Iced

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.

Win streak ends

Running onto the field on Senior Day. Photo by John Quackenbos.

Tied 7-7 with #23 North Carolina State yesterday, BC had the ball on its 23-yard line with 1:01 left in the first half. Three straight rushes by running back A.J. Dillon gained a net 1 yard and consecutive timeouts called by NC State resulted in a punt attempt by the Eagles with 15 seconds on the clock. The Wolfpack blocked the punt and recovered the ball with 8 seconds remaining in the half.

BC coach Steve Addazio called 3 consecutive timeouts to “ice” the N.C. State kicker, who, at the same time, was able to have 3 practice tries. With BC timeouts exhausted, N.C. State was successful with the field goal attempt and went into the half up by 3 points, 10-7.

Three points was also the final differential in the game score, as both teams scored touchdowns in the second half and the Wolfpack won, 17-14. The loss ended BC’s string of 3 consecutive wins, all over ACC opponents. The win by N.C. State also ended its own 2-game losing streak.

The statistics reflected the closeness of the score, with errors by both teams contributing as well. BC had 20 first downs to 17 for N.C. State, while the Wolfpack gained 20 yards more in total offense, 367 to 347. Possession time was within a minute of each other. Each team had an interception and BC recovered an N.C. State fumble. N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley led the ACC in passing percentage coming into the game, but was only 13 of 32 for 146 yards on Saturday.

BC quarterback Anthony Brown suffered a leg injury early in the second quarter and did not return to the game, appearing on the sidelines on crutches. Brown had been 2 of 5 passing for 26 yards, with an interception. Backup Darius Wade was 8 of 15 for 82 yards.

Freshman running back A. J. Dillon rushed for 196 yards on 36 carries, including a 66-yard run for a touchdown, to become the first BC freshman to gain over 1,000 yards on the ground in a season. His total this season is 1,036, eclipsing the previous freshman record of 920 yards in a season by Montel Harris in 2008. He has at least 2 games remaining this year.

Highlights

Next game Saturday at 4 pm — UConn Huskies at Fenway Park. A victory would make BC bowl-eligible.