Jeff: What happened on Saturday night? BC hit a field goal on their first possession and then let UCF hold on to the ball almost the entire rest of the half but only scored nine points. For a while it felt like something would click for the offense and the defense would get some much needed rest or UCF might turn the ball over but none of that did happen. Almost nothing at all positive happened when BC had the ball after their first possession. As the commentators pointed out continuously in the second half, BC's defense got tired. How did everything go so wrong?
Brian: The Eagles had a chance on their first possession of the second half to turn the tide in this game but came up short. Here's where the game turned:
-- 1st and 10 at BC 33. Andre Williams rush for no gain to the BC 33.
-- 2nd and 10 at BC 33. Chase Rettig pass complete to Chris Pantale for 7 yards to the BC 40.
-- 3rd and 3 at BC 40. Chase Rettig pass complete to Colin Larmond for 8 yards to the BC 48 for a 1ST down.
-- 1st and 10 at BC 48. Chase Rettig pass incomplete to Bobby Swigert.
-- 2nd and 10 at BC 48. Andre Williams rush for 10 yards to the UCF 42 for a 1ST down.
-- 1st and 10 at UCF 42. Andre Williams rush for 6 yards to the UCF 36.
-- 2nd and 4 at UCF 36. Chase Rettig pass complete to Lars Anderson for 3 yards to the UCF 33.
-- 3rd and 1 at UCF 33. Chase Rettig rush for no gain to the UCF 33.
-- 4th and 1 at UCF 33. Andre Williams rush for no gain to the UCF 33.
After moving the ball effectively to start the half, the drive sputtered after failing to convert on two downs with just 1 yard to convert. Turning the ball over on downs on the first drive of the second half effectively killed any momentum the Eagles had to start the second half. After a couple of back and forth drives, UCF scored a touchdown early in the fourth and that was all she wrote.
The game was more competitive than the final score indicated. The typical bend-but-don't-break Eagles defense kept BC in this game for three quarters, before UCF blew the game open in the fourth quarter after the D was worn down. Kuechly had another monster game but we can't rely on him to do everything. The offense had to keep the defense off the field and simply failed to do so.
Jeff: Through two games now, Chase Rettig is completing slightly above 50 percent of his passes for 445 yards and no touchdowns. After week 1 we thought he was much improved from last season, but this week not so much. There are a lot of injuries that are hurting this team. Most notably in terms of Rettig's performance are Montel Harris, Ifeanyi Momah and Mark Spinney. Aside from his first carry of the season, Andre Williams has shown he is not Montel Harris. No one is Momah and our line can use all the help it can get. After two weeks, not just Saturday, is Chase good enough for us to be competitive in the ACC and make a bowl game?
Brian: I am less concerned about Rettig's stat line and more concerned with the decision-making. There were at least two (of the 11 BC failed to convert) third downs where it appeared as if Rettig could have picked up the first down with his legs. Instead, he decided to throw the ball, leading to incompletions on third, forcing the Eagles to punt. Other times, he holds onto the ball for far too long before either overthrowing a receiver or taking the sack.
I hope it doesn't, but when I saw this play midway through the fourth quarter, I said to myself this could very well be a microcosm of the Eagles' entire season:
-- 3rd and 3 at BC 36. Chase Rettig pass complete to Chase Rettig for a loss of 6 yards to the BC 30.
One of Rettig's 10 completions on the day was ... to himself, all while the Eagles managed to lose six yards on the play. Incredible.
As for the running game, Andre Williams does not look comfortable running between the tackles. It seems as though all of Williams' yardage has come on runs on the outside. This is where we miss Montel, though I'm not sure Harris would fare any better as the inconsistency and injuries on the line continue to pile up.
This offense has the talent to win games and get BC bowl eligible for the 13th consecutive year, but without improvement on the offensive line and if guys don't get healthy, the Eagles may very well be home for the holidays for the first time since 1998.