FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Pittsburgh 1-0, BC 0-0. Away Record: Pittsburgh 0-0, BC 0-0. Neutral Record: Pittsburgh 0-0, BC 1-0. Conference Record: Pittsburgh 0-0, BC 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 16-13.
GAME NOTES: Former Big East foes clash in the ACC-opener for both squads, as the Pittsburgh Panthers hit the road to take on the Boston College Eagles in a Friday night showdown at Alumni Stadium.
Paul Chryst's Panthers opened the 2014 campaign with a resounding 62-0 shutout of FCS foe Delaware in week one. Pittsburgh will be looking for a much better run through the ACC this season, after their debut campaign in 2013 resulted in a mere 3-5 conference mark.
Steve Addazio's Eagles also opened the 2014 season with a strong victory, topping New England rival Massachusetts, 30-7 in a game played in Foxboro, Mass. Addazio led the Eagles to a winning season last year (7-6), his first with the program, including a 4-4 mark in the ACC.
This marks the 30th all-time meeting between these two teams. Pittsburgh holds a 16-13 series advantage, with an even split of games played in Chestnut Hill (7-7). The Panthers have won three straight in a series that dates back to 1959. Two of those victories came in overtime decisions (2002, 2004).
Pittsburgh fields one of the youngest teams in the ACC, but that youth served them well in the opener, as they ran over, through and around the Blue Hens. The Panthers amassed a whopping 409 yards rushing, the highest single-game rushing total since Tony Dorsett led the charge for the team in the mid-1970s.
A trio of sophomores highlight the Panther attack. Chad Voytik lines up under center and will have far more productive days than he had in the opener. With the ground game doing the majority of the damage, Voytik completed just 9- of-13 passes, for 84 yards, but did throw for two touchdowns in the lopsided win. One of those TD strikes was to All-American candidate Tyler Boyd. The 6-2 sophomore had just two catches in the game.
The player of the game offensively though, was sophomore tailback James Connor. The 6-2, 250-pound bruiser, rumbled for 153 yards and four TDs in the win. Rachid Ibrahim (91 yards) and Chris James (77 yards, two TDs) got into the act as well with their strong running.
While the Pittsburgh offense collected 28 first downs against Delaware, the defensive unit yielded just five to the Blue Hens. In all, Delaware managed just 64 yards of total offense (33 rushing and 31 passing). In addition, the stop unit recorded seven TFL, two sacks and three INTs.
A pair of sophomores paced the defensive unit, as safety Ryan Lewis led the way with six tackles. Linebacker Mike Caprara was right behind with five stops.
Boston College's offense has had some turnover since last year. Gone is 2,000- yard rusher and Doak Walker Award winner Andre Williams in the backfield, as well as veteran QB Chase Rettig under center. The new look Eagles will be paced this season by Florida transfer Tyler Murphy. The senior signal-caller made his presence felt in both aspects of the offense against the Minutemen, leading an offense that churned out 511 total yards, including 338 on the ground. Murphy rushed for 118 yards and one TD, while passing for 173 yards and another score.
Sophomore tailback Tyler Rouse was effective running the football as well, posting 87 yards in the win, while junior WR Dan Crimmins (7 catches, 52 yards) and longtime backup QB Josh Bordner (4 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD) led the way in the passing game. It marked Bordner's first-ever appearance at wide receiver.
The BC defense did a solid job as well in the victory, holding UMass to just 202 yards of total offense, including a mere 55 on the ground. The squad finished with three sacks and four TFL in the win, and recorded one interception.
Linebacker Sean Duggan led the way with six total tackles. Fellow LBs Josh Keyes and Steven Daniels tallied four stops each, while defensive back Justin Simmons had a sack and the lone interception.
The Eagles did a nice job against the run in the opener, but will be pushed to the limit by the Panthers and the dynamic Connor. Despite being home for this one, Boston College could be on the wrong end of a close battle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 24, Boston College 20
Game Date and Time
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