The strength of BC's defense is easily in its linebackers. Middle linebacker Steele Divitto leads the team with 107 tackles, five of which have come for a loss. The 6-foot-2, 237-pound senior is one of the defensive leaders and with Arizona running plenty, he is a good bet to lead the Eagles in tackles yet again.
Another linebacker, 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior Kevin Pierre-Louis is second in tackles with 104. He is more aggressive than Divitto and has 10.5 tackles for loss, including six sacks. If BC is able to get pressure on B.J. Denker, a lot of it is going to be because of Pierre-Louis.
The third linebacker is not coincidentally the third leading tackler on the team, as 6-foot-0, 249-pound sophomore Steven Daniels has 85 tackles with 6.5 for loss.
On the defensive line, the story is Kasim Edebali. The 6-foot-3, 246-pound senior defensive end has 62 tackles with a remarkable 15 for loss and 9.5 sacks. He has also broken up five passes and does a good job of getting tips at the line.
Arizona's offensive line is going to have its hands full with Edebali, as he is among the best defensive linemen that the Wildcats have seen all season.
Boston College has solid corners, led by 5-foot-11, 177-pound junior Manuel Asprilla. The Eagles like to blitz him off the corner sometimes, which is why he has seven tackles for loss. Asprilla also has two interceptions and might be the biggest playmaker in the secondary.
Sophomore Bryce Jones is a 6-foot-1, 166-pound sophomore that lines up at corner on the other side. He also has two interceptions and, in general, Boston College is capable of defending the pass.
Free safety Sean Sylvia has 63 tackles on the season, but is more of a solid player than he is a playmaker. That isn't a knock on him, but he just is not the type to make a game-changing play.
Boston College's defense is an interesting case, because the schedule allows for some misleading stats.
Against teams like Villanova and Wake Forest, the defense did well, allowing 14 and 10 points. However, it also allowed 35 points to USC while still under Lane Kiffin, 34 to North Carolina, 34 to Syracuse, and 34 to New Mexico State.
Players to Watch:
#91, DE Kasim Edebali: We highlighted him above, but Arizona needs to account for him on every down. Denker is mobile enough to get away, but Edebali is a strong pass rusher that has the potential to give Arizona fits.
#9, SS Dominique Williams: The strong safety has been inconsistent this season, but he is capable of getting in there and making important tackles. He may not be a game changer, but could be a guy to keep an eye on.
#17, CB Bryce Jones: Jones likes to try to strip the ball and has caused three fumbles this season. He has good size for a corner and with Arizona's smaller receivers, will try to use that to his advantage.
Keys to the Game:
1. Be aggressive early: Boston College is not really made to be down early, so Arizona needs to try to get an early lead. If it can make the Eagles come from behind, the chances of winning increase dramatically.
2. Run the ball: Everybody knows this is what Arizona is going to be trying to do, but it's still a key to the game. Arizona is not winning a passing game, so Ka'Deem Carey needs to be established early.
3. Keep Denker comfortable: As long as Denker is not rushing things, Arizona will be fine. If that means rolling him out left or creating short passes for him, that is what the coaching staff needs to do.