premium because they like to run the ball and control the clock,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. ”You know we’re going to have to take advantage of it every time we have the football. If we have a lot of three-and-outs, this will not be a good football game.”
Here are some other things to look for when the Demon Deacons visit Chestnut Hill:
SIGNAL-CALLERS: BC lost starting quarterback Darius Wade after he broke his ankle against Florida State on Sept. 18. John Wolford started the season for Wake Forest but aggravated an ankle injury against Army, skipped one game and then came off the bench and threw one pass against Florida State last week
”He’s starting to practice a little bit, and he looks like he’s starting to feel better,” Clawson said this week.
Freshman Kendall Hinton started against Indiana and the Seminoles, both losses. In those two games, he was 46 for 88 for 460 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
YOUTH: Whatever problems the Demon Deacons have, Clawson hopes they are temporary.
”Every game, we’re starting six freshmen, and in some cases seven freshmen,” he said. ”We’ve just got to keep this thing on an upward trajectory and find a way to win close games against good football teams. We’re improving in every way except the win column right now, and ultimately that’s what it comes down to.”
IMPROVED OFFENSE: Wake Forest has rushed for seven touchdowns in five games. The Demon Deacons finished 2014 with four TDs on the ground. They’ve also thrown for more yards than their opponent in every game. The offensive line should get a boost with the return of left guard Ryan Anderson, who had been suspended for five games for a team rules violation.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Boston College missed eight extra points last year – one in the Pinstripe Bowl, which the Eagles lost 31-30 to Penn State. This year, BC has made all 16 of its PATs, but there are still problems in the kicking game.
Addazio has tried only four field goals, and Alex Howell and Colton Lichtenberg are each 1 for 2; the longest field goal made by a BC kicker is 31 yards. Addazio said Howell is hurt so he will be limited to punting. That means Lichtenberg, a freshman, will do the kicking – for now.
”Right now that we are going with Colton. Is that a permanent thing? Nothing’s permanent,” the coach said. ”You’ve got to live with growing pains with these guys and make the determination of whether they are growing pains and will they get there. Those are all the things. You don’t base it off of one kick.”
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary contributed to this story from Winston-Salem, N.C.