Boston College (1-1, 0-1 ACC) at Northwestern (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Place: Ryan Field (Evanston, Ill.)
TV/Radio: Big Ten Network / ESPN AM 1000, WNUR 89.3 FM (Chicago) / WEEI Sports Radio, AM 850, FM 93.7 (Boston)
The skinny: Boston College rebounded from an opening-week loss to ACC rival Miami, blowing out Maine, 34-3, in week two. Northwestern knocked off Vanderbilt, 23-13, in its home opener last Saturday, and is seeking a 3-0 start for the third time in five years.
The history: The Eagles and Wildcats are closing out their 2011-12 non-conference series. Northwestern spoiled Boston College's home opener last season, eking out a 24-17 win behind 17 of 24 passing from quarterback Kain Colter. The Eagles' last visit to Evanston, Ill. came on Sept. 18, 1993, with the Wildcats earning a narrow 22-21 victory.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Alex Amidon, WR, Boston College: The junior wideout will likely draw plenty of attention from Northwestern's secondary. Over Boston College's first two games, Amidon has hauled in 16 catches for 248 yards, already eclipsing his 2011 season total of 220 receiving yards. He told the Boston Herald that the improvement has stemmed from his fluidity with the offense becoming "second nature."
Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern: Mark has wasted little time in demonstrating his big-play abilities. Two weeks ago against Syracuse, the junior tailback netted 281 all-purpose yards, capped by touchdowns on an 82-yard punt return and 21-yard reception. Mark's presence continued to be felt against Vanderbilt, where he rushed for 123 yards on 24 carries. His early fourth-quarter, seven-yard touchdown run gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game. At Monday's weekly press conference, the Chicago Tribune reported that Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald labeled Mark as a Wildcat playing "at a championship level."
KEYS TO THE GAME
Boston College's passing prowess: Junior quarterback Chase Rettig has been one of the NCAA's most prolific arms behind center, propelling the Eagles to 15th in the nation with 330 passing yards per game. Northwestern is near the bottom of the barrel in passing defense, ranking 113th at 349.5 yards allowed per contest.
Northwestern's eye for the ball: Despite falling behind against both Syracuse and Vanderbilt, the Wildcats netted victories with the help of five forced turnovers and a plus-four margin. On the offensive side of the ball, Colter and sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian have yet to throw an interception this season.
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