Not elegant, but a win!

In a game of teams with a total of one ACC win between them this season, no one expected elegance. Neither team achieved elegance. And odds-makers, who made North Carolina State a 15+ points favorite, didn’t expect a win by Boston College. But Eagles fans certainly hoped to see their team’s 12-game ACC losing streak end, and those hopes were realized.

With a trick play producing the winning touchdown and a defensive stop in the red zone — both of which were rare this season — BC defeated NC State, 21-14, and finally put a number in the conference win column. I’ve seen reports that it had been 700 days since the last conference win for the Eagles, and I’m not going to count to challenge that.

Jeff Smith finishes a 60-yard touchdown run

Jeff Smith finishes a 60-yard touchdown run

BC led 10-7 at halftime on the basis of a 24-yard field goal from Mike Knoll and a 60-yard jet sweep by Jeff Smith in which he ran untouched. A 29-yard field goal by Knoll made it 13-7 in the 3rd quarter, but about 90 seconds later and following an NC State interception of Patrick Knowles, the Wolfpack scored a touchdown to make take a 14-13 lead.

With just over 9 minutes left in the game, BC had the ball at its 37. Nine plays later, on the NC State 14, Towles handed off to freshman running back Davon Jones, who then threw a pass to tight end Tommy Sweeney for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Knoll’s kickoff to NC State was returned 56 yards to the BC 42 yard line, with 4:34 remaining. The Wolfpack moved quickly into the red zone and was 1-and-goal at the BC 2. In an offense older BC fans may recall from Dana Bible, who was later the offensive coordinator for this Wolfpack team, NC State ran up the middle twice for a total of -1 yard and then attempted a quite predictable fade throw into the corner of the endzone. BC defensive back Kamrin Moore said later he had anticipated the throw, which he easily intercepted. BC then ran out the clock.

BC had 21 first downs and 386 yards total offense, compared to NC State’s 14 first downs and 338 yards. Towles was 18-of-33 for 204 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception, for a QB rating of 28.2. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley was about as mediocre, completing 23-of-41 for 307 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jonathan Hilliman led the Eagles in rushing, with 74 yards.

The Eagles next meet #5 Louisville, in Alumni Stadium, 9 am PT, Saturday, November 5.




Two plays not enough

Remembering times past: Luke Kuechly's jersey was retired at Saturday's BC-Syracuse game. Also in attendance was BC icon Doug Flutie.

Remembering times past: Luke Kuechly’s jersey was retired at Saturday’s BC-Syracuse game. Also in attendance was BC icon Doug Flutie.

Towles on the move

Towles on the move

Two plays — an 85-yard kickoff return by Myles Willis and a 75-yard rumble by QB Patrick Towles, both for touchdowns — put BC in the position of almost beating Syracuse Saturday. But those two plays were not enough to overcome deficiencies on both offense and defense that resulted in a 28-20 loss to the Orange, the Eagles’ 12th straight ACC defeat.

Towles’s run, at the end of the 3rd quarter, brought BC to a 21-17 deficit. A 39-yard field goal by Mike Knoll, who was 2-for-2 in the game, made it a 1-point game with 10 minutes to go. Within a minute, Syracuse scored on a 68-yard touchdown pass to extend its lead to 28-20.

The Eagles recovered a fumble on the Syracuse 43, with 4:38 remaining. Darius Wade, who had replaced Towles at quarterback because of injury, brought BC, with the help of a personal foul penalty against Syracuse, to the Orange’s 14-yard line. A rush for no gain and sack of 11 yards put the Eagles back to the 25-yard line, 3rd-and-21. A 7-yard pass completion made it 4th-and-11 and an incompletion handled the ball over to Syracuse, who ran out the clock.

The Eagles gained 287 yards in total offense, giving up 532 yards. BC rushed for 223 yards and gained only 64 yards through the air. Towles was the leading rusher with 104 yards, but was 4-for-14 passing with no touchdowns and 1 interception.

It was perhaps because of the almost desultory tone of the rest of the game that coverage in today’s Boston Globe focused predominantly on a sideline scuffle that occurred in the first 3 minutes of the game. Syracuse had driven deep into BC territory on the game’s first possession when BC’s William Harris intercepted a pass and returned it 64 yards to the Syracuse 39. Syracuse QB Eric Dungey tackled Harris out of bounds on the Syracuse sideline, spurring Eagle linebacker Matt Milano to “intervene” and other Syracuse players to do the same. Players from both teams pushed and shoved each other, leading to offsetting penalties on each team for unsportsmanlike conduct, and a personal penalty on Dungey. BC’s possession led to a field goal and the Eagles’ only lead of the game.

After 4 straight home games, the Eagles travel to Raleigh, N.C., next weekend to meet North Carolina State. Kickoff Saturday, October 29, is 9:30 am PT.

Superlative futility

This effort seemed to be missing something, much as the Eag_le_s did in last night's game against Clemson.

This effort seemed to be missing something, much as the Eag_le_s did in last night’s game against Clemson.

BC’s game against #3 Clemson, on the main stage of college football Friday night, started the way it needed to if the Eagles were to have a shot at victory. There was a quick three-and-out by Clemson and soon thereafter a muffed punt that gave BC the ball at Clemson’s 9. Three plays and 5 yards later, the Eagles had to settle for a field goal and took a 3-0 lead.

By the time BC scored again, a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter, the Tigers had amassed 35 points. Clemson would go on to score 3 additional touchdowns to make the final score Clemson 56 – BC 10. It was the Eagles’ 11th straight loss in the ACC.

The Tigers doubled BC in total offense, gaining 503 yards to BC’s 251.They had 12 fewer plays (60-72) than the Eagles and had the ball for only 22 minutes. That combination of statistics was the product of more explosive plays by Clemson, e.g., 2 touchdowns on runs of 59 and 45 yards, 2 touchdowns on passes of 56 and 29 yards.

Clemson’s 56 points were the most given up by the Eagles since 1999, when they lost to Colorado in a bowl game, 62-28. Earlier this season, Virginia Tech beat BC 49-0, the largest margin of defeat by BC since 1950. While defense was supposed to be a strong element for this year’s Eagles, the two games against Clemson and VaTech have belied that.

Next Saturday is a bye week for the Eagles. They play again October 22, Syracuse in Chestnut Hill, game time to be announced.

A video of selected plays:

Hockey update

BC’s #5 men’s hockey team defeated host Denver, 3-1, in the consolation round of the Icebreaker Tournament Saturday night. The Eagles (1-1) started their season the night before with a 2-1 loss to Air Force in the opening round. Air Force beat Ohio State to take the tournament title. The women’s team got its first win last night, beating Maine 2-1, and are a symmetrical 1-1-1.