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Syracuse football: what to watch for vs Boston College

Northeast rivals collide

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (4-4, 0-4) and Boston College Eagles (5-3, 2-2) renew their rivalry tomorrow night in an important game for both squad’s bowl hopes. More importantly for Dino Babers and Jeff Hafley, who have spent this fall switching between the hot seat and job security. The winner of this game takes a big step forward while the loser will have a lot of uncertainty in the final month.

Here’s what we’re watching for:

Kevin: Contain Castellanos

BC’s quarterback Thomas Castellanos leads the Eagles with 673 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns. He’s averaging close to 300 yards of total offense and his ability to make plays is why the Eagles are one game away from bowl eligibility. Syracuse’s defense has struggled the last month, so they are going to have to play disciplined football to slow down the BC quarterback. If Castellanos approaches 100 yards rushing it will be another disappointing result for the Orange.

Mike: Show Some Spark

The SU offense has been completely uninspiring their last three games and while the Mob should get a little boost back in front of the Dome crowd, it won’t matter if the other side of the ball can’t match their energy. I don’t care how it’s done or how creative Jason Beck needs to get, ‘Cuse needs to work with what they have available and at least move the chains some early on.

Dom: Start fast or be last

We know the drill with how the Orange have fallen in its first four ACC games: incredibly slow starts with almost no room to dig out of. Especially with the offense, which has struggled mightily for the last month, can’t let Boston College win the possession game and wear out the defense. This Friday is Family Weekend, and it just so happens to be the most attended game of the season so far. Use the crowd as an advantage, and don’t let the Eagles steal the spotlight.

Max: Make the right option reads

Boston College has the third-worst rushing defense in the ACC, allowing over 164 yards per game on the ground. If Syracuse wants to get back in the win column, it’ll have to get its rushing attack going however it can. One of the more efficient ways is through the read option, where Garrett Shrader makes the decision of handing the ball off to LeQuint Allen or taking it himself. There’s just so much uncertainty going on with SU’s offense right now, I vote to keep it simple and run from most down and distances. It’s then up to Shrader to make the right decisions.

Steve: Control the edge

Both offensively and defensively, the edge of the line has been an issue for the Orange. If the defense can control the off tackle run, and maintain contain on the quarterback if he starts trying to use his feet, they should have some better luck. If the tackles can keep Shrader from being flushed too early against what should be a manageable defensive front, it may give him some time to get his head back under him at game speed and see some of these reads that have been missing these last few weeks.

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That’s what we’re watching for, what will you be focused on tomorrow night?