This is going to be a tough game to recap, because it was just a total crapfest on both sides of the ball. But just like we did in years past, it's time to look objectively what went well, and what wrong, and what went horribly wrong.
The Big Plays On Offense: I'll get to how awful BC performed as a whole on offense, but there were at least two sensational plays from the Eagles. In the first quarter Tyler Murphy bootlegged and ran a 50+ yard rush that was just short of a touchdown. It appeared at the time that BC was going to go out and set the tone on offense (boy were we mistaken). After BC went down by 20 in the third quarter, and everything looked completely lost, Murphy actually hit Shakim Phillips for a 48 yard pass. He was wide open (as many receivers were during the game), and brought BC back to a two score deficit.
BC's Defense In The 1st Quarter: Before the Eagles completely imploded on both sides of the ball, the defense controlled the game. BC kept Pitt to three points in the first quarter, including forcing a punt and the Steven Daniels interception.
Alex Howell's punting: He has been shaky as a field goal kicker so far, but his punting yesterday was pretty solid. He averaged 45.4 yards per punt, including a long of 62 yards.
The Video Boards: Looked pretty sharp. The graphics on them still had a lot of work to do (the Harold Landry guess the player game they had in the 3rd quarter was a mess with words cut off). Still they were a world of difference then the boards we had in Alumni before. Also loved the Baldwin pump up graphic, which when it went up was probably the loudest Alumni got all game.
The weather: Looking I am grasping for straws here, because I need to add some positives to this post. I was melting before the game (it was 90 degrees plus when I started tailgating), but by the game started it was relatively comfortable, and by the time Pittsburgh had the game in hand the weather was beautiful. So that was nice.
The Onside Kick: At least BC had something work last night
Not Giving Up: It was too little too late, but I have to give credit to the team for not giving up at the end. BC battled to the very last Tyler Murphy interception, which was nice.
The Wide Receivers: There are few times that I agree with our commenter 74, but I agree with him here. BC can not continue to roll out Josh Bordner and Dan Crimmins against ACC opponents. Both guys are nice receivers, but yesterday highlighted how slow they are compared to ACC linebackers/cornerbacks. Murphy kept going to them on the flat, and they could not do anything with the ball after the catch. BC needs to figure out something else there, use a faster receiver (where the hell was Sherm Alston?), and see if the speed can make defenders miss.
BC receivers also struggled with something they struggled with last year, drops. Sure it didn't help that Tyler Murphy was throwing the ball over their heads, at their feet, five feet beyond them, but some of those should have been caught. Their ability to separate from the defense was also horrible. When they weren't wide open because Pitt clearly wasn't respecting the pass, the BC receivers were blanketed. It was scary how covered they were. Last year BC at least had Alex Amidon who could get open, and that opened up the run because BC had some semblance of a passing attack, they don't have that this year.
Secondary Play: They weren't awful for most of game, but they allowed two plays that were BRUTAL and unacceptable, yet continue the theme we have seen out of them. Once Tyler Boyd was almost completely uncovered in the end zone, and the other play the BC defender (think it was Bryce Jones) didn't turn around to look for the ball. Add that in with Manny Asprilla missing an interception that hit him square in the numbers, and BC's secondary had yet another bad game. Have to imagine if Pitt had to throw the more ball more, the secondary would have mad more mistakes. See, sometimes getting blown out can be a blessing in disguise.
The Rushing Attack: Tyler Murphy had one good run to start the game (50 yard scramble), but other than that BC ran the ball 33 times for 91 yards or a 2.75 yard average. Not good. A majority of this had to do with the offensive line, which got completely outplayed by the Pitt front seven. There were no lanes anywhere for the BC running backs. It looked like Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse were just running into a brick wall the entire game. They need some holes if they are going to make plays. That didn't happen. Tyler Murphy's scrambles were a mess as well, he seemed to hesitate just a step too long which killed him, because when he just took it and ran he actually made a few good plays.
Game Tempo: Correct me if I'm wrong here, but wouldn't the read option and spread offense be more effective if the team actually pressed the tempo a little more. It was so frustrating watching BC get the ball, run a play for 5 yards, and then wait 10 seconds for Murphy to stare in at Addazio for the play, and then turn back and take 10 seconds to huddle, then add in another 5-7 seconds for presnap reads. The pace was SO SLOW. And again this came to bite the Eagles in the butt after Bobby Wolford had his reception over turned because Murphy couldn't get the ball snapped fast enough.
The Fans: I have a few gripes here with the fans last night. First off, Alumni was very quiet last night. God it would have been nice if the fans brought the energy that they brought to Gillette last week. And then it was the mass exodus of fans. Look I know it was a late start, and I know it was hot, and I know that BC was getting dominated on both sides of the ball. But it was unacceptable that more than half the stadium (and a majority of the students) left in the 3rd quarter when it was still a two possession game. I had two friends visiting, one a Texas A&M fan, another grew up in Alabama, and it was embarrassing explaining to them that this is common for BC fans. You get seven home games a season, why leave before the game is settled?
Tackling/defensive line: James Conner is a good running back, and Pittsburgh had a good offensive line, but allowing this kid to run the ball at 5-7 yards a clip is completely unacceptable. I felt like I was watching Andre Williams all over again, but on the opposing team. Arm tackles all over the place, missed tackles galore, and getting blown off the line of scrimmage on almost every play. Just a terrible showing all around by this group. Pitt's rushing attack did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, and BC just had to lie there and take it because this group couldn't do anything.
Tyler Murphy: I'll give him credit for the run that led to the opening drive touchdown, but after that he had the ugliest of ugly games. As I mentioned last weekend, it's time to drastically temper your expectations on what this kid can and can not do. He can run, and when he gets into the open field he is exciting to watch. However his arm is well below average and his accuracy is bad, which was perfectly exemplified in the drive after the Steven Daniels interception. He missed two WIDE OPEN receivers, which prevented BC from scoring 7 points and putting the screws to Pitt. Instead Howell missed a field goal, and the rest is history. We are stuck with Murphy, the good and the bad, it's going to be up to the coaching staff to figure out some way to use him effectively, because having him throw the ball is only going to doom us.
Anything and Everything Else: You name it, and it was ugly. Sean Duggan's injury. Missing Harris Williams. Alex Howell's field goals. Third down efficiency. Offensive gameplan. Defensive gameplan. All of it ugly. And just think, we have USC next weekend.