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Virginia Tech Football: Previewing The Boston College Offense

How will the Hokies handle an offensive unit that is centered around a mobile, dual-threat quarterback?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Day

Scoring Offense: 87th nationally (26.8 PPG)

Passing Offense: 123rd nationally (134.4 YPG)

Rushing Offense: 11th nationally (277 YPG)

Quarterback:

The offense of Boston College leans heavily on dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy. Murphy took the reigns of the Eagles offensive unit after transferring from the Florida Gators for his senior season. Murphy started six games for the Gators a season ago in place of the injured Jeff Driskel. However, instead of returning to Gainesville he opted to rejoin Boston College head coach Steve Addazio, who recruited the quarterback as the offensive coordinator of Florida.

Murphy isn't regarded as a prolific passer, and his stat line bears that out. This season he has completed only 55.8% of his passing attempts (86 of 154), for 1,034 yards. Murphy is even in the touchdown and interception categories, having thrown six apiece.

However, two strengths of Murphy are his pocket presence and his ability to run, run, and then run some more. Through eight games Murphy leads the Eagles with 843 ground yards on 113 attempts, and eight rushing touchdowns. Containing Murphy on the ground will prove a tall order for the Virginia Tech run defense, already punch-drunk unit against mobile quarterbacks this season.

So far in 2014 opposing game plans have had success riding one player against the Hokies until their defense is beaten into submission. Two weeks ago it was Pittsburgh quarterback Chad Voytik, and last week running back Duke Johnson was the heavy lifter in Miami's rout of Virginia Tech. Saturday Boston College will obviously turn to Murphy to fill the role of a one man offensive juggernaut, a familiar position for the quarterback since arriving in Chestnut Hill.

Running backs:

While Murphy leads Boston College in a slew of rushing categories, he is not the only ground threat for the Eagles offense. A committee of running backs has helped push the Eagles to the doorstep of a top 10 rushing offense in 2014. Freshman Jon Hilliman's role with the Eagles wasn't defined entering summer camp, but he has emerged as a top backfield threat through eight games this season. Hilliman has a modest 572 rushing yards on 135 attempts, but leads Boston College in rushing touchdowns with nine. In the Eagles win over Wake Forest this past weekend Hilliman broke the 100 yard rushing mark, and added two touchdowns.

The Boston College backfield also features versatile sophomore Myles Willis, who has rushed 64 times for 320 yards, and a touchdown this season. Sophomore Tyler Rouse and freshman Marcus Outlow have also contributed to the success of the running game, combining for 254 yards on 55 caries with two touchdowns.

Receivers:

Limitation's on the arm of Murphy, and the team's heavy reliance on the running game has buried the Eagles passing offense near the bottom of college football at 123rd in the nation. The plight of the Boston College receiving corps can be summed up by merely looking at the statistics of the receiving leaders.

Junior wideout Dan Crimmins is the Eagles reception leader with 20 for 225 yards. Josh Bordner leads Boston College in receiving yards and touchdowns, with 263 and three respectively. Those three touchdown receptions represent half of the Eagles total in 2014. Senior Shakim Phillips (two touchdowns) and freshman Sherman Alston (one touchdown) have combined for the Eagles other three receiving touchdowns.

Outlook:

Despite the struggles of the Boston College receiving unit, the Hokies appear headed for another long day in Blacksburg this Saturday. The trend of Virginia Tech struggling against mobile quarterbacks in recent seasons has only been magnified in 2014, and could be exploited again against Boston College. If Bud Foster can't find a way for his defensive unit to contain senior Tyler Murphy on the ground the Hokies could face a fate similar to last Thursday against Duke Johnson and Miami.