The question of Year 1 was could Jags win with TOB’s players. The question of Year 2 is can Jags win despite the gaps TOB left behind. We start getting answers Saturday night.
Kent State is an ideal team to start the season. While technically a road game, the game will be played in the Browns Stadium in Cleveland. The setting has two advantages:
1. Our players are more familiar with big stages.
2. If the game is close, the half-filled, sanitized environment won’t have the same intensity that Kent State would generate at their home field.
I hope the team uses this as a nice building block to start a memorable campaign.
Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. “Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis is really short.” Jarvis is 5’5 and looks even smaller when surrounded by his fellow DIA football players. Although he was not highly recruited, Jarvis was far from a under the radar high school player. He tore up the Pittsburgh Catholic League. Big programs were reluctant to give him a shot because he was so small. However, the MAC Thumbelina’s size won’t matter after kickoff. Kent State will either move the ball or they won’t…regardless of his size. My fear is we’ll be hearing how small he is the whole game.
Three simple keys
1. Contain Jarvis. Kent State isn’t expected to air it out. If we stop Jarvis (say hold him to less than 70 yards), we should control the tempo and scoring.
2. Establish the run. Although we had a few games where the team broke 100 yards on the ground last year, it was never easy or methodical. I would like to see us use a combination of the zone-stretch run, a few Crane options and a draw or two to get some confidence in the running game. Our offensive line style is supposed to excel in running the ball. We need to start leveraging that scheme this weekend.
3. Protect the ball. The turnover stories from the scrimmages gave me indigestion. Let’s hope it is out of the system. Each time we turn it over it will be a confidence blow to us and a boon for the Flashes.
-- BC is 8-2 in their last ten season openers
-- BC is 3-4 in games played in Ohio
-- BC has only lost once to a MAC team (I don't count Temple or Buffalo's preMAC days)
The current line is BC-10
There are now 120 schools playing DIA football. By checking Kent State off the list, BC will have played 64 of them.
The team we need to follow will be Georgia Tech. But there game is Thursday. So on Saturday pay attention to the Central Florida score. They are just around the corner and it will be interesting to see if their offense takes a step back.
I hope to see…
A conservative, well-played game with mistake free special teams. This doesn’t have to be a message game. Just get out of Cleveland with a clean win.
BC is in trouble if…
Crane turns the ball over early. Matt Ryan threw a pick 6 to start last season. We still won. If Crane does it here, I think the hole will be a little deeper.
Last year’s opener told us a lot about Jags, Matt Ryan and the season we were about to have. I think this game might tell us as much about this year’s team. Let’s hope it is a solid start. There is no reason BC should lose. We have more talent, experience and have a coaching edge (the master-pupil dynamic with Logan and Martin). I think the defense contains things and while the offense won’t look like Matt Ryan, they play well enough for BC to control the game.
Final Score: BC 27, Kent State 13