NEW YORK - After a few extra weeks to study film leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl, James Franklin has come to one major conclusion on Boston College's attack: It's dangerous in a lot of different ways.
"They're running a lot of read plays, so if you overcompensate to try to stop the running back, then the quarterback has a chance to pull it and get on the edge, and he's a threat," Franklin said of Eagles signal caller Tyler Murphy. "He's a legitimate threat."
The dual-threat Murphy has torn opposing defenses apart for 21 total touchdowns - 11 through the air and 10 on the ground - and leads B.C. with 1,079 rushing yards. Murphy is a veteran who began his career with the Florida Gators before transferring in January.
Franklin said he hasn't seen a team all season that could stop both Boston College's read-option rushing attack as well as its traditional rushing offense, led by running back Jon Hilliman.
Meanwhile, despite a down season on the stat sheet, Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg earned similar praise from Eagles coach Steve Addazio at a joint news conference Friday.
"We have a guy that we're facing that's a pro-style, drop-back quarterback who's got a tremendous arm. And he's a very accurate passer," Addazio said. "We have our challenge there."
Hackenberg has thrown 15 interceptions in 2014, but Addazio said his "outstanding" ability will force the Eagles to create pressure and disrupt the flow of the Nittany Lions' passing game.
Getting defensive up front, Penn State heads into the bowl season with the nation's top run defense, allowing just 84.8 rushing yards per game. Addazio hinted that a statistic can sometimes be misleading - but not this one.
"We'll tell you how it is," Addazio said of veteran coaches. "You have stats and then you watch the film. The film backs up the stats."
The Eagles' experienced offensive line has paved the way for a team that has rushed for 300 yards on four occasions this season. However, Boston College's rushing attack may be meeting its match in a Penn State defense that has allowed more than 200 yards on the ground just once.
"Penn State has had an unbelievable reputation as Linebacker U, and there's no drop-off here," Addazio said. "This is a great group of linebackers spearheaded by a great player [Mike Hull], with a great front in front of him, which I think makes all the difference in the world."