Eagles everywhere witnessed another opening day BC victory. A 24-3 win can’t truly be considered a bad thing, but those who watched this BC team know that there is ample room for improvement.
The Eagles trailed 3-0 after the end of the first quarter against their FCS (Division 1-AA, a step below the top league in which BC is in) opponent- the Maine Black Bears. By halftime it was 10-3 Eagles, thanks to a touchdown pass from new sophomore starting QB Darius Wade. But the Eagle offense struggled yet again in the third quarter, and the games score remained the same going into the fourth.
First and foremost, every single Eagles worst nightmare was realized in the second quarter when kicker Alex Howell missed a 35-yard field goal. The game was 3-3 at the time. There is not much more to say on the topic except that the kicking unit, which essentially cost BC three victories last season, is already off to a bad start.
Onto a positive, Boston College’s defensive unit absolutely dominated the Black Bears, who were held to a mere 91 total yards on only seven yards rushing. A large majority of those yards were gained on Maine’s opening drive, which led to their only score of the game. The front seven stifled the Black Bears, and BC’s defense performance left fans with little to desire.
The offensive unit failed to impress against a considerably weaker opponent in Maine. Wade looked decently confident passing the ball, which will add a much-needed dimension to the BC offense, but the inexperience of the unit as a whole was evident throughout the day. It is worth noting that the entire offensive line (and quarterback) is brand new this season, though, so some growing pains are expected.
Wade ended the day with no turnovers and a touchdown pass, but only threw for 155 yards on a 56% completion rate. The offensive line struggled to push back the Maine front seven, and allowed numerous tackles and sacks behind the line of scrimmage. The receiving corps did nothing much to impress, with no one having more than three receptions. Running back Jon Hilliman led the team with 33 receiving yards.
The strongest unit on the offense, the running backs, did make the biggest impact on the game, which is a good sign for things to come. Starter Jon Hilliman however, who is expected to have a big time season, only reached 47 yards on 16 carries. Fellow sophomore back Marcus Outlow looked moderately explosive- tallying 37 yards on only nine carries.
The standout runner of the group was junior Tyler Rouse. I, and no one for that matter, did not expect Rouse to make nearly the impact that he did, but the junior pounded in two touchdowns on only eight carries, and totaled 81 yards. If just one of the backs can break loose like that each game than the Eagles will be all right.
It is unarguably evident that the offense struggled for three quarters of the game. Some of the blame belongs to Coach Addazio for some questionable play calling, some falls on an O-Line that struggled to create a lot of room, and some falls on the position players. The good news is that there is plenty of area for improvement, and it very well may be the case that Addazio wanted to shrink the playbook for an easier game with his new QB.
There are positive signs for this 2015 BC football team, and the year started off with the best result possible- a win. A young, inexperienced Darius Wade made smart passes, the running back corps produced another 200-yard day, and the defense was downright dominant for the large majority of the game.
Next week the Eagles will face Howard in what will be another game that BC can afford some slip-ups. I expect to see offensive improvement, and hope that the defense can remain stifling. The kicking unit needs to figure something out, because the patience is already gone from the fan base. For now, BC can celebrate a victory, but I expect the Eagles have a rough week of practice ahead of them.