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2019-2020 High School Bounce

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September 2020
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Boston College takes on Cincinnati in this afternoon’s Birmingham Bowl (Eagles Game Notes)


Legion Field in Birmingham aerial view (courtesy UAB)


For the 18th time in 21 seasons, Boston College will head to bowl season as the Eagles face No. 21 Cincinnati in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 2. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN. Kevin Brown (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst), and Dawn Davenport (sideline reporter) have the call.

Boston College looks for its first bowl win since a 36-30 victory over Maryland in the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. The Eagles became bowl-eligible their last time out with a 26-19 win at Pitt to end the regular season. Cincinnati looks for its 11th win of the season and its first against Boston College since 1997. The Bearcats lost to Memphis 29-24 in the American Athletic Conference championship game in their last game.

BC Goes Bowling
• The Eagles are 14-12 all-time in bowl games after the 27-20 loss to Iowa in the 2017 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Last season’s First Responder Bowl in Dallas was cancelled due to inclement weather in the first quarter with BC leading No. 23 Boise State 7-0.
• This year’s bowl appearance marks the fourth straight for Boston College and the sixth bowl trip in the previous seven seasons.
• The bowl will be the eighth all-time meeting between BC and Cincinnati and the first between the two schools since 1997. BC is 4-3 all-time against the Bearcats.
• The Eagles’ first postseason victory came in New Orleans at the 1941 Sugar Bowl … the year before, Boston College fell, 6-3, to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl in its first-ever bowl bid … BC went undefeated in 11 games in 1940 and refused to let Tennessee tarnish its perfect season … the 19-13 come-from-behind victory over a Volunteers squad that hadn’t lost a regular-season game in three years catapulted Boston College football to its best-ever finish and a claim on the national title … in Doug Flutie’s first full campaign as the Eagles’ signal caller, he led BC to the 1982 Tangerine Bowl, BC’s first taste of the postseason in 39 years … the last bowl prior the Eagles traveled to was the 1943 Orange Bowl, which resulted in a 37-21 loss to Alabama … after a one-point loss to Notre Dame in the 1983 Liberty Bowl, falling 19-18 to the hated Irish in 11-degree temperatures in Memphis, Flutie propelled BC to a 45- 28 1985 Cotton Bowl victory over Houston by throwing three touchdowns, leading the Eagles to their first postseason bowl win in 44 years … BC football began its eight-game bowl winning streak in 2000 at the Jeep Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a 31-17 win over Arizona State … the Eagles went on a postseason tear: winning eight bowl games in a row: 2001 Music City Bowl (BC 20, No. 16 Georgia 16); 2002 Motor City Bowl (BC 51, Toledo 25); 2003 San Francisco Bowl (BC 35, Colorado State 21); 2004 Continental Tire Bowl (BC 37, North Carolina 24); 2005 MPC Computers Bowl (BC 27, Boise State 21);  2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl (BC 25, Navy 24); 2007 Champs Sports Bowl (BC 24, Michigan State 21) … the final win of the eight-year postseason streak came in Orlando, Fla., at the Champs Sports Bowl.
nation’s longest bowl game win streak alive with a 24-21 victory … BC captured its first bowl win since 2007 with a 36-30 victory over Maryland in the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl.

Impressive Company
• Boston College is one of 14 Power Five teams to win seven or more games in 17 of the previous 20 seasons.
• The Eagles are the only school in the northeast to capture 7+ wins over 17 of the last 20 years.

Power Five Teams with 7+ Wins 17 of the Last 20 Years
Boston College
Ohio State
Florida State
Oklahoma State
Southern California

January Football
• Boston College will play for the seventh time in the month of January in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on January 2. All-time, the Eagles are 3-3 in January.
• BC is playing in January for the first time since a 20-13 loss to Nevada on January 9, 2011 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

BC All-Time in the Month of January
Opponent (Date), Result          Bowl
Nevada (1/9/11), L, 20-13        Kraft Fight Hunger
Virginia (1/1/94), W, 31-13        Carquest
Tennessee (1/1/93), L, 28-23   Hall of Fame
Houston (1/1/85), W, 45-28      Cotton
Alabama (1/1/43), L, 37-21      Orange
Tennessee (1/1/41), W, 19-13  Sugar

Back to Legion Field
• BC will play its first game in the state of Alabama since its 38-31 victory over No. 9 Alabama at Legion Field on Sept. 8, 1984. An ABC television audience watched as BC roared back from a 31-14 deficit for a thrilling 38-31 win over the Crimson Tide.
• Doug Flutie threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns while Troy Stradford scored on a 42-yard touchdown run with 3:26 remaining to clinch the upset victory for Boston College.

