When the final whistle blew at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, students made their way onto the field to celebrate. Unfortunately, this was not a celebration in honor Boston College toppling a mighty college football powerhouse yet again, but rather a celebration of the passage of time. BC’s senior class had just finished their very last football game on The Heights.
For the sixth straight week, BC walked back to the locker room defeated. This week’s lucky opponent was NC State, and the Wolfpack are now a bowl eligible 6-3. BC on the other hand has now clinched a losing record- the Eagles sit at 3-7.
Like many of the past games, this was an ugly contest that featured a tired out Boston College defense, an overmatched offensive line, and plenty of halfback dives into a loaded box. Students knew the game was over by halftime, when the Eagles trailed 14-0, but the excitement surrounding the team died weeks back in Louisville.
BC started freshman walk-on John Fadule at quarterback this week—after he played essentially the entire game against Virginia Tech and showed flashes of promise. Fadule looks like he may just win himself the backup spot for next season (assuming Darius Wade remains the starter). The freshman threw for 257 with a 62% completion rate, not bad numbers.
Fadule did doom BC with four turnovers however—two of which came in the second quarter and three of which were bad throws resulting in interceptions. However, Fadule has shown noticeably more promise than Flutie and Smith did. Smith is a non-threat when it comes to passing, a major problem for college quarterbacks to have.
As far as the praised BC defense, this game was notable for a few slipups that cost the Eagles big time. NC State hit an 83 yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter when Eagles corner Will Harris got burned, and the Wolfpack had numerous plays over 30 yards throughout the game.
Injuries, which have decimated the offense, are now starting to find their way to the defenses side of the roster, and it showed on Saturday. BC struggled mightily to stop drives for the first half, an unusual sight.
As far as the offense’s overall performance, the story remains the same. Helpless play calling, dreadful offensive line play, and non-explosive weapons doomed BC before the game really even began. For the first time this year Addazio started to call some pass plays when the run wasn’t working, but this is too little too late.
Obviously I am just a kid who isn’t being paid millions of dollars to win football games like Steve Addazio, but I’ve watched enough football in my life to know when a coach has screwed up. Addazio screwed up big time this season. A resistance to adjust his “ground and pound” game plan despite the losses of Wade and Hilliman and the disappointing play of this young offensive line, was just foolish.
It is also quite obvious that Addazio did not have a plan in the case of Wade getting injured, and that helped to mark the death of the Eagle’s offense this season. The unit can only improve when football returns to Chestnut Hill next fall, as almost every starter or contributing player will return. This means more experience and more size—two things that will help the offense dramatically.
I have recognizably had my distastes with Addazio and BC football this year, but I am nothing short of the biggest supporter of the Eagles you will find on campus. One year ago I was praising Addazio for taking this team back to a semblance of national relevance, and I knew that this year would be a tough transition due to the loss of offensive talent (athletic freaks like Tyler Murphy) and experience (see the 2014 offensive line).
I commend the BC defense for playing lights out football here on The Heights, and for guys like John Fadule for stepping up when they had absolutely no reason to think they would ever need to. Obviously the results were far from fantastic, but it is not without effort from the players.
As for Steve Addazio, this year will slide with Brad Bates and knowledgeable fans. It was your year to rebuild and get the guys you brought here experience. But these kinds of seasons will absolutely not be accepted much longer. A strong recruiting season, and a stronger season next year are not only expected, but will be demanded by the boosters and athletic department.
BC’s season isn’t quite done yet. The Eagles will face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame the Saturday before Thanksgiving in Fenway. Perhaps the Eagles can pull off a miracle and knock Notre Dame’s title hopes right over the Green Monster. If that occurs, my entire opinion of this year changes.
The Eagles also play Syracuse the Saturday after Thanksgiving in their annual Rivalry Week matchup. Hopefully BC can pull just one ACC victory out this year, and that will be the last chance to do so. Addazio and his men have two games to reignite a semblance of hope in BC football, and I pray they can do that.