Missouri passing attack figures to test BC’s defense

NCAA Football

Connor Bazelak and the Missouri Tigers look to carry over their momentum from a convincing victory last weekend into their road matchup with nonconference opponent Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., on Saturday.

Missouri (2-1) blew out in-state foe Southeast Missouri State 59-28 last Saturday behind a big day from Bazelak and the Tigers’ aerial attack. The sophomore quarterback threw for a season-high 346 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-30 passing.

It was a bounce-back effort for the Tigers after falling 35-28 at Kentucky in their Southeastern Conference opener one week prior. Bazelak had four TD tosses in the game, but also threw a costly third-quarter interception that led to a Wildcats touchdown.

The Tigers rank third in the SEC in total yardage, averaging 513.7 yards per game. Defensively, however, Missouri is allowing a conference-worst 455.7 yards per game.

This marks the first time Missouri will face an Atlantic Coast Conference team since beating North Carolina 41-24 in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26, 2011. The Tigers are 5-4 all-time against ACC opponents.

“Any time (a nonconference team is) playing against an SEC opponent, you’re going to get their best effort and their best shot. I mean, it’s the best conference in college football for a reason,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “It’s going to be a much different opponent with a much different skill set, much bigger.”

Boston College (3-0) has opened the season with three consecutive victories against nonconference opponents. Last Saturday, the Eagles put together a complete effort in a 28-3 win at Temple.

Three different running backs scored touchdowns as the Eagles outrushed the hosts 179-84. BC’s defense — which ranks No. 6 overall in the country while allowing 10.3 points per game — recorded four sacks while keeping the Owls out of the end zone.

In their first game without starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec, senior Dennis Grosel completed 7-of-15 passes for 59 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Jurkovec, a redshirt junior, is sidelined after undergoing hand surgery and could miss the remainder of the season.

It was a run-heavy gameplan for the Eagles as Grosel continues to get acclimated in the offense. In the teams’ 45-28 win at UMass on Sept. 11, Grosel threw for 199 yards and a TD on 11-of-14 passing in the Eagles’ second of three tune-up games.

“We’re just going to open the playbook back up to stuff we know how to do and let it fly,” Grosel said. “We’re facing a better opponent. We still have a lot of stuff in our back pocket. Probably 75 percent of our stuff we haven’t even shown yet, and it’s good stuff.”

It is the first-ever meeting between the Tigers and Eagles, who are 14-20-1 all-time against SEC teams. Missouri is the first SEC opponent to travel to face Boston College since the Eagles hosted Tennessee on Oct. 31, 1987. BC has not faced an SEC team since its Music City Bowl matchup against Vanderbilt on Dec. 31, 2008.

–Field Level Media

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