The Syracuse Orange get ready for a crucial Friday night matchup against the Boston College Eagles. I bet you didn’t think we’d be saying that at the start of the season, but times have greatly changed. Now, Syracuse needs a key win over one of its new/old protected opponents in Boston College to restore some faith in the program before a Yankee Stadium clash next week. Before all that, however, is a return to the Dome.
And as a surging BC comes to Central New York, we ask our friends at BC Interruption to answer some questions. Kieran Wilson was kind enough to provide the responses, and our answers to his burning questions can be found here.
(Author’s note: This Q&A was done before the ACC announced the revised future schedule so we didn’t get a chance to ask how they feel that the Orange and Eagles will still play each other every year)
TNIAAM: From an outsider perspective, BC didn’t start the season all too hot after the loss to Northern Illinois and the close win over Holy Cross. How have the Eagles turned that start around in their recent four-game winning streak?
Kieran Wilson: Yeah, the Eagles feel very far removed from their rocky start to the season, and I think a lot of it can be attributed to the rise of Thomas Castellanos. BC hasn’t had a playmaker like him at the QB position in a long time. With his scrambling ability, he opens up passing lanes, and he might be a bit underrated as a passer. Without the play of Castellanos, BC might be in a dark place right now.
TNIAAM: How is Jeff Hafley’s hot seat? Is it any cooler after BC’s recent run of wins?
Wilson: I think I’d describe it as lukewarm, but at the beginning of the season it was pretty dang hot. BC has 5 wins now, and at this point, it’s pretty likely that they’ll make it to a bowl game. Another bowl game berth would probably save Hafley’s bacon, and he’ll make it through yet another season. However, if they don’t make a bowl game, it might be time for a difficult conversation with Hafley.
TNIAAM: How significant is Thomas Castellanos’ injury? How does it affect the strengths and weaknesses of his game?
Wilson: I wish I knew more about the severity of his injury, but unfortunately, I don’t. I will say that he was hobbling a lot against UConn last week, and it clearly affected his ability to scramble. He operates best when he can work outside of the pocket, throw on the run, and scramble when the play breaks down. If he can’t get fully healthy for this game, the offense could struggle to move the ball.
TNIAAM: Kye Robichaux has shown up over the past two games. How important is he to the offense?
Wilson: Robichaux has been great the last two games, and it feels like he’s been underutilized for most of this season. If Castellanos remains hobbled, Robichaux will need to step up in the run game and take pressure off of the QB. Although, it might also just come down to playcalling because Robichaux hasn’t been a go-to back this year.
TNIAAM: After the blowout loss to Louisville, the BC defense hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in a game. What’s been the difference maker on that side of the ball?
Wilson: This might be somewhat surprising, but I don’t think the secondary has gotten enough credit in the last few weeks after they got torched by Louisville. Most people would probably argue that the secondary is the weak link of BC’s defense, but considering how well they’ve limited opponents since that Louisville game, I think the defensive backs should get a lot of credit. The defense has also forced 5 turnovers in the last five games, and that’s helped a lot. Additionally, the defense, and actually the team as a whole, has been better at limiting silly penalties that really killed BC early in the season.
TNIAAM: Who’s an unsung hero on both sides of the ball for BC?
Wilson: On offense, I’ll go with the entire offensive line. Their play hasn’t been perfect, but they’ve improved compared to last year and have done pretty well at protecting Castellanos from being sacked. On defense, I’ll pick senior defensive back, Elijah Jones, who leads the ACC in passes defended, is fourth in pass breakups, and is tied for the lead in interceptions with three.
TNIAAM: We really can’t have a college football conversation nowadays without talking about realignment and expansion. How are you and BC fans feeling about our new Cal, Stanford and SMU friends?
Wilson: Personally, I detest what TV money is doing to college football, but I’ll rant about that some other time. I honestly think the general feeling around ACC expansion/realignment among BC fans is that BC probably won’t be in the ACC much longer for it to matter. They simply do not have the resources, the fanbase, or an NIL collective that will keep them in the new-look ACC. With teams like Miami, FSU, and Clemson looking to leave anyway, it seems like BC might be relegated to a lesser conference sooner rather than later.
TNIAAM: Prediction time. Who’s excited for a Friday primetime game? Oh, and who’s winning?
Wilson: Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned Friday night football game? I think BC has the edge in this one, albeit a slight one. A lot hinges on the health of Thomas Castellanos. I’ll say BC walks out with a close win: BC 28 - Syracuse 27.
Once again, thanks to Kieran for answering our questions. Again, visit the BC Interruption site for a look at the game from their side and how we responded to their questions.