On Thursday night, the Boston College Eagles football team travaled to Pittsburgh, PA to face the Pitt Panthers for some midweek ACC action between two historic Northeast programs. Both teams were coming off of a rough loss looking to right the ship, though BC was also looking to improve its bowl game resume while the Panthers were just trying to salvage what little of a season they have left. BC could not rise to the occasion, flailing at the end to give Pitt a 24-16 victory.
Boston College set the tone early on the ground. Although they only got 9 yards on their first three downs, BC attempted and converted a 4th & 1 deep in their own territory. They continued punching the ball down the middle most of the way down the field, though couldn’t break into the redzone and settled for a field goal to make it 3-0 early. Pitt was able to move the ball through the air on the Eagles on their ensuing drive, but a badly thrown deep ball by Yarnell almost got picked by BC’s Khari Johnson and they stalled out from there, settling for a FG of their own to tie the game at 3-3.
Boston College started using the passing game a bit more on their next possession with mixed results. A short dish on the sideline helped them march into Pitt territory, but a couple of broken pass plays after that ended up pushing BC back and forced them to punt. Pitt once again able to move the ball on offense as the second quarter began and there was nothing the Boston College defense could do to stop them. After a conversion on 4th & 3 near midfield, Pitt continued driving all the way into the endzone basically unimpeded to make it 10-3.
After another BC possession that went nowhere, Pitt drove deep into BC territory once again, but eventually could not convert on 4th & 1 thanks to a big stop by Vinny DePalma. It prevented what could’ve been a double-digit lead for Pittsburgh. Instead, BC got the ball back and was able to use the remaining time left in the half to get into field goal range. Jeff Hafley inexplicably iced his own kicker, Liam Connor, but he hit the second try anyway to shorten Pitt’s lead to 10-6 at halftime.
The second half started out well for Boston College. After holding Pitt to a quick punt, BC drove down the field with some odd catches and a couple of penalties before Lewis Bond caught a highly-contested deep bomb in the endzone to take back the BC lead, 13-10. But Pitt struck back rather quickly with a very long 61-yard TD pass that didn’t have any BC DBs even near the guy to take back a 17-13 lead. Thomas Castellanos started to take over and run really well on the next possession, but it was over as soon as it started when he chucked it downfield and got picked. Despite playing really well between the tackles, BC’s playcalling refused to abandon the pass and the Eagles paid dearly.
Pitt drove it down the field a bit to start the 4th quarter but settled too early for a FG, missing a long one and giving BC good field position. Castellanos and Robichaux were back to running really well for the Eagles, but a formation penalty from Lewis Bond pushed them back into another punt and they came up empty-handed again. Though Pitt ended up with bad field position once again and couldn’t do anything with it, as the BC defense put together a couple of nice stops to keep their team in the game as the 4th quarter began.
Boston College received good starting field position once again. They hadn’t been able to do much with it in the second half, but they finally managed to ride Robichaux and Castellanos all the way down to 1st & goal. From there a holding penalty erased so much of their progress, forcing BC to kick a field goal that brought them within one point, 17-16. From there, BC just needed a stop from their defense and then a FG drive to take the lead.
Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t tackle to save their lives. Pitt’s RB Hammond ran right through three broken tackles to take it to the house from 66 yards out to give Pitt a 24-16 lead. Though it was still a one possession game and BC got the ball back, they once again couldn’t do anything with it and forced the BC defense into a tough situation. They did let up a first down and needed to burn all three timeouts, but they did manage to get BC the ball back with about 1 minute to go. From there, the BC offense fell into a mess of a drive that included an illegal forward pass and a referee crew that dragged out the end of the game as far as they could. Castellanos capped off the disaster drive with a deep INT and Pitt was able to close out their 24-16 win.
- That playcalling was absurd. Despite dominating on the ground all day, Boston College continued to make Thomas Castellanos throw the ball into terrible situations. It clearly hasn’t been a strength of his in recent contests and Pitt’s run defense is possibly the worst in the ACC, but BC couldn’t figure out that one simple strategy that could’ve won them the game. Syracuse managed to do it by throwing only 8 total passes last week. But for some reason BC made Castellanos throw the ball 25 times. Just indefensible.
- The defense showed up for about two or three drives. They had a good couple of defensive stands towards the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th, but otherwise couldn’t make tackles for the second week in a row. Pitt players repeatedly ran through multiple BC defenders on their way to huge downfield scores with nobody near them. Jeff Hafley is a secondary coach, right?
- It’s become very clear that the win streak was propped up by bad competition. We had somewhat of an idea that the teams BC was beating were bad, but BC has proved these past two weeks that they truly are a while away from being a good P5 team. Beating up on UConn, Virginia, and Army to reach a bowl is about the most disappointing way you can get there.