On Saturday afternoon, the Boston College Eagles traveled over to West Point to face the Army Black Knights for the 39th time in their history. BC football came into this game off of a comeback win against Virginia, their largest second half comeback since the 1990s. Army had a bye week previously, but had just lost to fellow ACC team Syracuse. It was a rainy afternoon in upstate New York and Boston College took full advantage, running down Army’s throat all day to eventually secure a close 27-24 victory.
After the first couple of possessions were fruitless for each team, BC got going on their second drive of the game. Starting QB Thomas Castellanos was using his feet a lot, scrambling and rushing for gains when nothing developed in the passing game. With Pat Garwo doing well himself on the ground too, the Eagles were able to drive down the field and eventually saw Castellanos scramble his way into the endzone from 20 yards out to take a lead in the first quarter. With a missed PAT from BC kicker Liam Connor, it was just 6-0.
But more inefficient offense took over after that drive. The wet conditions resulted in an almost muffed punt and lots of run plays, which both defenses were able to stop rather effectively. Army found themselves with abut of a penalty problem early in the game, which was odd considering that they were the least penalized team in the country coming into the game. Meanwhile Thomas Castellanos was running really well for BC, but his passing was all over the place and eventually resulted in an ugly INT that gave Army excellent starting field position. The Black Knights quickly drove down the field, but were stopped and limited to a field goal to cut the BC lead to 6-3 midway through the second quarter.
Boston College was then able to put together a very long drive, manufactured almost completely by rushing plays. The weather was having a clear effect on the playcalling and BC’s offense was able to navigate it effectively, driving all the way down the field with Castellanos, Garwo, and even Nate Johnson III getting in on the rushing action. A couple of 4th down conversions for the BC offense by Garwo helped keep the alive near the redzone, before finally Castellanos took it himself again for a TD. BC led 13-3 with under 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Army couldn’t get anything going on their ensuing possession, so the teams entered halftime with the same score.
Army was able to return the second half kickoff all the way to the BC 35 yard line, setting them up with excellent field position. They quickly worked their way into the endzone to cut BC’s lead immediately to 13-10. The Eagles made quick work of the Black Knights on the next possession, with Pat Garwo breaking through for a huge run downfield and then Castellanos punching in his 3rd rushing TD of the game to bring the BC lead back up to 20-10 halfway through the 3rd quarter. And then Army did the same exact thing, running all over the BC defense and working their way slowly down the field before eventually punching in another TD to bring it back to a 3 point game. The rain had stopped at that point, but it didn’t stop the offenses from getting yards in the trenches.
Penalties came back to haunt BC on their next drive, as a holding and block in the back both pushed the offense way back and eventually forced a punt, the first of the second half. Army took the ball and started driving once again, as their offensive struggles of the first half seemed like a distant memory. They still mostly remained on the ground, but were able to catch the Eagles sleeping a few times trough the air for big gains, including for the eventual touchdown that gave them their first lead of the day. BC’s defense was just getting completely outmatched.
With Castellanos getting stuffed on 4th down on BC’s next drive near midfield, the Eagles would have to rely on that unsteady defense as the 4th quarter started to wind down. Army was steadily driving down the field when they performed a pitch and catch that went all the way down the sideline for a TD, but was called back as an illegal forward pass. It was a huge break for the BC defense, who would have given up a first down on the play if not for the pitch. Instead, BC took over near midfield after a shanked punt.
Despite the dwindling clock, the Boston College offense did not abndon their run game. Kye Robichaux returned as the feature back and barreled through the Army defense alongside Castellanos. A false start penalty almost doomed the Eagles, but Castellanos came up huge with a 4 yard rush on 4th down to keep them alive. Robichaux soon found himself all the way down near the goal line and Army suddenly was the one worrying about the clock. After Army used up all of their timeouts, BC ran down the clock all the way as they sat at the 1 yard line before eventually Castellanos punched in his 4th TD of the day to give the Eagles a 27-24 lead with 25 seconds remaining. Army eventually fumbled away the ball on their last possession, handing BC the 27-24 win.
- The BC defense got run over. They had no answer for the Army offense in the second half, as the Black Knights got touchdowns in their first 3 drives and rarely even faced 3rd down. They looked good in the rain to start the game, but they could not match Army’s halftime adjustments. If it wasn’t for the illegal forward pass on Army’s 4th drive of the second half, the Eagles defense very well could have lost this game for BC.
- What a performance from this offensive line. They’ve looked good all year, but considering how they performed last season, this game was a tour de force. They made Army defenders look tiny all day.
- Thomas Castellanos continues to be the offense’s greatest strength. He had FOUR TD rushes and sometimes single-handedly kept the offense out on the field. Despite the QB confusion to open the year, he has the starting job locked down at this point.
- Pat Garwo looked really good. Starting RB Kye Robichaux only came in for the 4th quarter, but Garwo was the rushing star for most of the day. BC leaned on the veteran back and he showed up big with 111 rushing yards total, including some huge plays. It would be good to see him and Robichaux used more in tandem as the season progresses.