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2022 Football Preview: Early Look at Boston College vs. Rutgers

Eagles open their season in September against a Big Ten foe.
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Boston College begins the season with a matchup against former Big East foe Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, led by Greg Schiano ended their season with an unexpected Gator Bowl trip in 2021 after Texas A&M gave up their spot due to COVID-19 concerns. This is a program that is in much better shape than when BC last played the Knights in 2019. Schiano is recruiting at a higher level with the 33rd ranked class in '22, and his efforts should pay dividends in the future. The game is set for Sept 3rd in Chestnut Hill, with a noon kickoff. 

2021 records
Rutgers: 5-8 (2-7 B1G)
Boston College: 6-6 (2-6 ACC)

Historical Record:

Boston College leads the series 21-6, and have an eleven game winning streak dating back to 1992.

Lots of Connections between these Two Rosters

Boston College and Rutgers, and the staff themselves are very heavily connected. Jeff Hafley worked with Schiano at Tampa Bay and at Rutgers where he was the defensive backs coach. Also with his history is defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu was a graduate assistant for the Scarlet Knights, offensive coordinator John McNulty was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Steve Shimko was a graduate assistant. Savon Huggins, now the running backs coach was one of Rutgers highest ranked recruits, and a New Jersey legend before he headed to Piscataway. 

Rutgers have a trio of former Boston College players that transferred to the squad. Offensive linemen Ireland Brown, Mike Ciaffoni and tight end and former QB Johnny Langan.

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Hit The Portal Hard

Rutgers clearly wanted help on the offensive line, as they went out and grabbed four linemen in the transfer portal this offseason. But it was the skill players that could be the biggest impact for RU. Wide receivers Sean Ryan (Penn State) and Taj Harris (Syracuse) could give the Knights a potent pairing for quarterback Gavin Wimsatt or Noah Vendral. Harris especially should be a name to watch. When he last played Boston College in 2020, he had 7 catches for 61 yards. He could be the most dangerous weapon for the Scarlet Knights. 

Passing Defense Woes in '21

Units can change from year to year, and of course they can progress, but it is important to note that Rutgers allowed 257 yards per game against Big Ten opponents in 2021. In their season finale against Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl, the group allowed 304 yards. In terms of pass rush, both the Eagles and Knights had similar struggles getting to the quarterback. RU finished the season with 23 sacks in 13 games, while BC had 21 in 12 games. 

How the Knights do against a healthy Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers could be the storyline of the game. But RU should also be a solid test for BC's offensive line that is replacing all five starters from 2021. 

Game outlook

While Rutgers is certainly heading in the right direction, they are still a few years away at some key positions. Boston College has the advantage on both sides of the ball, with the only big question mark being the Eagles inexperienced offensive line. If they can have a solid game, and Phil Jurkovec can move the ball up and down the field like he is very capable of doing, the Eagles should be able to grab the win.