Injury-struck Boston College hosts CMU football

Senior wide receiver Mark Chapman attempts to catch a pass during the football game against Miami Ohio on Sept. 23 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

To avoid a three-game losing streak, the pressure is on for Central Michigan football team to pull out a win against Boston College this weekend.

Offensive Coordinator Chris Ostrowsky said the Chippewas have been focusing on eliminating small mistakes in practice in preparation for Saturday. The focus heading to Boston is starting out strong in the first quarter, he said.

“We worked really hard on Sunday to clean up our mistakes,” Ostrowsky said. “That is what Sunday is all about in regard to see if you played well or not. We really want to entertain the things that we can do to be better.”

On Saturday, CMU fell to Miami (Ohio) 31-14 in the first Mid-American Conference game of the season. The offense got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to overcome the early lead built by the RedHawks. 

The Chippewas (2-2) have lost to the Eagles(1-3) three times in the past 15 years. A win on Saturday would be the program’s first win in Alumni Stadium. 

The Atlantic Coast Conference team has one win against Northern Illinois earlier this season. Since then, BC lost to Wake Forest, Notre Dame and No. 2 ranked Clemson. 

Last Saturday, BC entered the fourth quarter against the defending national champions tied 7-7, but Clemson scored 27-consecutive points to come out with a win at its home field. 

Injury Report

Multiple Eagles went down with injury last week, including starting left tackle Aaron Monteiro and middle linebacker Max Richardson. BC center Jon Baker, outside linebacker Connor Strachan and wide receiver Charlie Callinan were all out with injury before the team faced Clemson.

“I am very concerned right now with the amount of injuries we have, and what we just took in this game,” BC head coach Steve Addazio said on Saturday after falling to Clemson. “I don’t know the extent of them right now, but we are losing an incredible amount of starters.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown was taken out of the game with an undisclosed condition, but Addazio said he was taking precautionary measures. 

The Eagles are undergoing significant depth issues because of the injuries piling up, Addazio said.

CMU faces similar injury problems. Tight end Logan Hessbrook is out with a concussion, senior wide receiver Corey Willis remains out with a broken wrist and senior tight end Tyler Conklin has yet to return from a foot injury during training camp. 

Senior wide receiver Mark Chapman is the only healthy wide out who started every game this season. Senior Eric Cooper has stepped up with a leadership role in the offense with Willis out for the next couple weeks and sophomore Brandon Childress out for the season with a knee injury. 

Running Backs

Ostrowsky said if something sticks out on the BC offense, it’s the running game. 

After losing Baker to a torn ACL against Northern Illinois, the Eagles were still able to stick with the run game without much depth in the offensive line. 

BC has three running backs — Jon Hilliman, AJ Dillon and Thadd Smith — who have combined for 518 rushing yards this season.

The Eagles average 15 points per game this season, which is good for No. 120 in the country. They have only registered 1,282 yards of total offense, ranking No. 101 in NCAA FBS (Division I-A).

Harold Landry's Defense

The BC defense is led by All-ACC defensive end Landry, who led the nation with 16.5 sacks last season. The NFL prospect has 20 tackles and one sack so far in 2017. 

“(Landry) is an outstanding player,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said. “He is obviously somebody we need to be aware of. He is a guy that we all are going to be watching on Sundays (in the NFL).”

The Boston College defense and offense, currently rank second to last in the ACC. On average, the defense has allowed 34.3 points per game this season. The Eagles have allowed 147.5 yards passing on average this season.

Addazio said leading tackler Strachan was out indefinitely with a knee injury before the Clemson game. There has been no update on his injury status. 

“(The Eagles) are well-coached,” Ostrowsky said. “They play with experience, they play fast and they are physical. We will have our work cut out for us.”

CMU quarterback Shane Morris may struggle to spread the ball around against the Eagles, who are known for their strong defense. 

CMU takes on Boston College at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.