Yes, penalties are the big headline for Boston College football coming out of Saturday’s loss to #3 Florida State. They had a record-setting day with the sheer amount of false starts, delay of games, and more. But underneath the sea of yellow flags, there is hope. The Eagles showed us on Saturday that this is not a team that will simply fall over and remain stagnant in their struggles. They took the #3 team in the nation to the brink, and the way by which they did it could be the path forward to a good season from here on out.
The most promising thing was the way the Boston College offense was able to move the ball down the field. Despite the plethora of penalties, Castellanos was able to lead the Eagles to 457 total yards of offense and matched Florida State in total scores. If it wasn’t for the missed PAT, BC’s offense would’ve tied the Seminoles with their final TD and this game could’ve gone into OT. Castellanos himself was responsible for 400 yards of combined rushing and passing, gashing the FSU defense for huge gains multiple times. It’s clear that he’s gotten over the mess of week 1 and his throwing struggles were mostly temporary. He has a particularly good connection with Lewis Bond and Ryan O’Keefe, both of whom had some very impressive catches. The offense, now centered around Castellanos’s dynamic playmaking, is getting better.
The defense’s performance was inconsistent, but against an offense like FSU, the struggles can mostly be excused. BC started out the day by allowing the Seminoles to score in five of their first six drives, giving up 31 total points with 26 minutes still remaining in the game. With 343 total yards of FSU offense and a 31-10 deficit just a few minutes into the 3rd quarter, BC’s defense had only even achieved third down against FSU 4 total times in 6 whole drives. Florida State was moving the ball basically unimpeded, with 4 of those 6 drives going for at least 60 yards each. It looked like, despite the promising start for the offense, the defense was not prepared and was going to let this one be a blowout.
But Florida State started to sleepwalk once they were up by so much. After going 3 & out on their next drive, BC drove 80 yards for a TD. FSU fumbled the ensuing kickoff to the Eagles, who continued to drive down the field before eventually failing to convert a 4th down near the goal line. That could’ve been the final nail in the coffin, but the BC defense stepped up big by stripping the ball and returning the fumble for a touchdown, bringing it back to a two-score game. Big stops on the next two FSU drives also helped fuel the BC comeback, before eventually a facemask penalty gave the Seminoles an automatic first down and the win. It was a gutsy performance from the Boston College defense after they had been getting torched for the majority of the game, and their late game heroics can be replicated against other opponents this year.
All of this is to say that the Eagles actually looked really good on Saturday against a top-5 opponent. The offense got into a groove and the defense showed some resiliency. There are deeper issues when it comes to penalties and fundamentals, obviously, but those are the kinds of things that can actually be fixed as the season goes on. Their problems last season, like the offensive line and QB, were basically unfixable during the season.
So the talent and potential is there. Can the coaching staff actually fix these roadblocks? It remains to be seen.