Since before the season started, all summer in fact, yesterday’s game against Missouri had been marked as the litmus test for the 2021 Eagles team. This was going to be the game that was going to tell us what we can really expect from Boston College because it was the first game against a real opponent. So what did we learn?
First off, Dennis Grosel showed me and BC fans what we needed to see. 18-29 for 175 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT is not a headlines worthy stat line and Pat Garwo and the BC running game carried the day (literally), but Grosel made throws when it counted.
The game winning TD throw to Zay Flowers in OT was what I needed to see to feel better about the BC offense going forward. We know Grosel is not going to be the best QB in the ACC but with the emergence of the BC running game, BC doesn’t need him to be. With the current state of the BC offense, Grosel needs to be consistent and make two or three big throws a game, and extend a few plays with his legs, that is all we need to do to stay competitive and win some games in an ACC that is, perhaps, a bit more open than in past seasons. The receivers are too good to ignore the passing game entirely, and it is good to see that BC still has a QB that can get them the ball even if it is on a more limited basis.
We learned that Hafley can make adjustments. Addazio’s 2nd biggest problem was that he refused to adapt. He was going to smash his potato like head through the wall and that was the end of story (thoughts and prayers for Colorado State, people, thoughts and prayers).
Hafley clearly wanted to implement a spread pass heavy offense at the beginning of the season but with the injury to Jurkovec, he has shown a willingness to adapt to the players he has. He is coaching the team he has, not the team he wants or the team he thought he’d have.
In addition to that, I did not think we would be four games into the season and be talking about the BC running game being as prominent as it ever has been. Much of the offseason discussion was devoted to this idea of BC’s running game evolving to complement the passing game and could it be productive enough to keep defenses honest. Boy has that script has been flipped in a big, big, way. Pat Garwo really made a statement this game, and likely cemented his place as BC’s leading man in the running game.
Much like Grosel, this defense may not be the best in the nation but it makes plays when it needs to. It was fitting that it was Brandon Sebastian with game winning interception because he is a guy you rarely hear about until he makes some big play at a critical moment in the game. Sebastian is very symbolic of this defense as a whole. This team gave up two fourth quarter leads and by no means stifled Connor Bazelak and the Tigers offense, but in the end still made the play when it needed to be made.
Broadly speaking, if we are treating this game as the BC Football 2021 litmus test, which I believe it was, what type of team can BC fans expect going forward?
Well, I’ll say this, get comfortable being uncomfortable. This Eagles team is not going to be blowing anybody out, they are not going to be some dominant team that shatters BC records, they are going to be a team that will win more than they lose but those wins will be tight.
What we have here is a talented, well-coached, and resilient team that will stay competitive and be there late in games. The offense is going to be methodical with a big play here or there, whether it is a Garwo run or some long pass play (long in terms of yards after catch).
Defensively, BC will embody the words “Bend don’t Break.” I imagine we will be seeing a lot more close games where one or two plays makes the difference. T
his year, anybody can beat anybody in the ACC. This is the most beatable Clemson has been in a long time, (that is a BIG “relatively speaking” statement) despite still being the most talented team in the conference. Spirits are high right now but the next three weeks could either lift them even higher or grind them in a nice fine powder.