On Thursday, the Boston College Eagles football team traveled just a few minutes down the road to Fenway Park to play in their bowl game against the SMU Mustangs. BC ended their regular season on a 3-game losing skid, dropping from 6-3 to 6-6 and wound up going local for their bowl game. SMU, meanwhile, had won 10-straight games, including the AAC Championship Game over Tulane, to end up at 11-2. But regular season records didn’t matter at Fenway, as the Eagles shut out the Mustangs in the second half to take home a 23-14 victory in their home city.
The game was a rainy slugfest from the start. Fans sought out shelter as the rain poured down on the field at Fenway and made it difficult for the players to execute. SMU got off to a very rocky start, fumbling on their first drive and stalling out on drives because the elements prevented them from putting together anything more than a few yards. BC found ways to move the ball though, kicking through a field goal and missing another in the first quarter.
Things started to pick up in the second quarter as the rain lightened up a bit. SMU started methodically marching down the field with short passes, scoring two touchdowns before the half ended. BC found some success running the ball with QB Thomas Castellanos and RB Kye Robichaux, punching in a score of their own. It was a low scoring 14-10 SMU lead at halftime.
The third quarter continued the trend set in the second quarter. With just a drizzle coming down at Fenway, SMU was able to operate their offense as normal and the BC defense struggled to get off the field. Castellanos threw an INT on the first drive and only had one other drive in the 3rd. But a blocked field goal turned a promising SMU drive into a stop, and it was still a 14-10 game as the 4th quarter started and BC got the ball.
From there, Thomas Castellanos went to work. He threw some great passes to Jaedn Skeete and drove the Eagles all the way down the field before running in a TD himself from 15 yards out to give the Eagles a 17-14 lead. SMU went for a 3 & out on the ensuing possession after trying a couple of deep shots downfield, and then failed their 4th down conversion and turned it over to BC near midfield. The Eagles immediately went all the way down the field again with a huge Kye Robichaux run and another Castellanos TD rush to give BC a 23-14 lead (after the missed PAT).
SMU stalled once again with a couple of long incompletions and a third down sack, allowing BC to get the ball back and run the clock down to 5:35 before punting. The Mustangs then finally put together a drive, aided by a defensive offsides on 4th down, that got them to midfield before eventually stalling out once again and turning it over on downs. BC got the ball back and ran out the remainder of the clock to win the game, 23-14, and improve to 7-6 on the year.
This game was a blueprint. Castellanos and Robichaux are a formidabl tandem on the ground and BC’s offensive line is back in form. They can re-establish an identity as a ground-and-pound offense with this roster, and Castellanos will be really fun to watch if they continue to run the offense through him like this.
The BC defense came up big in the second half. Their pass rush finally came alive, something that’s been missing for most of the season, as SMU struggled to get any of their downfield passes completed. The Mustangs’ playcalling was very questionable, choosing to take long shots down the sideline multiple times when they desperately just needed to move the ball down the field incrementally like they did in the second quarter. The Eagles took advantage and shut them out in the second half to get the win.
Be sure to keep your eyes on BCI as we recap the football season and figure out where they go from here. Thanks for a great season, everybody!