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Boston College 35, Buffalo 3: The Key Play

Where did BC get on track?

Like a boss Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It was a solid B performance from the Eagles on Saturday, but BC did take a little while to find their footing against a bad opponent. It wasn’t quite as bad a start as it was against Wagner where the Eagles actually fell behind, but BC was still only up 11 deep in the 2nd quarter.

On BC’s last drive of the 2nd quarter, the Eagles took over with 6:28 to go on the clock deep in their own territory, up 14-3, still much too close for comfort. And the drive started out really poorly.

On first and 10 from the BC 16, the Eagles overloaded the left side, but Hilliman couldn’t find a lane and was taken down for a three yard loss. Then, Towles threw a good screen to Michael Walker on the left side, but a 5 yard penalty negated the play. 3rd down wasn’t much better, with Rouse getting stuffed for no gain.

So, the Eagles are now setting themselves up for a problem. Only up 11, backed up in their own end, with Buffalo looking at getting the ball with good field position and over four minutes to play in the half, plus!, the Bulls to receive the opening kickoff of the 2nd half... things could have gone seriously awry here.

But, the Eagles made a play to swing momentum permanently to their sideline.

3rd and 18 from the BC 8 yard line
Patrick Towles screen pass to Tyler Rouse for 27 yards

There are a lot of players who did a lot of good things to make this play happen.

First, the offensive line on the right side deserves a world of props for their execution.

Nice.

The whole thing starts with the right guard backing up a step or two. The DE comes right in to try and power his way through, leaving the Buffalo DT behind him on the line of scrimmage.

BC’s center and OT double team the DT and bulldoze him not back, but behind the DE, where he sees green and makes his run at Towles. But that was all part of the plan — the BC center and tackle both release, with Rouse springing out right behind them ready to receive the dump off. Now BC has a wide receiver, a center and a tackle all ready to blaze a trail for Rouse, and the run is on.

And on top of that, as well executed as it was, it still wouldn’t have been enough for the first down had Rouse not been able to slip through two Bulls defenders at the 20 to bust ahead for the extra 15 yards after contact for the first time.

With that, the drive went from as bad as possible to as good as possible. Instead of giving the ball, and momentum, back to the Bulls with 4 minutes to play in the half, the Eagles did just about everything right. BC drove the length of the field, moving the ball on some nice plays including a pass to Davon Jones out of the backfield reminiscent of Chase Rettig’s wheel route to Montel Harris against Clemson in 2010.

When all was said and done, the Eagles got the touchdown after going 84 yards on 11 plays, burning the clock all the way down to 21 seconds on their way to a 21-3 lead. With the BC defense playing well, that was a dagger to Buffalo’s hopes, and the Eagles wouldn’t look back from there.