What to find out about Thursday’s Fenway Bowl: How does BC stack up towards SMU?

Faculty Sports activities

The Eagles are hoping to finish an up-and-down season on a successful be aware. Ken McGagh for The Boston Globe

The Boston Faculty soccer group has an opportunity to finish a seesaw season on a excessive be aware when it welcomes Southern Methodist to city Thursday for the Fenway Bowl.

Right here’s what to know because the Eagles (6-6) face the No. 17 Mustangs (11-2) at 11 a.m. at Fenway Park.

The fundamentals

BC began the season 1-3, ripped off 5 straight wins, then misplaced three straight. SMU began 2-2 and is at present on a nine-game win streak.

The Eagles are aiming for his or her first seven-win season since 2018. The Mustangs are pursuing their first 12-win season since 1935. BC is enjoying in its first bowl sport since 2019 and hoping to win its first since 2016. SMU performed in a bowl sport final 12 months and is in search of its first win since 2012.

As of Tuesday, the Mustangs had been favored by 10½ factors, and the over/below was 49½. The sport will air on ESPN.

“Will probably be a terrific problem to play a ranked group,” BC coach Jeff Hafley stated. “Our guys are enthusiastic about it.”

Keys for BC

1. Present versatility on offense.

The Eagles are sixteenth within the nation with 4.59 yards per carry and nineteenth with 193.5 speeding yards per sport. On the flip aspect, they’re 104th in passing yards per sport with 189.2.

In opposition to a potent SMU protection that has allowed the Eleventh-fewest yards per sport within the nation (299.5), BC should strike a steadiness between doing what it does finest and conserving the Mustangs sincere.

Keep watch over receivers Lewis Bond (7 TDs), Dino Tomlin, and Jaedn Skeete. Hafley stated it’s truthful to anticipate some new wrinkles. These few weeks allowed the Eagles to position added emphasis on the passing sport and construct extra continuity between quarterback Thomas Castellanos and the receivers.

“He’s acquired an opportunity to be particular,” Hafley stated of Castellanos. “I feel we’re solely seeing the very floor of it.”

Castellanos stated he felt like he was in “survival mode” all season as a result of he got here in late, and he’s keen to make use of this sport as a springboard for future success.

“I can’t depart, however why depart?” Castellanos stated. “That is the college that gave me a possibility to come back in and present the world what I can do. They think about me.”

2. Management the clock.

The Eagles are at their finest once they maintain lengthy drives and tire the opposing protection out. With Logan Taylor, Kyle Hergel, Drew Kendall, Christian Mahogany, and Ozzy Trapilo anchoring a sturdy offensive line, anticipate a gradual dose of working backs Kye Robichaux and Alex Broome.

BC is 6-2 when successful the time-of-possession battle and 0-4 when shedding it. In opposition to Syracuse and Connecticut, the Eagles possessed the ball for greater than 40 minutes. Dealing with a group with splash-play potential, it’s crucial that the Eagles maintain the SMU offense off the sphere.

“As we glance again, these previous couple of video games sort of slipped away from us just a little bit,” BC linebacker Kam Arnold stated. “We’ve simply acquired to get again to our fundamentals.”

Keys for SMU

1. Put together to play 4 downs.

BC has probably the most fourth-down conversions (28) and makes an attempt (37), and the seventh-best success fee (75.7 p.c). When the Eagles have the ball across the SMU 35 with 5 yards or fewer to go, Hafley gained’t hesitate.

Linebacker Kobe Wilson (74 tackles), defensive finish Elijah Roberts (9.5 sacks), and security Isaiah Nwokobia (4 interceptions) are catalysts for the Mustangs.

2. Belief what’s labored.

The Mustangs are 11-2 for a cause. Even with dynamic beginning quarterback Preston Stone out with a damaged left fibula, the offense remains to be potent with backup Kevin Jennings.

“I feel it’s about the identical,” Arnold stated. “They do a variety of tempo. The backup, he’s fairly good. He is likely to be simply nearly as good.”

Jaylan Knighton (7 speeding TDs) and RJ Maryland (7 receiving TDs) are two names to know.

Defensively for BC, anticipate linebacker Vinny DePalma (87 tackles) and defensive finish Donovan Ezeiruaku to make their presence felt.

And so forth.

Brett Miller, govt director of the Fenway Bowl, stated the sport presents a glimpse into an ACC matchup for years to come back.

There can be a free FanFest throughout the road at Home of Blues from 8-10:45 a.m. Through the sport, 30 educators, directors, and workers who’ve made a distinction of their neighborhood can be honored.

As for the sport itself, Miller stated “you’ll be able to’t beat” watching soccer at Fenway Park 20 or 30 ft from the motion.

“It is a neighborhood platform that we’re constructing,” Miller stated. “It’s the mechanism by which we do good and provides again. We wish New England to wrap their arms round this, prefer it has with so many different superb traditions.”