By Mary Cunningham
When Penn State meets Boston College on Dec. 27 in Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl, it will be the 24th game between the two teams with Penn State holding a commanding (19-4) lead in the series.
Both possess strong defenses. Penn State (2nd) in the nation in total defense with 17.7 ppg and Boston College not far behind (11th) in the nation in total defense at 20.5 ppg.
“Their an interesting defense and he’s been this way for a long time. They don’t match personnel. What I mean by that is typically people will go to a three down front on a passing situation to get more defensive backs in the game. He will do it all the time,” says Penn State coach James Franklin.
“We’re all highly competitive. Friendships aside they want to beat us and we want to beat them. That’s the way it is. It’s a competitive world,” said BC coach Steve Addazio, the former Temple head man.
Of the four teams left in the national semifinals Penn State and Boston College have played two of them. The Nittany Lions losing to Ohio State in double overtime 31-24 and Boston College coming up a little bit short losing to Florida State 20-17. On paper it seems like an equal match-up. Vegas favoring Boston College by four.
“There are times where we didn’t do enough things that it took to win the game. Whether it be closing it out in the two-minute situation against Illinois or playing well in the red zone against Ohio State,” said Bob Shoop.
Tyler Murphy the BC quarterback is a dual threat over 1,000 yards rushing and 1,600 yards thru the air. His feature back is Jon Hilliman.
“They’re a great opponent. Quarterback can run really well. They do a lot of things with their running backs and I think there a mix between Michigan State and Maryland,” said Mike Hull.
Christian Hackenberg’s 2,600 yards passing netted only 8 touchdowns. The Penn State line allowed 42 sacks and Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton combine to rush for over 1,100 yards.
“We don’t have a true exceptional veteran difference maker to try to get him the ball. So we have to do whatever we have to do per defense per week,” said John Donovan.
BC and Penn State kick Saturday December 27th at 4:30pm.