As Grant would say, Boston College is a second half team.
The Eagles shook off a sluggish first-half start to put away the plucky FCS Maine Black Bears 40-10 on Saturday afternoon. Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy once again did it primarily with his legs, rushing for 99 yards on 13 carries and two scores, while adding 130 yards on 11-of-18 passing to dispatch the Black Bears.
The first-half was quite the adventure for Boston College. After both defenses traded three-and-outs to start the game, Murphy was picked off by Maine's Randy Samuels on his first pass attempt of the game. Three plays later, a drive aided by a Bryce Jones facemask penalty ended in the Black Bears' first touchdown against the Eagles since 1915. Before you knew it, it was 7-0 Maine.
Boston College responded with a 10 play, 40 yard drive that stalled on a false start penalty. The Eagles settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3.
After a Maine three-and-out on the next drive, Murphy needed just 1 play to find the end zone on a beautiful 71-yard light jog. The 71-yard rushing TD topped last week's career-high 66-yard run that iced the victory over USC.
Maine would tie the game at 10-10 after #Inexplicable50+YardPassingPlaySurrenderedAchievementUnlocked by the Boston College defense. If not for a heads up hustle play by Josh Keyes, Maine's Jeremy Salmon was so wide open that he could have walked into the end zone.
BC would respond on the next drive, when Murphy and the Eagles' three-headed rushing attack engineered a 7 play, 74 yard touchdown drive capped with a 48-yard pitch-and-catch from Murphy to Josh Bordner. Joey Launceford's point after attempt was blocked. 16-10, BC. Alex Howell would tack on a 34-yard field goal late in the first half to give the Eagles a 19-10 lead going into the locker room.
Despite the adventures in the kicking game, all the balls hitting the turf in the run game, the penalties and an extreme aversion to the forward pass, the game never really felt as close as the first-half score indicated. BC out-gained Maine 246-122 in the first half and the Eagles defense did its part, limiting the Black Bears to 1-of-6 on third down and 32 yards rushing.
The D forced a Maine three-and-out on the Black Bears' first possession to start the second half. The offense responded by chewing up 8 minutes of game clock and capping a 15 play, 74 yard drive with a 2-yard Jon Hilliman rushing touchdown, his third of the season.
The coaching staff called for a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff. Really not sure if it was intentional since I didn't get a good look at it, but the kick bounced off the retreating Maine upman and was recovered by BC at the 45. Six plays later, Hilliman had his second TD of the day on a 4-yard run to extend the lead to 33-10.
Another Maine three-and-out gave BC the ball on its own 20. The Eagles needed 10 plays to march another 80 yards downfield for another Eagle touchdown. 40-10, BC.
With 7:41 to play in the fourth quarter, Superfans saw a glimpse of the future when Murphy was spelled by true freshman QB Darius Wade. The southpaw showed nice touch on some balls but finished just 1-of-3 passing for 6 yards. Freshman RB Marcus Outlow got some extended work in garbage time and showed some wheels, rushing for over 100 yards (107 yards) on just 14 carries over the Eagles' final two offensive possessions.
The Eagles survived a scare when starting left guard Bobby Vardaro went down with what appeared to be a knee injury. He later returned to the game and looked to be OK, helping Myles Willis rattle off a long run.
It wasn't a perfect performance by any means, but BC did what it had to do to wear down the Maine defensive front and cruise to a comfortable victory in week 4. The Eagles finished the game with 549 yards of total offense -- 413 of those on the ground -- while the defense held Maine to just 17 second-half yards.
Now the Eagles will take the week to correct some mistakes and prepare to host an idle Colorado State team watching this game on TV. Half way home to bowl eligibility. Leave your thoughts on the win below.