A heated New England rivalry will resume on the gridiron after a more than decade-long hiatus Saturday, as the UConn football team travels north to take on Boston College with the hopes of snapping a four-game losing streak.
The road matchup marks the first game between the two schools since 2004, where the Eagles defeated the Huskies 27-7 in the rivalry’s only Big East matchup. BC owns a 10-0-2 record all-time in the series, with scoreless ties in 1908 and 1910.
“It’s a regional powerhouse. It’s a real highly competetiive environment and fairly local,” Diaco said of BC. “That’s pretty cool, and I think most people affiliated with UConn feel the same way…I think it’s awesome. I’d love to play them every year.”
In order to put the Huskies’ losing streak behind them, they’ll have to snap another streak indicative of their recent woes. In the team’s last 10 quarters of football, UConn has not scored a touchdown and has mustered just three total points. A touchdown or two at minimum will be necessary in order to grab the program’s first-ever win over BC and help try to end a failed season on a much higher note.
“I haven’t lost any heart or momentum,” Diaco said. “I don’t feel like there’s nothing to play for. I think that for this team to have the opportunity to compete against Boston College, for that senior class, is a very special opportunity.”
With true freshman Donovan Williams making just his second career start, the Huskies’ offensive attack may once again be stunted due to a BC defense that thrives on pressuring the quarterback. The Eagles rank 13th in the country in sacks with 31 this season and are led by defensive lineman Harold Landry, who has 11 total sacks on the year.
Landry and the rest of the defensive line are coached by former UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who has transformed the Eagles frontline into one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“It’s all pretty stout, fundamentally sound. Big, menacing [defensive] lineman, backers that run downhill,” Diaco said of the BC defense. “They really look like a formidable group, one of the better defenses statistically in the country.”
Aside from the daunting BC front line, Williams will continue to adjust to the collegiate game with one start and a bye week worth of practice under his belt. Williams certainly has the speed to evade defenders- best exemplified by his 43-yard run against Temple- but will need to throw the ball effectively enough to keep the Eagles from stacking the box. While the success may not happen right away, Diaco is adamant about the potential Williams has as a quarterback.
“The games seem to have slowed down for him a bit more, which is great,” Diaco said of Williams. “All things being equal, [Williams’ upside] will be as high as any other player at his position in America. He’s that talented. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s smart, he’s got an excellent arm, he’s got a good, quick release, he’s elusive in the pocket, enough to have escape ability and he’s also a big guy.”
UConn and BC will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The game will broadcast on the ACC Network and ESPN3.