A three-game winning streak is nothing to sneeze at. Boston College clawed its way to a big 21-7 comeback against Virginia after letting up a heartbreaking Hail Mary at the end of the first half. BC went toe-to-toe with Army in the rain and ran all over them to claim a close win. And now the Eagles have gone down to Atlanta and defeated the frisky Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who had just beaten undefeated Miami. In each game, the BC staff created a working gameplan and the players executed well, which is more than you can say for their first four games this season.
The biggest factor has obviously been the performance of BC QB Thomas Castellanos. His ability to scramble or take it himself on designed runs has been incredibly valuable, diversifying the offense in a way that makes it very difficult for opposing defenses to defend. As the season has gone on, Jeff Hafley’s staff has done a good job of adapting the Morehead-centric playbook and turning it into something that plays to Castellanos’s strengths. Alongside running back Kye Robichaux, who has been incredible at finding holes and pushing through contact, the BC offense has found a new identity in the running game. All of this is helped out by the play of the revamped offensive line, too. This OL group has been doing a great job of opening up holes for Castellanos and Robichaux and they look nothing like the disaster that unit was last year. There have definitely been some growing pains along the way for this offense, like the loss to NIU, the penalty-ridden game against FSU, and the slow start against Virginia. But the outlook from here on out looks great, and the team and staff deserve a lot of credit.
Despite the new offensive identity, this BC team still has a long way to go before I’m ready to crown them as a solid football team, though. The main sticking point thus far clearly has been the defense. While the Eagles’ defense has definitely made some big stops over the course of the season, they are still the team’s greatest liability and that has not changed as the season has progressed. The 56-28 blowout against Louisville is obviously the biggest blemish on their resume, but even their recent performances against Army and Virginia showed a lot of things to be concerned about.
Army ran all over the BC defense in the second half of their game and it probably would have led to a loss if it weren’t for an illegal forward pass by the Black Knights. The Eagles’ defense let Army march down the field and score three touchdowns in their first three drives of the second half, blowing a 10-point lead in the process. Luckily, things broke their way at the end, but the BC defense put the team in a position to lose that game. The defense’s performance against Georgia Tech was better, to be fair, especially the pass defense. GT QB Haynes King was able to run all over the BC defense, but his passing game was otherwise kept in check and an insane pick six by Amari Jackson helped BC ride to a somewhat comfortable win.
But the winning streak we’re talking about here is against Georgia Tech, Army, and Virginia. Those squads are hardly at the top of their class. LSU just handed Army a 62-0 loss this weekend, dropping them to 2-5. Georgia Tech lost to Bowling Green by double digits, and their loss to BC now drops them to 3-4. And despite Virginia’s upset win over UNC this weekend, they are still a deeply flawed 2-5 team. In year 4 under Jeff Hafley, I would have expected BC’s season highlight to be better than barely scraping by some of the most mediocre teams in FBS.
Hafley’s rollercoaster took us to a very low place before we got here. A 3-9 finish last season followed up by the dreadful 1-3 start this year was the lowest point for BC football since 2015 at least. I’m happy that things seem to be turning around right now, but this team and this staff have a long way to go before they earn my trust back. Right now, this is just a minor hot streak against some mediocre competition. Steve Addazio put together streaks like this in his tenure, so we’re not breaking any new ground here. I will still be extremely skeptical of this staff until I see more prolonged success and good performances against higher-quality competition. But wins are wins, and I do give the BC staff a lot of credit for figuring some things out, pushing forward, and bringing the team together to overcome a terrible start to the year.