BOSTON - Boston College coach Steve Addazio needs to replace his starting quarterback and figure out a way to turn things around after a loss to North Carolina State that snapped a three-game winning streak.
So the excitement about playing in Fenway Park is less on his mind than the logistics of playing a football game against UConn in a baseball stadium.
“The venue's great, the energy, the specialness of it is great,” said Addazio, who's more concerned about getting his subs on the field with both teams sharing the same sideline. “The functionality of that is a challenge, and you've got to practice it.”
BC (5-5) had won three straight games before a 17-14 loss to now-No. 25 N.C. State in which the Eagles gave up the go-ahead score on a 50-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. They also lost quarterback Anthony Brown for the season on a non-contact knee injury.
Darius Wade, who started three games in 2015 before a broken ankle ended his season, is expected to take over.
“Our heart goes out to Anthony,” Addazio said. “If you stop in this business and you spend too much time wallowing on ‘woe is me,’ or what could be, or anything else - this freight train's moving, man. ... Everybody else on this team, you've got to pick it up.”
UConn (3-7) has lost three in a row, with back-to-back losses against ranked teams, Southern Florida and Central Florida. The Huskies have never beaten Boston College, going 0-11-2 against their former Big East rival in a series that began with a 1908 scoreless tie.
Here are some other things to look for in Saturday night's game:
FOOTBALL AT FENWAY
The century-old home of the Boston Red Sox has hosted plenty of football games since it opened in 1912. The first BC football game there was in 1914, and the Eagles played 75 times there until 1956. Five different pro teams made Fenway their home, including the Boston Patriots in their AFL days from 1963-68.
BC had been scheduled to play Boston University on Nov. 23, 1963, a game that was canceled after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Eagles did not return until 2015, when they lost 19-16 to fourth-ranked Notre Dame.
HOME ON THE ROAD
Although the game will be played less than five miles away from BC's Alumni Stadium - and more like 90 minutes from UConn's campus in Storrs - it will count as a home game for the Huskies. The advantages: UConn will receive 22,000 tickets for its fans (BC got 7,000). The school also said it received a guarantee of $1.25 million (BC got none) that was the largest in the program's history.
It's not just Brown.
The Eagles have lost nine starters for the season, including center and captain Jon Baker and linebacker Connor Strachan. All-American defensive end Harold Landry has missed four games, who's out for the Eagles. Brown
“I don't see a lot of guys sucking their thumb,” Addazio said. “We don't have a lot of selfishness. We've just got a lot of guys locked into ‘What can I do? And whatever capacity I have to help our team win.’ That's why I've been so excited about this team.”
Thanks in part to a 70-31 loss to Memphis, the Huskies are on a pace to break the school record of 413 points allowed (1998). They have already given up 395 points this season and are on a pace to allow 473.
A month after looking at a long offseason, in which Addazio's job may have been in jeopardy, the Eagles need one more win to be bowl-eligible for the fourth time in his five seasons. After over Louisville, Virginia and Florida State put BC in position, it now needs to beat UConn or Syracuse to return to postseason play.
Addazio noted that freshman had been playing key roles in the turnaround. BC was the only school in the country with freshmen as the leading passer, receiver (Kobay White) and rusher (AJ Dillon).
“I think the future is very, very bright,” Addazio said.