Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes on Steve Addazio as Boston College prepares for opener

Brooks Sutherland
August 31, 2017 - 11:26 am

Friday night under the lights in Dekalb, Illinois, lots of questions surrounding Boston College will be answered.

Who gets the nod at quarterback, senior Darius Wade or freshman Anthony Brown? How many running backs will emerge from BC’s five-deep backfield? Will Rimington watch-lister Jon Baker and the offensive line live up to the early hype?

But most importantly, will the Eagles pass their first test? Northern Illinois.

With a brutal schedule, led by defending champion Clemson and third-ranked Florida State lingering ahead, Friday’s game is as close to a must-win as a season-opener can be. That tone is increasingly true for head coach Steve Addazio, who earned a “pressure is mounting” rating in a cbssports.com preseason Hot Seat ranking.

Here is a preview of Boston College’s Week 1 matchup at Northern Illinois:

Date and time: Friday, Sept. 1 9:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Boston College 2016 finish: 7-6 (2-6 ACC)

Northern Illinois 2016 finish: 5-7 (5-3 MAC)

BC record vs. NIU: 2-0

— The Eagles are looking to ride the offensive momentum they finished with in 2016 after defeating Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl. The offense will have some early question marks, especially at QB, but BC’s talented backfield led by Jon Hilliman and muscle up front should give them some means to move the chains against NIU, who ranked 98th in overall defense last year. BC returns nine starters on offense.

— Defensively, the Eagles will be spearheaded by defensive end Harold Landry, a 2017 AP Preseason All-America first teamer, who led the nation in sacks (16.5) in 2016. Northern Illinois is a team looking to run the football, but they’ll likely do so with the mindset of avoiding No. 7. NIU ranked 27th nationally in total offense in 2016. BC returns seven starters to its defense, which finished ninth in total defense in 2016.

— Boston College is 12-5 in its last 17 season openers. The Eagles are 19-3 all-time vs. current MAC schools and have not lost to a MAC opponent since 1969 (Buffalo).