Yankee Stadium, in football mode. Photo by Ben Solomon.

The Eagles dominated the first half of play in terms of statistics, but were unable to parlay that advantage to a win in the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa on December 27, falling 27-20.

BC ran 40 plays in the first half, compared to Iowa’s 23, and gained 281 yards in offense, while the Hawkeyes managed only 56 yards. (Iowa did average just under 39 yards on 3 kickoff returns, providing a shorter field.) Star running back AJ Dillon himself more than doubled the Iowa offense, gaining 126 yards rushing, including a 66-yard run. But the Eagles led by only 7, 17-10, at halftime.

Both teams, obviously, played under the same field conditions, which were terrible. With temperatures in the 20s and feeling like the mid-teens, the field was frozen. Players fell when trying to cut and their feet often slipped when simply trying to start movement. Maybe it’s because one is a BC fan, but it seemed the Eagles had more trouble with the conditions.

(Major football fields exposed to the elements have heating systems that prevent freezing or use artificial material that is less effected by temperature. Yankee Stadium, built as a baseball facility, has natural grass and no heating system.)

Freshman AJ Dillon ran for 157 yards. Photo by Ben Solomon.

In the second half, BC fortunes slipped and slid. The Eagles managed only 102 yards in offense, punting on their first 3 possessions in the half and giving up a fumble and interception on two of their last three possessions. A 24-yard field goal by Colton Lichtenberg was BC’s only score in the half.

Junior tight end Tommy Sweeney had a career high 7 receptions for 137 yards and scored a touchdown. Dillon added just 31 yards to his rushing total in the second half, finishing with 157 for the game. His season total climbed to 1,589, highest ever for a BC freshman and fourth best season total in BC history.

The Eagles finished 7-6. BC’s bowl game record under Coach Steve Addazio fell to 1-3.

BC’s 2018 season opens September 1 at home against UMass, followed a week later at home against Holy Cross. The BC-Holy Cross game will be the first football game between the historic rivals since 1986.

Bundled BC fans. Photo by Ben Solomon.

More than two dozen San Diego Eagles watched the game in much more comfortable conditions than the fans above.

Dillon leads rout

It usually took this many Syracuse players to stop BC freshman A. J. Dillon. Photo by Charles Wainwright.

The Eagles ended their regular season with a 42-14 rout of Syracuse yesterday in the Carrier Dome. BC’s point total was its highest ever against the Orangemen, and the Eagles gained 581 yards in offense. Freshmen running back A. J. Dillon continued to shine, rushing for 193 yards on 23 carries and scoring 3 touchdowns, including a 22-yard score on his first carry.

It was about as easy a game as BC has had in a long time. While Syracuse gained more than 400 yards in the game, the Eagles limited the Orangemen to 2 touchdowns, both in the first half. BC scored twice in each of the first 2 quarters to lead 28-14 at the half, and then added a touchdown in each of the final 2 quarters.

Also scoring for the Eagles were Jeff Smith on a 64-yard run, Will Harris on a 30-yard run following a fumble recovery, and Travis Levy on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Darius Wade.

BC finishes the regular season with a 7-5 record, 4-4 in the ACC. The Eagles won 5 of their last 6 games. The 4 conference wins this season ties for the most in a season under coach Steve Addazio. The Eagles also won 4 in 2013 and 2014.

Dillon finished his regular season with a total of 1,432 yards, averaging 5.3 yards a carry. He’s the first freshman at BC to rush for more than 1,000 yards.

With 6+ wins, the Eagles qualify for a bowl game for the 4th time in 5 seasons. We will learn which bowl next Sunday, following the conference championship games. Clemson and Miami play for the ACC championship Saturday.