Homecoming for TJ
• Junior nose tackle TJ Rayam returns home to Alabama to play in Birmingham at Legion Field. A native of nearby Alabaster, this game has special meaning for Rayam and his family.
• His brother Jalen is a redshirt freshman linebacker at UAB. Legion Field is the home field for UAB during the regular season.
• His father Thomas was a standout offensive lineman at Alabama in the late 1980s and later played in the NFL. Thomas was a teammate of current Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney during their collegiate careers at Alabama. The Crimson Tide played several home games at Legion Field during Rayam’s career.

Former Eagle Leading the Way
• Interim head coach Rich Gunnell will guide the Eagles in the Birmingham Bowl vs. Cincinnati. Gunnell, a former Boston College standout wide receiver, just completed his fourth season as wide receivers coach at his Alma Mater.
• Gunnell was named interim head coach on December 1 after William V. Campbell Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond announced a change in leadership of the football program. Steve Addazio finished his tenure with a 44-44 record overall at Boston College in seven seasons, including a 22-34 mark in ACC play.

Dillon Declares for the NFL Draft
• Boston College junior running back AJ Dillon announced on Dec. 10 that he has elected to forego his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Dillon’s decorated career included becoming the all-time leading rusher and all-time leader in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in Boston College history.

• Dillon will not play in BC’s bowl game versus Cincinnati on January 2 in Birmingham, Ala.
• He leaves BC with 4,382 yards rushing, 38 rushing touchdowns along with 236 yards receiving and two receiving touchdowns. His 4,618 all-purpose yards are the most in Boston College history.
• For the third straight season, Dillon was named to the All-ACC first-team in 2019. The all-time leading rusher in Boston College history with 4,382 yards, Dillon is fourth nationally in rushing yards (1,685) and rushing yards per game (140.4) in 2019.
• His 14 career 150-yard rushing games were the most by any ACC player over the last 20 seasons (Lamar Jackson 13, Dalvin Cook 12).
• Dillon finishes his career 227 yards shy of the ACC record for career rushing yards. He leaves BC as the ACC’s fourth leading rusher in conference history with 4,382 rushing yards.
• His four career 200-yard rushing games rank fourth in ACC history while his 20 career 100-yard rushing games are tied for seventh in ACC history and second in BC history.
• Dillon is third nationally and leads the ACC with 4,382 career rushing yards among active players. Among the top 10 NCAA active career rushing leaders, Dillon has played in the fewest amount of games.
• The New London, Conn. native was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award in 2019.

