The Boston College football team won their first game since September 26th of 2015. In a contest hosted at Gillette Stadium, the Eagles toped the Minutemen of UMass by a score of 26-7. Although BC was heavily favored, the Eagles overcame a 7-0 deficit while finding their groove, finally tallying an elusive win.
The BC defense stole the show once again, allowing a ridiculous -23 total rush yards…that’s right, negative 23. The machine that is the BC defense broke down briefly in the first quarter, when safeties Will Harris and John Johnson had a miscommunication that allowed for Minutemen quarterback, Ross Comis, to find tight-end, Adam Brenemen, for a wide-open 58-yard touchdown pass. Brenemen was able to essentially walk about 40 yards into the end zone.
That lone falter accounted for nearly half of the Minutemen’s total yardage. Comis had only 145 total pass yards on the day, and the negative rush total was a testament to the dominance of BC’s front seven. The Eagles did struggle to produce a pass rush for the first half of the game, but sack after sack in the second half led to Comis ultimately having negative 58 rush yards himself. Yikes.
On the offensive side, BC did not exactly light the world on fire. QB Patrick Towles led the team with 66 rush yards, which complimented his 191 pass yards and two passing touchdowns. Both TD’s were caught by the converted wide-receiver Jeff Smith, who hauled in a 46-yard bomb along with a 36-yard toss for his first two touchdown receptions as an Eagle.
The Eagles missed their first extra-point of the day, when Mike Knoll shanked the kick wide right, which led to a chorus of boo’s by the BC student section. With BC trailing 7-6 after that mishap, visions of another loss credited to poor kicking crept into the head of every fan.
Fortunately Knoll, who handled all kickoffs, punts, and placekicks on the day, nailed the next two PAT’s along with a 40-yard field goal and a 27-yarder. Finishing 4/5 on the day, it is likely Knoll will be replacing Colton Lichtenberg for a while (fingers crossed).
BC won the game by three scores, and handled UMass quite easily for the final three quarters of the game. The defense looked spectacular, save for the one mishap that led to a TD for the Minutemen. However, fans shouldn’t exactly have the biggest smiles in the world.
BC was a seventeen-point favorite according to Vegas lines, and won by nineteen points. Nevertheless, the Eagles offense was uninspiring yet again. The run game never got going; starter Jon Hilliman tallied a mere 54 yards on 22 carries. Play calling is partially to blame (could it be more predictable?), but the offensive line did not create a lot of running lanes either.
Additionally, QB Patrick Towles struggled with accuracy issues throughout the game. Finishing 12/22, he had one bad interception that looked like the result of him totally not noticing a UMass defender sitting back in a zone role. Where Towles did impress was on the deep ball, particularly his beautiful passes to Jeff Smith that both dropped right into the receiver’s breadbasket in the end zone.
BC’s defense is likely one of the best units in the nation. Opponents cannot run the ball against the front seven, which will keep the Eagles in good shape in almost every game this season. The offense has failed to impress so far, but both games have seen the unit show improvement as the game progresses, which is a good sign. In order to win games in the ACC though, Towles and Co. will need to step it up a bit.
At this point, Addazio has done nothing to show he is deserving of his contract, which has him signed through the year 2020. Last year was a disaster, and the team still does not look fired up or coached up on the offensive side of the ball.
The Eagles have plenty of time to correct their issues, but next week’s away game in Blacksburg is a daunting task. Virginia Tech lost last night by 21 to Tennessee, but the Hokies are a solid opponent who BC cannot afford to play poorly against. Hopefully the Eagles can steal a win on the road, and start their home stand with a winning record. A win is a win though, so congrats to the Eagles for turning the tide and getting a victory in the books.