BC's AJ Dillon Will Put Wake Forest On Upset Alert
The Eagles running back is among the best backs in the country
- Through four games, Boston College’s AJ Dillon is sixth in NCAA football with 468 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns (tied for sixth).
- Dillon has rushed for at least 150 yards in each of the past two games.
- Wake Forest’s defense has allowed ACC running backs to rush for 5.6 yards per carry.
- The last time Boston College played Wake Forest, Dillon rushed for 185 yards.
Dillon Headed to a Third-Straight 1,000-Yard Season
A productive runner from day one for Boston College, junior running back AJ Dillon is having a strong start of the season with 468 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns (seven total) through four games. He’s on pace for 1,404 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns.
In BC’s season-opening win over Virginia Tech, Dillon rushed for 81 yards with a touchdown against the Hokies and he’s been even better in September. Against Richmond, Dillon rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries, as the Eagles won comfortably 45-13. He gobbled up 5.1 yards per carry and added 54 receiving yards with another score through the air to give him three touchdowns against the Spiders. Improving his ability as a pass catcher was a point of emphasis for the All-ACC performer heading into his third season.
Because of his combination of size (Dillon is 250 pounds) and speed, he’s a freak of nature.
Boston College suffered their only loss to Kansas, which was no fault of Dillon’s. The junior back had arguably his best game of the season with 151 yards on 5.6 yards per carry (both season highs) and a touchdown. Looking to get back in the win column, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian turned to his bell cow at Rutgers last week. Dillon toted the pigskin 32 times for 150 yards and two rushing scores in a 30-16 win. It was their first win over a Big Ten school since 2003. His 32 carries are an ACC high, as the physical runner wore down the Scarlet Knights. Of Dillon’s 150 yards, 100 came after contact, as he broke six tackles on his way to converting eight first downs.
Through four games, Dillon has rushed for at least 81 yards in every game and has produced at least 140 scrimmage yards in three-straight games, with 150-plus rushing yards in his past two. He’s an elite runner who is coming into this week’s game against Wake Forest hitting his stride, as the Eagles return home for their second conference game of the season.
Wake Forest’s Run Defense Has Yet to Be Tested
The Demon Deacons are a middle of the pack ACC defense, ranked eighth (358.3 yards per game) in total defense. They’re sixth against the run (121.5 rushing yards per game, 3.5 yards per carry), however three of their four opponents so far have been non-Power 5 teams, including Elon from FCS.
In Wake Forest’s only ACC game in 2019, they allowed North Carolina running backs to rush for 123 yards on 22 carries for a very healthy 5.6 yards per carry average, including 96 yards by Michael Carter (7.4 YPC). You can bet they’ve haven’t faced a running back as big or powerful as Dillon so far.
The feeling in Winston-Salem is that Wake Forest’s defense is improved from last season when they allowed 5.42 points per scoring opportunity (inside the 40-yard line), which was 125th in FBS. They weren’t much better as they got closer to the goal line, as they were 93rd inside the 10 and 118th on the goal line. Their current 20.3 points per game allowed is fifth in the ACC.
What BetQL’s NCAAF Model Shows
Consensus Spread: BC +6.5
BetQL Model: BC -0.5 (★★★★★)
Consensus Moneyline: BC +195
BetQL Model: BC -103 (★★★★★)
Consensus 1H Spread: BC +4
BetQL Model: BC -1 (★★★★★)
Consensus 1H Moneyline: BC +160
BetQL Model: BC -113 (★★★★★)
Of Wake’s three FCS opponents, two are among the worst offensive teams in college football. North Carolina is 96th in scoring and Rice is last, tied for 129th. The Owls rank 121st in rushing, UNC is 74th, and Utah State is 46th, the best running game they’ve faced to date.
They’re not ready for Dillon and company, as they Eagles rank 20th in the nation in rushing, nestled in between powerhouses Georgia (19th) and Clemson (21st). The Deacons struggled to coral Dillon the last time these teams faced off. He rushed for a season-high 185 yards (5.6 YPC) and a touchdown on 33 carries in a 41-34 win for Boston College in 2018. Expect him to go off again, as the Eagles pull off the upset at home, right in line with BetQL's Model.