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Thumbs Up And Thumbs Down From a Bowl Clinching Win

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Boston College v Connecticut Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

With the exception of the first 15 minutes or so, this went pretty much how we all expected. BC went down 3-0 early on, then rolled for 39 unanswered points to blow out UConn 39-16 and became bowl eligible for the second season in a row. Now we take a look at some of the stand out performers last night, both the good and the bad.

THUMBS UP

AJ Dillon: A few seasons ago, this section basically reserved a spot ever week for Andre Williams and Steven Daniels. AJ Dillon is rapidly approaching that same territory. Dillon went off again on Saturday night, running for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns with an average of more than 8 yards per carry. Dillon is up to 1239 yards on the season and there’s a very real chance he gets to 1500 as a freshman despite not being the starter for a few weeks at the beginning of the season. He’s an absolute stud and it going to be awesome watching his career as an Eagle.

Jon Hilliman: Hilliman has had a real difficult season this year, seeing his touches cut dramatically since Dillon emerged. So it was nice to see him go out and have a strong game and remind us that he still has something left to offer. Hilliman made the most of his ten carries, going for 107 yards and two touchdowns, including a 38-yard score where he showed a nice combination of quickness and strength. Hilliman isn’t going to be the feature back going forward, but he can certainly still make an impact on games when he gets carries as a backup.

The Secondary: Three picks on the nights for the Eagles and UConn quarterback David Pindell didn’t look comfortable throwing all night. Pindell went just 14 for 33 against BC, and his one touchdown pass came when the game was long since decided. Hamp Cheevers (who I firmly believe has the best name in college football) made a great play in the first quarter when he picked off a deep ball in the endzone to stop a UConn drive. Lukas Denis was around the ball all night, knocking down passes and finally stepping in front of one of Pindell’s passes for a pick of his own. And Taj-Amir Torres put this game to bed with a 65 yard pick six to make it 27-3 in the third quarter. UConn scored a few garbage time touchdowns, but for the first three and a half quarters, this was a great night for the secondary.

Zach Allen: There were a lot of players in the front seven that I could mention, but Zach Allen has been a beast all season and continued his strong play last night. Allen had 11 tackles on the night including 1.5 that went for a loss, and he constantly got a push on the offensive line. UConn broke some big runs early on and hit on a 70 yard run late in the fourth, but Allen and the rest of the front seven gave them fits for most of the night.

Kick Coverage: Uconn got absolutely nothing out of their kick returns. They had seven chances to take back a kickoff and none went for more than 21 yards. BC consistently pinned the Huskies deep in their own territory and forced them to go the length of the field to score, something that UConn was clearly not capable of doing. Good on the Eagles for winning the field position battle early and often.

THUMBS DOWN

Colton Lichtenberg: Lichtenberg’s night got off to a rough start early on when he had a 43 yard field goal attempt blocked and it didn’t get any better from there. Three missed extra points didn’t hurt BC on Saturday, but against a better opponent, it absolutely will. Between the misses and the blocked kick, Lichtenberg essentially left an extra touchdown on the field. There’s really no other way to say it, but that just can’t happen going forward.

Darius Wade: I really went back and forth on including Wade in this category. He made a great play on Chris Garrison’s opening touchdown and really wasn’t asked to do much at all. He didn’t throw any picks and he probably should have connected on at least one of his deep balls to Kobay White, but White dropped what was a very nice throw. But the final line for Wade was 7-15 for 55 yards. That’s less than 4 yards per attempt and that’s really hard to do. Wade still doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket and that is a concern. Again, it really didn’t matter much in the end, but BC is at its best when they are a multidimensional offense, and I’m not sure Wade can get them to that point.

The First Quarter: What on earth was that? UConn’s first drive went for 61 yards and a field goal. They picked up another 58 on their third drive before Wyatt Ray blocked a field goal attempt of his own. The offense did nothing outside of one AJ Dillon run that lead to Lichtenberg’s blocked kick. This was an ugly, ugly 15 minutes of football.

UConn Football: This program made the Fiesta Bowl in 2010. This program made a bowl in 2015 and actually gave a nine win Marshall team a pretty good game. And now? They are atrocious. They let up 39 unanswered points last night. 39!! This game was over halfway through the third quarter and everyone knew it. Their biggest highlight on the night was having a dog in the stadium, though in fairness, it was a great dog.

This program is an absolute mess and it’s going to take a long time to fix it... if they ever do.