Nine Eagles Named All-ACC
• Nine members of the Boston College football team were named to the 2019 All-ACC teams, the conference office announced on Dec. 3.
• For the third straight season, junior running back AJ Dillon was named to the All-ACC first-team. The all-time leading rusher in Boston College history with 4,382 yards, Dillon is third nationally in rushing yards (1,685) and rushing yards per game (140.4) in 2019.
• His 14 career 150-yard rushing games are the most by any ACC player over the last 20 seasons (Lamar Jackson 13, Dalvin Cook 12).
• Dillon is third nationally and leads the ACC with 4,382 career rushing yards. Among the top 10 NCAA active career rushing leaders, Dillon has played in the fewest amount of games.
• Graduate student John Phillips was named first-team All-ACC for the first time in his career. One of the highest rated offensive linemen for BC in 2019, Phillips was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week once this season.
• Phillips started all 12 games at right guard and played 932 snaps this season. His overall grade of 72.5 ranks second in the ACC among guards according to Pro Football Focus.
• His 87.3 pass block grade per PFF is the best of any ACC offensive guard. Phillips allowed just one sack and six QB hurries on 317 pass blocks this season.
• Three Eagles collected All-ACC second-team honors for the first time. Junior Zion Johnson was named to the All-ACC second-team at offensive guard after a standout first season at the Heights. Johnson finished as the highest-graded offensive linemen for BC in 2019.
• Johnson started six games, but played 90% of the snaps at left guard. A three-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week selection in 2019, Johnson was a key member of a BC offensive line that is fourth nationally in sacks allowed (0.92 per game) and seventh nationally in rushing offense (267.8 yards per game).
• Johnson has yet to allow a sack this season (0 sacks, one QB hit, five hurries) and has not allowed a QB pressure since the Syracuse game in week 10.
• Junior Ben Petrula captured All-ACC second-team honors at offensive tackle after collecting All-ACC honorable mention accolades a season ago.
• Petrula started all 12 games at right tackle, playing 890 snaps in 2019. He allowed just one sack in 311 pass attempts in 2019.
• The New Jersey native was one of the highest rated run blockers at tackle in the ACC according to Pro Football Focus.
• Redshirt junior Max Richardson earned All-ACC second-team honors after a productive 2019 campaign. It marked the first time in Richardson’s career he earned All-ACC accolades.
• Richardson leads the ACC in solo tackles and ranks third in the conference with 108 tackles. His 72 solo tackles rank fifth nationally.
• The Georgia native leads BC in tackles (108), TFLs (14.5) and sacks (3.5). He is 30th nationally with 14.5 TFLs and totaled five games with 10+ tackles in 2019.
• Two Eagles were named to the All-ACC third-team for the first time in their respective careers. Redshirt sophomore Alec Lindstrom was named All-ACC third-team center. In his first year as a starter, Lindstrom was a vital part of a BC offensive line that is fourth nationally in sacks allowed (0.92 per game) and seventh nationally in rushing offense (267.8 yards per game).
• He played 900 snaps at center, missing only one snap during the regular season when the starters were in the game.
• Redshirt sophomore tight end Hunter Long was named to the All-ACC third-team. Long’s 89.2 receiving grade from Pro Football Focus ranks first among ACC tight ends. Long totaled 26 receptions for 464 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 and averaged 17.8 yards per reception.
• A pair of Eagles were named All-ACC honorable mention as well for the first time. Sophomore running back David Bailey captured All-ACC honorable mention accolades after a breakout season.
• The Maryland native is seventh in the ACC with 73.2 rushing yards per game against ACC competition. Bailey is fifth in the ACC with six rushing touchdowns in ACC play.
• The power back averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the season and his 6.0 yards per carry in ACC games ranks second in the conference.
• Redshirt freshman Tyler Vrabel was named All-ACC honorable mention. One of the top freshmen in the nation, Vrabel was the starter in all 12 games at left tackle in 2019.
• Vrabel has not yielded a sack on 314 pass blocks in 2019 and allowed just one QB hit and eight hurries this season.
• His 81.7 pass block grade per Pro Football Focus ranks fourth among ACC tackles and he totaled six clean sheet performances (zero pressures allowed) during the regular season.

“The Buffalo Boys” Are The Nation’s Best 1-2 RB Duo
• Boston College features two of the most physical running backs in the country – 250-pound AJ Dillon and 240-pound David Bailey. The “Buffalo Boys” are first nationally with 2,501 combined rushing yards in 2019 for a pair of running backs. Only Oklahoma State’s duo of RB Chuba Hubbard and QB Spencer Sanders (2,561) have more combined rushing yards.
• Dillon and Bailey became the first two running backs in school history to run for 180+ yards in the same game in BC’s 45-24 victory over NC State. Dillon finished with 223 rushing yards and three touchdowns while Bailey added 181 yards rushing and two scores against the Wolfpack.
• The Buffalo Boys were the first BC teammates to rush for over 100 yards in the same game since Bailey (102) and Ben Glines (107) did so vs. Louisville on Oct. 13, 2018.
• Dillon and Bailey combined for 414 yards and five touchdowns in the 58-27 win at Syracuse on Nov. 2. Dillon totaled 242 yards and three scores while Bailey ripped off 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Orange.
• Prior to this season, the last time two Boston College running backs gained at least 150 yards on the ground in the same game: Oct. 18, 1997 in a 45-44 home loss to Miami. Omari Walker (185) and Mike Cloud (157).

