There were some positive takeaways from BC's 24-3 win over the FCS Black Bears, but it's hard not to come out of Saturday's win feeling a little nervous about the season to come.
That's not to say anyone should panic (yet), but the offense certainly struggled despite pulling away in the second half.
Maine took an early lead with a long drive after the opening kickoff, culminating in a field goal and a 3-0 advantage, but from that point on, the BC defense came to play. The Black Bears could only muster seven (7) yards on the ground. And after Maine's opening 54 yard drive, the BC defense allowed just 37 all-purpose yards the entire rest of the game.
The Eagles tied the game with a field goal in the second quarter and ran a beauty of a drive to end the half, finding the endzone for a touchdown with just seconds left on the clock to take a 10-3 lead as the "Screaming Eagles" Marching Band lined up to take the field.
BC has a revolver full of backs, and after Jon Hilliman impressed with a solid first half, it was Tyler Rouse who came to life in the second half to give the Eagles a bit of breathing room. In the third quarter, Rouse hit "O" on the controller for a picture-perfect spin move before scampering 21 yards into the endzone, putting BC up by 14, and he put the game away for good with a 45 yarder in the fourth for the 24-3 lead.
Some quick hits as we kick off our post-game coverage:
--Tyler Murphy was a special player, but Darius Wade is definitely an improvement through the air. He wasn't asked to sling the ball downfield much, but his short- and medium-range passes were largely on the mark and accurate. Some of BC's biggest plays were on short passes into the flat or into the slot, something Murphy really struggled with. That's going to add an important dimension to BC's offense...
--...and it looks like they're going to need it. The offensive line really, really struggled. Don't let the second half rushing numbers fool you: Maine starting to wear down and Rouse's big play scores turned the numbers into a bit of an illusion. They are a very young unit, and it was Game #1, and, yes, they did start to wear the Black Bears down, but it wasn't a good first impression. We'll be hoping to see much better cohesion in Game #2.
--It's FCS Maine. We need to add that caveat about 5 times in this paragraph. But the defense sure did look elite. I know it's FCS Maine. I know. But the Black Bears had 4th and 38 at one point. And after their first drive I'm not sure they crossed midfield again. FCS Maine, yes. But still. A great start for the defense. Two more caveats left: FCS Maine. FCS Maine.
--Sherman Alston. Buddy. Much love. You're my boy. But please do not try and pick up bouncing balls on punts anymore. Sherm made a wildly dangerous play in a one score game by picking up a bouncing ball almost on his own goal line, and lucked into managing to get out to the 10 before being tackled. Later in the fourth quarter, a bouncing punt almost hit him, nearly giving the Black Bears the ball deep in BC territory. NO. BAD Sherm. BAD.
We'll have more analysis and hot takes for you all week as we wrap up Week #1 and look ahead to Howard. BC will take the win and hopefully look to improve in the coming couple of weeks before getting into ACC play.