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Mizzou opponent preview: Boston College

Mizzou’s third game of the season will be against Boston College, marking their first Power-4 opposition of the season.
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The Eagles will be a familiar foe for Missouri, as the two faced off in 2021. It was a dramatic meeting that saw Harrison Mevis nail a 56-yard field goal to force overtime. But Boston College scored a touchdown in the extra period and a Connor Bazelak interception sealed Mizzou’s 41-34 defeat.

So who will the Tigers be going up against as they try to get revenge?

Head Coach

Bill O’Brien is the man tasked to get the Eagles winning again, and yes it is the Bill O’Brien that you are thinking of. O’Brien started his coaching career by making stops at schools like Georgia Tech, Brown, Maryland and Duke before being hired by the New England Patriots in 2007. O’Brien spent six seasons in New England and was tasked with the play-calling duties for four of those.

In 2012 O’Brien left New England and was hired to be Penn State’s head coach. He spent two seasons in Happy Valley amassing a 15-9 record before being lured back to the NFL to be the Houston Texans head coach.

During six full seasons in Houston O’Brien led them to four AFC South titles and winning a playoff game in 2016 and 2019. In 2019 the Texans had a 24-0 lead over the Chiefs before losing 51-31 to the eventual Super Bowl champions.

O’Brien was fired four games into the 2020 season after the Texans started 0-4, and then had a two-year stop as Alabama’s offensive coordinator before taking over the play-calling duties again for the Patriots last season.

Now O’Brien is back coaching his hometown team, but who are his difference makers?

Quarterback

Thomas Castellanos will be the Eagles starting quarterback this season. The dual threat QB struggled passing last season only throwing for 2,248 yards. However, he ran for 1,113 yards which is the most for a quarterback in Boston College history and became the first QB in BC history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000.

Castellanos will hope O’Brien’s offensive mind will help him take a step forward.

Running Backs

Running back Kye Robichaux, a returning starter, will have a new backfield partner with Kansas State transfer Treshaun Ward. Robichaux started 8 games in 2023 rushing for 780 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 163 carries averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Ward had 124 carries, 643 yards and five touchdowns last season for the Wildcats. When you add Castellanos’ legs to the running back tandem, the Eagles will pose a threat on the ground.

Pass Catchers

Kamari Morales is a tight-end transfer from North Carolina. Morales is the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in tight end touchdowns and had 11 catches for 158 yards last season.

Jerrand Bradley is a 6’5″ transfer from Texas Tech and will be a big body in the red zone.

The real playmaker for the Eagles is Lewis Bond. Bond has a knack for making a big play and had 52 receptions for 646 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Defense

Tim Lewis is the new defensive coordinator for the Eagles and he will be tasked with transforming a defense that finished near the bottom of the nation in several important categories such as points allowed and sacks.

Edge rushers Donovan Ezeiruaku and Neto Okpala will be expected to create more pressure this year. Ezeiruaku had 55 tackles and two sacks last season while Okpala had two sacks and 17 tackles.

The Eagles got an important influx of cornerback talent with the transfers of Ryan Turner from Ohio State, and Bryquice Brown from Georgia State.

Kam Arnold will be entering his fifth season of college football and will be leading the linebacker corps. Arnold had 65 tackles and a sack last season and a sack.