O-Line U
• Most college football pundits predicted it would be a rebuilding year on the Boston College offensive line after losing a first-round pick in Chris Lindstrom along with multi-year starters in left tackle Aaron Monteiro and center Jon Baker.
• Despite the graduation of that trio of full-time starters along with co-starter Sam Schmal, the Eagles have been strong up front in 2019 with new starters at left tackle (Tyler Vrabel), left guard (Zion Johnson) and center (Alec Lindstrom).
• BC is third nationally with 0.92 sacks allowed per game in 2019. The Eagles are sixth nationally in rushing with 267.8 rushing yards per game.
• All five of BC’s starting offensive linemen were named All-ACC.

Max Effort
• Max Richardson is third in the ACC and ranks 29th nationally with 9.0 tackles per game in 2019. He leads BC with 108 total tackles, 72 solo stops, 14.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 3.5 sacks.
• Richardson is sixth nationally with 72 solo tackles this season.

Flowers in Full Bloom
• Zay Flowers wowed coaches and teammates from the first practice of preseason camp in August. It took the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native just three minutes into his first collegiate game to show the college football world his potential as well.
• Flowers ignited a BC offense that scored 28 first-half points in a 35-28 win over Virginia Tech.
• On BC’s first scoring drive, Flowers started the drive with a 16-yard rush and ended the drive with a 33-yard touchdown reception. The 33-yard touchdown was Flowers’ first career reception for the Eagles.
• He also added a 58-yard reception against the Hokies to finish with two receptions for 91 yards. He led BC with 116 all-purpose yards.
• The Eagles scored the second-most points in series history (28 games) against the Hokies. Only the 1993 BC team scored more against a Virginia Tech defense in a 48-34 victory.
• Flowers is averaging 7.6 yards per carry in 2019 and 15.5 yards per reception.

No Fly Zone
• Since the start of the 2017 season, Boston College is tied for seventh in the country with 46 interceptions. The opportunistic defense started the season right where they left off in 2018 with three picks in the Virginia Tech win on August 31 and two in the win over Richmond.
• BC has picked off at least one pass in 15 of the last 20 games.

Dennis the Menace
• Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dennis Grosel turned in the best performance of his young career in the 58-27 win at Syracuse.
• Grosel was the first BC quarterback to throw two TD passes of 50 yards or more since Matt Ryan (2007) with scoring strikes of 64 yards and 50 yards at Syracuse.
• Grosel completed 8 of 10 attempts for 193 yards (19.3 ypa), 3 TDs, 0 INTs and a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
• Versus pressure against the Orange, Grosel went 5 for 6 for 170 yards (28.3 ypa), 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Grosel’s overall grade from Pro Football Focus of 92.5 ranked first among QBs in the ACC for the  week and second overall in the nation among QBs with at least 10 attempts.
• Grosel’s 19.3 yards per attempt were the most for an FBS QB in week 10 with at least 10 attempts.

Playing the Nation’s Best
• Boston College is 31-111-1 all-time against ranked opponents, including an 0-3 mark in 2019.
• The Birmingham Bowl matchup against Cincinnati marks the first bowl game versus a ranked opponent for BC since the 2009 season versus Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Last season’s bowl vs. No. 23 Boise State was cancelled after BC led 7-0 in the first quarter due to inclement weather. The game was officially a no-contest.
• BC is 4-4 all-time against ranked opponents in bowl games. The last win for the Eagles against a ranked opponent in a bowl was a 20-16 victory over No. 16 Georgia in the 2001 Music City Bowl in Nashville.

Scouting Cincinnati
• Cincinnati is 10-3 overall and ranked No. 21 in the latest College Football Playoff Top 25. The Bearcats own wins on the season against UCLA (24-14), Miami of Ohio (35-13), Marshall (52-14), No. 18 UCF (27-24), Houston (38-23), Tulsa (24-13), East Carolina (46-43), UConn (48-3), USF (20-17) and Temple (15-13). The Bearcats only losses of the season came against No. 5 Ohio State (42-0) and to Memphis twice (34-24, 29-24 in the AAC title game).
• Cincinnati averages 29.0 points per game, 67th nationally. The Bearcats rank 85th in the country in total offense (385.0 ypg), 105th in passing offense (187.4 ypg) and 33rd nationally in rushing offense (197.6 ypg).
• On defense, Cincinnati ranks 52nd nationally in total defense (376.6 ypg), 30th in scoring defense (21.7 ppg), 49th in rushing defense (143.4 ypg) and 80th in passing yards allowed (233.2 ypg).



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