Where does Boston College go from here?
Wake Forest came to Alumni Stadium and capitalized on four Eagle turnovers to pull away 34-10 Saturday, killing any optimism the Boston College fan base was feeling after last week's close win over Northern Illinois in the process.
Coach Steve Addazio was quick to point out that the stat sheet tells a much different story than the final score, and he isn't wrong there. Wake Forest only out-gained BC by four yards (309 to 305), and BC actually finished with four more first downs (19 to 15).
But you win on the scoreboard, and BC wasn't competitive there for much after halftime.
"Statistically, it was pretty close with the numbers, but we turned the ball over," Addazio said.
Three critical junctures killed the Eagles Saturday. First, running back Jon Hilliman fumbled at the Boston College 25-yard line, setting up Wake Forest’s opening score moments later.
Then, just before halftime, BC attempted a two-minute drill trailing 14-7. The Eagles had just scored and forced a Wake Forest punt, but redshirt freshman Anthony Brown's pass bounced off Kobay White's hands and was returned for a touchdown.
That swing sent the Eagles into the locker room trailing by 14, and took the air out of an Alumni Stadium that was beginning to wake up.
Finally, Brown was again picked off in the third, this time on a pass he threw directly into triple coverage. It was the young signal-caller's third interception of the day, and prompted Addazio to put graduate student Darius Wade in at QB on BC's next drive.
But by then, this one was in the books.
It's hard to feel any positivity after this game. Not with Notre Dame coming to town next week. Not with the meat of the ACC schedule still coming up, including games against national powers like Clemson, Louisville and Florida State. Not with senior center Jon Baker out for the year with a knee injury.
But, take a breath.
Did BC allow things to snowball out of control, at home, against a beatable opponent? Absolutely. Does that mean Anthony Brown can't learn from this and go on to have a solid first year starting? Absolutely not.
In fact, you could argue that BC had bigger problems when it tried to throw the ball, as two of Brown's interceptions came off the hands of his own receivers, and a botched snap cost BC 30 yards on a promising early drive.
BC has to catch the ball better, or its young QB won't have a prayer, but freshman Ben Petrula, who made his first start at center, actually acquitted himself well, other than the aforementioned snap. Making his first college football start, and never having played center before, Petrula impressed Addazio, and there pretty much isn't anywhere to go but up from there.
It was a Murphy's Law kind of opener, but the fortunate thing for Addazio and his team is that they have time on their side with 10 games left. Whether they use that time to recover and make fans forget about Saturday, or dig their hole even deeper, remains to be seen.