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Purdue 30 Boston College 13: What Went Wrong

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A bit of a different slant on this weekend’s beat down.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We usually post a Thumbs Up Thumbs Down after a Boston College Eagles game, but given how Saturday’s game went this author thought it would be disingenuous to give any “thumbs up”. The only positive was the play of Michael Walker on special teams. It was an atrocious game, in all aspects, so let’s look at the laundry list of what went wrong against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Vanilla Play Calling To The Extreme: After last week’s win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons I debated with Eric Hoffses on the play calling. I thought it was by design that Loeffer/Daz was running AJ Dillon purposefully on 1st down to draw Wake in. It clearly wasn’t the case, as we saw on Saturday, BC was afraid to throw the ball on 1st down, only doing it once on first down. For a team that had made it bones being aggressive, they turtled and looked tentative and afraid. Purdue quickly adjusted and packed the box to stop the run. It was mind blowing to watch a team that moved the ball so effectively for 3 games, turn back into an Addazio Pumpkin, with under 50 yards in the first half.

The Running Scheme: I would love to know if it was play calling.Dillon making the call itself, or BC reacting to poor offensive line play up front, but the running design was completely ineffective. Instead of running more north to south, Dillon kept bouncing it to the outside and Purdue was just waiting for him with outside linebackers and safeties to easily tackle or guide him out of bounce. He has to take up the middle more often, Dillon is a human wrecking ball, even if it is only for 5 yards or so, it will open the play action and keep defenses more honest.

Mistakes: In last week’s podcast Eric and I marveled at how this BC team had been pretty clean in terms of mistakes (minus special teams). Prior to Purdue they weren’t turning the ball over, penalties were at a minimum and wide outs were holding on to passes. All three of these reared their ugly heads on Saturday. Will Harris had a potential game changing interception taken off the board when Zach Allen jumped offside, Kobay White dropped a wide open pass that probably would have led to a touchdown and brought BC back into the game, and Anthony Brown was a turnover machine. Purdue certainly made some plays, but BC let them win this game with sloppy play, and this has to be an area of major concern moving forward.

Offensive Line Play: For a squad that was vaunted going into the season, Saturday was a complete disappointment. They were completely overmatched up front, allowing Purdue to push them around, and gave Anthony Brown no time to throw the ball. You know the line is having a terrible game when a defensive lineman has two interceptions. If they are scheming and playing correctly, the defensive lineman is engaged and not throwing his hands in Browns face two feet in front of him.

Team Just Looked Disinterested: Whether it was the team reading their own press clippings, or getting punched in the face and not responding, For a Top 25 team BC did not have the energy and by the second half did not seem to want to be on the field. The easiest way to gauge this was the tackling, which was really poor, and players not rallying to the ball. The body language also looked completely defeated in the second half, which was a shame, because the game was not completely out of reach at that point.

This was a painful game, especially given the excitement that had started to build for the program. But hope is not completely lost yet. Remember, this team still has AJ Dillon and NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. Before we all start throwing ourselves off the steeple at Gasson Hall, let’s see how this team reacts to this gut punch against the Temple Owls. Did the players and coaches learn from their mistakes? Can they hit the restart button on the season and get that energy back that we saw against Wake Forest? We will see on Saturday.