Boston College dropped a close affair on the road in Raleigh against the NC State Wolfpack. It was a game of two halves, with the Eagles coming out flat to start the game, but really turning the motor on in the second half and making a close game out of what should have been a blow out. But what went right and what went wrong, let’s take a look.
Ben Glines: That is two games in a row that the sophomore has shown that he should be really getting touches even when AJ Dillon returns. He finished yesterday’s game with 16 rushes for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Anthony Brown’s vertical game and using his legs: Believe me, I’ll get to what Brown didn’t do right later, but I thought he continued to make decent passes deep, and while he didn’t connect on all of them he was getting the ball to receivers to make plays. At least two of those incompletions were drops by Jeff Smith (please use other receivers for the deep ball). Also it only happened once, but it was great to see Brown use his legs for a long run. He had looked slower before, but clearly he still has the wheels to move the ball with his legs if he has to.
Special Teams: Wait what? Other than a questionable onside kick (which is on the coaches), BC put together a near perfect day on special teams. They hit their extra points, a field goal, and had two blocks on kicks that turned the game around for the Eagles. Travis Levy’s touchdown could have been a game changer for the Eagles if they won. Michael Walker had solid returns. In yesterday’s bizarro world game, BC’s special teams was actually a position of real strength. Cheers for finally putting together four quarters of solid play.
Bend but don’t break defense: The defense clearly was not going to stop Ryan Finley and those wide receivers man to man, and they got scratched and beaten giving up 533 yards. But if I were to tell you that they would give up only 28 points given those stats, you would be happy right? The defense made a series of stops against a far superior offense, and kept BC in that game. While they certainly struggled at times, they made stops, and deserve a thumbs up for that.
First Half Play Calling: Absolutely atrocious play calling by the offense cost BC this game Saturday. It was predictable, vanilla and did nothing to utilize the skill that Boston College had (and we saw in the second half). I just don’t understand this coaching staff. We have seen three games where BC utilized a vertical passing game and how it opens up the playbook for the offense, but then we have also seen three straight games where that playbook has clearly gone out the window as the Eagles reverted to run, run, and having Anthony Brown throw a pass well short of the first down marker. It was maddening, as it just happened over and over again. Yesterday was especially infuriating because in the second half it was like a light bulb went off and all of a sudden the staff remembered that BC could use those plays, which LED TO POINTS.
Short Passing Game: The staff continues to have Anthony Brown throw these 2-3 yard outs to his wide receivers that are doing absolutely nothing. If the Eagles had some wide outs that could shake a defender, this wouldn’t be bad from time to time, but they don’t, and these passes aren’t going anywhere.
Lukas Denis at Corner Back: I have mentioned it multiple times before that opposing QB’s have been torching Brandon Sebastian the last three weeks, and something had to change. Yesterday Jim Reid and Steve Addazio tried to adjust this by moving safety Lukas Denis to cornerback and Mike Palmer to safety. It was an abject failure as Kelvin Harmon (who had a huge height advantage on Denis) and Ryan Finley picked him apart all game. I particularly hated this move because not only was Denis struggling at cornerback, because in the end you had a very strong safety and a weak cornerback switched to a weak cornerback and weak safety. I would rather have the All American playing his natural position than moving him to a position that hasn’t been where he normally plays.
The Refs: Look, I had to blame refs for a loss, but that final fumble by Ben Glines was a terrible call. The guys over at Eagles Insider timed how long he was stacked up and his forward momentum was stopped, and they timed it at 8 seconds. Ridiculous, especially given that refs are supposed to blow the whistles quickly to prevent injuries and protect players. I saw a lot of people upset about holding calls and of course there was this final spot on a 3rd down run that ended the game.
BC didn’t do themselves any favors putting themselves in such a hole, but it certainly felt like they were playing against 12 players at all times yesterday.
3rd Down Efficiency (Offense and Defense): Eagles went 1-10, and NC State went 10-15. You aren’t going to win many games with stats like this.