It's always tough to dissect a loss, but when it was a loss that didn't need to happen, it's even more difficult. The Eagles had that game, and the worst part was that they had it multiple times, and yet they still blew it. Well, let's take a look.
Tyler Murphy: For the most part, Murphy had a very good game yesterday (I'll get to the negatives in bad). Murphy had two electric runs, one of which ended with a touchdown. He did a solid job managing the game up front, and against the number one rush defense in the country he helped BC run for 285 yards. Clearly watching him in his 13th game with the Eagles we can see that he struggled with some of his passes, but the plays he created with his legs were phenomenal. He ran the ball 11 times for 105 yards, but I think many armchair quarterbacks wished he ran it just a few more times.
Winning the turnover battle: One of my keys going into this game was going to be the turnover battle. Penn State had a legit defense and BC couldn't afford to turn over the ball and give the Nittany Lions short field position. They held onto the ball, with zero turnovers, and better yet forced Penn State into two turnovers of their own.
Jon Hilliman: What a way for Hilliman to top off his freshman year. He tore the Penn State defense apart on a rumbling 40 yard touchdown run, to answer the Nittany Lions own score. Against the top rushing defense in the country, Hilliman averaged 5.9 yards per carry.
1st Half Defense: BC's first half defense certainly wasn't perfect, but it did the job. They forced sacks, turnovers and only allowed seven points. The defensive line specifically looked stout, with sacks by Brian Mihalik, and Malachi Moore. The secondary wasn't impressive, and the linebackers were solid but didn't do anything note worthy.
Shakim Phillips: In his final game of his second stint with the Eagles, Phillips had a solid game. He caught a touchdown pass from Murphy, and on Murphy's huge run he made a nice block to spring Murphy. In one of the most controversial calls of the game however, Phillips failed to haul in a pass, with the refs ruling he lost control as he was going to the ground.
Run Blocking: I haven't had a chance to rewatch the game, but I saw multiple plays where linemen jumped out and made huge blocks. There were two big penalties called on the line (one on Ian Silberman, the other on Aaron Kramer), but for the most part they kept Penn State's defense honest.
Pass Defense: This entire season I wondered how BC's pass defense was holding up so well. Yesterday's game highlighted the fact that our apprehensions about the secondary weren't unfounded. Christian Hackenberg looked like Andrew Luck out on the field, throwing for four touchdowns on 371 yards. Don Brown's strategy of the "cushion" killed BC, as it allowed the Hackenberg to dissect them underneath. But it wasn't just that: BC allowed big plays (the Chris Godwin touchdown), and failed to make INTs on at least two passes (the touchdown through Ty-Meer Brown's hands). Totally exposed yesterday.
The Refs: Let me just go out there and say that the refs were terrible for both teams. They failed to call penalties (my god if PSU held one more time I was going to scream), they made horrible spots, and overall seemed to allow the two teams to play. Thanks SEC for giving us those dolts.
The Short Passing Game: Tyler Murphy was a mystery yesterday; he looked good on his intermediate passes, but when he went back to throw a screen or a quick out, he looked awful. He had one pass to Josh Bordner who was WIDE OPEN and missed, and threw at least two others into the ground. You can holler about the offensive play calling all you want, but if Murphy could connect on those passes today's story line would be much different.
The Sherman Allston Vanishing Act: He was out there and playing, so why didn't he get more touches? He dropped a screen pass, and that was it. Was he hurt? Was Penn State's defense cueing in on him when he entered the game? These are questions only Steve Addazio could answer.
The Kicking: Don't know what to say about this that hasn't been said already. Please Steve Addazio fix this. Please. Also BC fans, leave Mike Knoll alone. He's a freaking kid, and doesn't deserve to be harassed on Twitter. It makes all of us look bad.
Third Down Offense/Defense: While BC's offense went 5 for 16, the defense allowed Penn State to convert on 9/17. Gross all around.
Having To Live With This Loss For 8 More Months: Guys and gals, this is the hardest part. There isn't another game where BC can lift themselves out of the gutter. This is it. No more Tyler Murphy, no more Andy Gallik. Instead of celebrating our first bowl win since 2007, we are back where we started. Questioning who will QB in 2015, watching our offensive line graduate, and wishing, no praying, that BC can take another step in the right direction.