The questions BC fans raised after two FCS opponents to start the season were validated on Friday as the offense sputtered against a powerful FSU defense. In the process however the BC defense stood tall as they held the high powered Seminoles offense to only 7 points. Let's look more at some of the highlights and lowlights from Friday's game.
Harold Landry: Any questions about whether this defensive end could handle the pressure of playing quality opponents were answered on Friday. He finished the game with 7.5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and has solidified his role on this team. And to think, Landry is only a sophomore, he is going to be a major force on BC's defense for years to come.
The Secondary: This was a group that had big questions going into not only this game, but this entire season. Boy did they step up against Florida State against speedy wide receivers. FSU's pass offense was quietly effective but BC did an amazing job of preventing FSU from making the big play which helped BC's defense hold FSU to only 7 points. After the first drive when FSU just marched down the field this group locked down Justin Simmons and John Johnson did a good job in support, while Isaac Yiadom and Kamrin Moore tightened up against Travis Rudolph, Jesus Wilson and Kermit Whitfield.
The Big Boys In The Middle: One of our talking points all week was stopping Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. If I told you on Thursday that BC would have held him under 100 yards, and kept him to 3.6 yards per carry, you would be happy right? Much of this was due to Connor Wujciak and Truman "War Daddy" Gutapfel clogging up the middle on every play. These two are going to make it literally impossible for other schools to start any sort of interior running game.
Don Brown: His game philosophy and play calling was perfect, you couldn't have asked for anything more. The Eagles kept FSU to below 200 yards of offense, they stopped Dalvin Cook, and other than that the first drive the defense was close to perfect. BC lost, but you can't blame Don and the defense.
The Offensive Line: Woof, this group was a mess on Friday. They couldn't open any holes for the running game, and Darius Wade was lost for the season after getting clobbered. What worries me the most is that clearly Steve Addazio wants to establish the run, and with offensive linemen missing blocks and messing up assignments, this is never going to happen. When I watched the Maine game, and Jon Hilliman was getting met in the backfield by opposing linemen I hoped it was just early season jitters. Friday, it was clear that was not the case. We can all argue about Troy Flutie vs Jeff Smith, and the offensive philosophy, but all of that is irrelevant if this group doesn't get it's act together.
Jon Hilliman: It seems like yesterday that we were talking about Hilliman as the next Andre Williams. Boy have things changed. He now has 79 yards IN THE ENTIRE SEASON. He is averaging 2.93 yards a carry, and just looks hesitant and not as explosive as he did in 2014. As I mentioned before, part of his struggles has to do with the ineptitude of the offensive line, but part of this is on him. That fumble that lead to a touchdown was completely inexcusable, you can't give up the ball like that. You have to wonder what Addazio is thinking about his role right now, I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see more of Tyler Rouse and Marcus Outlow next week.
The End Of The First Half: I hate making comparisons to Frank Spaziani, but that lack of aggressiveness was a mirror image of some of the conservative play calling we railed on from 2009-2012. BC had the ball with about two minutes left, and it was clear that Steve Addazio just wanted to get the team back to the locker room and try to regroup for the second half. You can't give up opportunities like that and expect to beat a team like the Seminoles. It was infuriating.
The Offensive Playcalling: Again, conservative playcalling at its worst. We can rip offensive coordinator Todd Fitch for this scheme, and believe me he deserves some of the blame, but the larger chunk of the blame lies with Steve Addazio. He sets the tone, and expectations for the offense, and it was clear that he didn't want Darius Wade and the passing offense doing anything less than vanilla on offense. There were a few gadget plays in there, but to quote some of Addazio's harshest critics, it was a whole bunch of A gap run, incomplete pass, outside rush, punt. BC has got to figure something out before NIU on Saturday, or this ugliness will continue.
Darius Wade's Injury: Not jeering him for getting injured, but losing him was just terrible news.
The Wide Receivers: Again part of the blame has to be on the offensive philosophy, but they struggled the entire game. They couldn't get open, separate from FSU cornerbacks, and dropped passes. Wade struggled to get them the ball as well, but they were practically a non factor this entire game.
GIF: Everett Golson, standing still, levels BC lineman pic.twitter.com/czW6LL8Q6R— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) September 19, 2015