Boston College pulled off win number six on Saturday, after winning a close game against the Hokies. Let's take a look at what they did right and what went wrong during the game.
The Big Plays: There were quite a few game changing plays in this one. First we had Myles Willis's 68 yard touchdown run, where VT's defense completely broke down and missed assignments. That was huge. Second, there was the muffed kick off by the Hokies that was recovered by the Eagles. Finally, we had the game changer: in a play that was eerily similar to the USC game, Tyler Murphy ran 57 yards on a 4th down. When the offense wasn't clicking, these plays were huge and proved to be the difference maker.
Malachi Moore: Moore, the player who up to this point was only known for missing a season to due to injury, and because of Spaz's unbelievable decision to burn his redshirt, introduced himself to Eagles nation on Saturday with two sacks against the Hokies. Going into this season we were worried about the depth at defensive end, but with the play of Kevin Kavalec and Moore, and the maturation of Harold Landry, this could be a position of strength moving forward.
Connor Wujciak: Speaking of guys busting onto the scene, Wujciak has become the run-stuffing defensive tackle that BC needed. With the 6th-ranked rushing defense in the country, he has been that force up the middle that has made it so hard to run. He had a huge game again, with 4 tackles and a tackle for a loss.
Tyler Murphy: Not to sound all happy and gushing, but isn't he a joy to watch when he runs? On Saturday Murphy made the game changing play with his run, was effective-ish with his arm, and didn't turn the ball over against Bud Foster's opportunistic defense. All of that and he passed Doug Flutie as the all time leading rushing QB in BC history. He only needs 35 yards to be the first ACC QB since Josh Nesbitt to run for 1,000 yards in a season.
Alex Howell: What a masterful job of punting by Howell again. He was able to flip the field over and over again, and pin Virginia Tech inside the 5 numerous times. In a game where field position mattered, he was clutch. At one point during the game the TV announcers showed a statistic that VT's average starting position was the 3.5 yard line. Easily the MVP of the game.
Murphy's Hug Of Bates: After he ran in for the winning touchdown, the first person to greet Tyler Murphy was our Athletic Director Brad Bates. It was a pretty awesome and special moment.
The Trend Towards Soft Defenses When Leading: Don Brown's defense was fantastic for most of the first half: they held Michael Brewster in check and prevented the Hokies from doing much of anything. Then for the second game in a row, BC let off the gas. I don't get why the Eagles continue to go from the aggressive, pressure-focused defense to the passive preventative defense when they have the lead. Brown needs to trust his defense, and trust they can continue the original game plan. Nothing has been more gut-wrenching than watching the Eagles take a lead, and then let the Hokies/Demon Deacons/Rams crawl back into it with a completely different defense than that which got them there.
Jon Hilliman: This is not to trash the kid, but he just had a tough game. He failed on a 4th and short: instead of putting his head down and trying to pick up the yard he bounced outside, got happy feet and got slammed. It appeared he had trouble reading the defense, plus he got a shoulder injury, so it probably was a good thing that Marcus Outlow and Myles Willis got more of the runs.
The Attendance/Announcers. I don't know if this speaks to the shape of VT's program, but what was the deal with that attendance? I know it was raining but it looked and sounded dead in Lane Stadium. Also those announcers were brutal, from calling our defensive coordinator "Dan Brown" to just being lost the whole game.
First down runs: Again, the Eagles insisted on running the ball straight into the mouth of the defense on first down. Against good defenses this isn't working. Would love to see them try something different on this down. Whether it's a fake with Murphy, a play action pass, outside run, basically anything. They have the playbook, use it.
Motion to change this to the "Placekicking" section of the post? I really have nothing to say here, we missed another kick and it almost cost us the game. I want to see them go for two more often, but I was glad to see Launceford kicking the extra point when we were up by 8.