Boston College vs. N. Illinois: Game preview and where to watch


The Boston College Eagles take to the road to open their 2017 football season, squaring off against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

Opening weekend might not hold the biggest of opponents for the Boston College football team. When the Eagles kickoff on Friday night, though,  they will be staring across the field at a team in a similar position as them.

Head coach Steve Addazio and the Eagles will face the Northern Illinois Huskies of the MAC for just the third-time in school history.

The Huskies are coming off a 5-7 season in 2016. It was a season in which they failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 2008.

Both teams appear to be deep at the running back position, though the Eagles hold the advantage as far as experience goes. Senior Jordan Huff leads the way for the Huskies, but no other player has more than nine carries.

(Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

Northern Illinois cycled through four quarterbacks last season. Two of those quarterbacks are in line to see playing time for an offense that averaged over 460 yards per game in 2016.

Addazio is keeping his own two-quarterback strategy close to the vest. Look for the Eagles to take advantage of a Huskie defense that allowed 200 rushing yards per game last season.

Time, location and how to watch

  • Location: Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium  (Dekalb, Illinois)
  • Time: 9:30 PM (EST)
  • TV: CBSSports

3 players to watch: Boston College

Defensive end Harold Landry (No.7), he of a FBS-leading 16.5 sacks in 2016, is back for his senior year for the Eagles. Landry will be out to prove last season wasn’t a fluke and start 2017 off on the right foot. The offensive line of Northern Illinois will be a nice test for Landry. (More on that later.)

My two other players to watch are quarterbacks Darius Wade (No.4) and Anthony Brown (No.13). Even more intriguing is the fact Addazio said, when asked who the starter is responded, “I’m going to keep that plan with us right now.”

Related Story: Boston College Eagles: 2017 college football preview

My best guess is both players will see action. Both Wade, a graduate student, and Brown, a redshirt freshman, will be taking little on-field college game experience into the game. It will be interesting to see if Addazio rides with Wade or throws Brown into the fire.

I like the idea of both players getting equal time in a season-opening game, especially on the road. The atmosphere will hopefully allow both to get a chance to handle in-game pressure.

3 players to watch: N. Illinois

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The Huskies haven’t announced their starter at quarterback either. Their top two quarterbacks, junior Ryan Graham and sophomore Daniel Santacaterina, have a combined ten starts between them.

The player to watch, though, will be a man who they will be throwing to.

Senior tight end Shane Wimann (No.35) will be a key part of their offense. He had six touchdowns last season–a single season record for the Huskies–and had 24 receptions for 254 yards. Wimann will no doubt be a key factor in Friday’s game.

If the offense is successful, it will be partly because of an offensive line led by Max Scharping (No.73). He was part of a unit that returns two other starters and allowed only eight sacks in 2016.

Scharping is a 6’6, 320 pound redshirt junior who was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List. He was also the only member from the MAC to be named to the Freshman All-America team two season ago. Scharping and the Huskie offensive line will be a key match-up against Landry and the Eagles all night.

Cornerback Shawun Lurry (No.19) leads an experienced Northern Illinois secondary. Lurry has 12 career interceptions and gives me more reason to believe the Eagles will focus on their running attack.

Next: Boston College Eagles: Looking back at the 2007 season 10 years later


Look for this to be a defensive battle. Boston College gave fans a glimpse of an up-tempo offense in last season’s bowl win, but I think it will be back to basics here in game one.

That is to say it won’t be completely a grind-it-out affair. Boston College will have just enough spice in their offense to deliver a 27-21 victory over Northern Illinois.