Boston College Four Down preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-0) @ Boston College Eagles (0-0)

Photo: ESPN

Kickoff: The day has finally arrived. BC kicks off Jeff Hafley’s third season with an intriguing matchup against Rutgers on Saturday. Hafley and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano know each other well, and with expectations as high as they’ve been in a long time for the Eagles, this will be a good first test against a Big 10 opponent.

1st Down: Get Zay Flowers the ball early and often: We’ve heard for weeks – if not months – that Zay will be more involved. The new look offense with John McNulty calling plays should be more dynamic and explosive, but the only way to know for sure is to get the ball into the Eagles’ best play maker’s hands. It’ll be interesting to see just how much he touches the ball on Saturday in a number of different ways.

2nd Down: Will the O-line hit the ground running?: This is arguably the biggest question facing BC this season. This offensive line is young and fairly inexperienced. Christian Mahogany’s injury is a big one, but can Drew Kendall, Ozzy Trapillo, Jack Conley, Finn Dirstine, Jack Connelly and others make up the difference? If they can keep Phil Jurkovec upright this season, this offense could be as dangerous as any in the country.

3rd Down: BC needs more of a pass rush: Coach Hafley has talked at length about needing more pressure this season. The defense has quickly become one of top units in the country in terms of points against, but if the Eagles are going to be elite and contend for an ACC title this year, they need to make quarterbacks more uncomfortable with more consistency.

4th Down: Start fast: With all the hype surrounding this offense, it’ll be imperative for them to start fast. Getting up 14-0 or 17-0 on Rutgers early will not only get the crowd going early, but will ease the stress of some fans who are still scarred by some of the bad offenses this team has had in the last decade.

Extra Point: The line on this game has been BC -7 all week, but frankly this should be a blowout. If the Eagles are as good as we all think they can be this year, this is the type of game that should end somewhere along the lines of 35-17, if not more. Rutgers will play hard and Schiano will undoubtedly want to put a scare into his friend on the other sideline, but a statement win right out of the gate for BC would be huge.

Final Drive: The Eagles know that the time for talk is over. This is Hafley’s first “real” season after multiple seasons of Covid restrictions. This is Hafley’s first recruiting class, first real training camp and now, first real season opener. The days of 6-6 aren’t good enough anymore and this staff and roster are well aware of that fact. There’s a chip on their collective shoulder and hopefully it leads to good things this season.