The season is over, and for the first time since 2007 the Eagles are celebrating a bowl victory. Yesterday, Boston College defeated Maryland 36-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl, capping off an up and down season for the Eagles. Who were the stars yesterday, and where did the Eagles struggle? Let us digest.
Harold Landry, Zach Allen, Kevin Kavalec, Truman Gutapfel, Wyatt Ray, Ray Smith, Noa Merritt: Now I could have simply written out “The defensive line”, but I felt this entire squad deserved to be recognized by name. They were outstanding yesterday, constantly making plays, and disrupting Perry Hills rhythm. The goal line stand where Maryland had the ball on the 2 yard line, snapped off 10 plays and still didn’t score was a work of genius. They sacked, they stripped the quarterback, they intercepted pass, they were a crew possessed. We have seen many individual performances that have been dominant (Luke Kuechly, Willie Green, Andre Williams etc), but it has been a while since we have one entire unit completely take over a game and win it for BC.
Harold Landry has yet to say whether he is going to go to the NFL or not. Whatever he chooses clearly will be in his best interest, which it should be. He’s going to be nasty in the NFL whenever he chooses to go.
Patrick Towles: I thought overall Towles had a very good game. He missed a few open receivers here and there, and had an interception wasn’t completely his fault, but he did what he needed to win the game. He had a beautiful pass to Michael Walker for a touchdown, a second pass across his body to Tommy Sweeney, and even showed off his great hands on a pass catch for a TD from Jeff Smith. He wasn’t ever a very flashy QB for BC, but always seemed like a stand up guy, I was happy to see him go out on top.
Jon Hilliman (1st half): It was very refreshing to see Hilliman seemingly return to his old form during the first half of the game. I don’t know what made things so difficult for Hilliman this year, but he seemed hesitant for the first 12 games. The first half, he looked dynamic, he was crashing the holes quickly, and had a great burst. That disappeared in the 2nd half, as he returned to his earlier season form, but you have to imagine that with some rest Hilliman will return at a higher level in 2017.
1st Half Offensive Playcalling: Where the hell did that come from? All of a sudden this timid, scared offense, was playing balls to the wall and the results spoke for themselves. We had trick plays, the Eagles started playing an up tempo offense, Patrick Towles tested the Terps deep, and Maryland had no answer for it. Heck, BC even went super aggressive with under a minute left in the half, and guess what? It worked! Addazio said after the game the game, that this tempo will be something he wants to use more often next year, so that’s refreshing but....
Isaac Yiadom’s 4th Down Defense: What a play by the cornerback on that 4th down. DJ Durkin said after the game that the play was designed to have Hills flip the ball to the WR as he was being tackled, and if it wasn’t for Yiadom it would have been a touchdown. Fantastic read by the cornerback and a great tackle.
The Seniors: This is more of a personal congratulations to this group who deserved this win more than anyone else. They dealt with a lot, from a new coach, to new offensive coordinators, to a back breaking losing 2015 season. Congrats to all of these guys and best of wishes in the future.
2nd Half Offensive Playcalling: Addazio turtled again, plain and simple. He had the Terrapins dead to rights, and he went back to good ole #RRPP and it almost gave the Terps the game back. Why the heck did he just give up on the game plan that was working to perfection in the 1st half. And what happened when they got conservative? Hilliman reverted back to a less aggressive back, and fumbled the ball. Towles was put in bad passing situations where Maryland could focus on the pass, and the defense was put on their heels. Daz has got to stop playing scared. He had the Terps right where he wanted them, all he had to do was step on their throat, and he failed. This clearly is a pattern he has established as a coach.
Mike Knoll The Place Kicker: As a punter I thought Knoll was fine, but as a place kicker it was like watching the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl again on replay. He had a kick blocked (not really his fault), missed an extra point, and shanked a field goal. It’s a bummer too because Knoll seemed to be getting it together this season.
Cornerback Play: There were at least two huge plays that Maryland got (there were a bunch in general) that were caused by corners not turning their head. Off the top of my head I know one was Will Harris on a huge pass up the side. It wasn’t that Maryland scored, it was how lightning quick they were able to do it. Those big plays were brutal for the Eagles.
Zach Allen’s Bail Out Face Mask Call: I’m not going to blame the kid for the penalty he was reaching for Perry Hills shoulder and the QB ducked his head which caused the DE to grab his face mask, but this play almost cost the Eagles the game.