What a difference three weeks can make.
Three weeks ago, Boston College had just suffered a demoralizing home defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech, and the Eagles couldn't really hang their hats on anything.
In the press conference following his team's fourth loss in five games (with the only win coming against lowly Central Michigan), coach Steve Addazio gave an impassioned response to a question about his offense's inability to execute.
Basically, Addazio promised that his team was close to breaking through, claiming that “it’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful.”
Pretty much everybody mocked him. Even I wrote, following that answer, that Addazio was essentially kidding himself.
“Perhaps the BC coach was trying to convince a fan base that has largely turned on him that better times are coming, or maybe he was delivering a message to his team. Heck, maybe he was just trying to convince himself.”
Well, the joke is on all of us, because it turns out he was totally right.
Speaking of jokes, don’t think Addazio didn’t know what he was doing when he opened his press conference Friday night by saying “well, that was a beautiful win.”
Who’s laughing now?
Since that Virginia Tech press conference, Boston College has won three in a row, defeating ACC powers Louisville and Florida State (yes, they’re struggling, but still), along with upstart Virginia by a combined score of 121-55, pushing the Eagles (5-4, 3-3 ACC) back above .500, and marking the second consecutive year that an Addazio team has rallied to, perhaps, save their coach's job.
In that three-week span, the once impotent Eagle offense has averaged 40.3 points per game, and amassed nearly 1,400 yards of total offense. For context, BC had averaged 16.3 points per game in the prior six contests, and that included two games against MAC teams.
How did this happen? How did it come together?
You know those turnovers that Addazio kept saying were burning the Eagles, in games like the 34-10 loss to Wake Forest? The ones that Addazio swore his team was on the verge of shaking? Well, the Eagles have.
Over the last three games, BC has a grand total of ONE TURNOVER, while the Eagles have forced eight. Improved play from redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown has certainly been a part of it, but credit the play calling for getting more creative, and allowing Brown to move around a bit more, plus reap the benefits of play action, and all kinds of pre-snap motion that has gotten into the heads of opposing defenses.
Speaking of Brown, do you remember those young guys that Addazio said were THIS close to breaking through? They have.
The Eagles have leaned on running back AJ Dillon, and the true freshman has proved up to the challenge, rushing for 510 yards, and giving the Eagles a ton of second and 4s, as opposed to the second and 9s they had been facing in weeks past. Brown has protected the ball, completed the passes in front of him and made some plays with his legs, while redshirt freshman Kobay White has scored a deep touchdown each of the last two weeks.
Along the offensive line, freshman Ben Petrula has has settled in at center after struggling early in the year, while sophomore John Phillips has been excellent at right guard next to standout right tackle Chris Lindstrom. The line play has been nothing short of spectacular the last three weeks, and a lot of that has to do with a pair of young players growing up.
Defensively, BC has been hit hard by injuries. First, it was star linebacker Connor Strachan going out for the year, and Friday, it was stud pass rusher Harold Landry sitting out with an ankle injury. In spite of all that, the Eagles got a great night from redshirt freshman John Lamot, who totaled 10 tackles and a sack while patrolling the flats all night long.
Has coach Addazio often used a blanket "we're young" excuse when the Eagles are losing? Sure, but the guy wasn't totally wrong this time around. Maybe this team did just need a little time to grow up.
Now the Eagles head into a much needed bye week looking to get Landry back, and Brown healthy after a late shot he took against the Noles. The November 11th home game against NC State suddenly looks a lot more winnable, and the following week at Fenway against UConn, plus a trip to Syracuse should give BC the chance to pile up a couple more Ws.
Certainly, a trip back to the postseason, which seemed all but impossible earlier this month, is well within BC’s grasp.
It came together, and for BC players, coaches and fans, it's certainly beautiful.