4th quarter fade

San Diego’s own Ray Smith, defensive tackle, from Cathedral Catholic HS. John Quackenbos photo.

Hard to know which team’s fans were more surprised when BC and Clemson entered the 4th quarter tied 7-7 in yesterday’s game in “Death Valley.” Easier to guess whose fans were more worried, as #2 Clemson faced the possibility, at least, of their first defeat of the season, and to a 34-point underdog, in front of 80,525 on Family Weekend.

Both Clemson and BC, however, returned to form as the 4th quarter moved along. The Tigers blanked the Eagles over the last 15 minutes and added 27 points, scoring touchdowns on 4 consecutive possessions. Final score: Clemson 34, BC 7.

In that final quarter, Clemson had 11 first downs to BC’s 2, 164 yards rushing compared to BC’s 18 yards, and 49 yards passing to BC’s 19 yards. The Tigers ran 27 plays for 213 yards (7.9 yards per play) in the quarter, while the Eagles had the ball for 13 plays, gaining 37 yards (2.8 yards per play).

If the first three quarters were nearly a standoff, at least on the scoreboard, the 4th quarter was the rout anticipated by many. Over the whole game, Clemson ran 84 plays for 482 yards, 342 of them on the ground. BC had 66 plays for 238 yards, 141 through the air.

BC quarterback Anthony Brown was 14-30 with 1 interception. Leading rusher for the Eagles was A.J. Dillon, who gained 57 yards on 18 carries and scored BC’s touchdown on a 1-yard run. BC falls to 1-3, 0-2 in the ACC. Game next Saturday at home against Central Michigan.



BC photo by John Quackenbos

A couple of stats for the Eagles Saturday against Notre Dame looked good. They out-gained the Irish in passing 215-96, ran more plays 85-78, and gained more 1st downs 22-19. Notre Dame’s better stats, though, were greater both in number and in scale, culminating in a 49-20 runaway win over BC.

The Irish rushed for 515 yards, falling 1 yard short of the most ever allowed by the Eagles (Army 2012) and tying the same total allowed to Army in 1985. (The Army teams have had a history of marching through Eagle defenses over the years.) Total offense for ND was 611 yards.

BC had allowed 322 yards rushing in its first 2 games. The Irish ran for only 25 yards less than that total in the second half. Notre Dame ran for at least 35 yards 6 times, 3 of them for 60+ yards. In its first 2 games, the Eagles had allowed only one run longer than 29 yards.

“Our bell cow was defense,” BC coach Steve Addazio said in the Boston Globe. “And we don’t give up rushing yards like that. . . . We don’t do that, but we did.”

The game was actually competitive, score-wise, into the middle of the 3rd quarter. BC scored first on a 38-yard field goal by Colton Lichtenberg in the 1st quarter, who had another successful field goal from 41 yards in the 3rd quarter and who has not missed a field goal or point-after yet this season. Notre Dame scored 2 touchdowns in the first half, and the Eagles scored a touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Anthony Brown to WR Charlie Callinan. The teams went into halftime with ND up 14-10.

RB Jon Hilliman. BC photo by John Quackenbos.

Lichtenberg’s 2nd field goal brought the score to a 1-point margin, 14-13. On 5 of their next 7 possessions, the Irish scored touchdowns. The only other BC score during the 2nd half was a 14-yard TD pass again from Brown to Callinan. It was a career high 7 receptions by Callinan for 2 touchdowns on the day.

Junior RB Jon Hilliman gained 122 yards on 22 carries, his 6th career 100-yard game. Freshman A.J. Dillon added another 60 rushing yards on 16 carries. QB Brown was 22-40 for 2 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions.

The Eagles fall to 1-2 and return to conference play Saturday against, ahem, #2 Clemson, which took care of Louisville at Louisville, 47-21, yesterday. Kickoff is again at 12:30 pm PT.



BC not aWake

Athletics Director Martin Jarmond greets members of the football team in the pre-game Eagle Walk. Best part of the day.

The statistics from today’s BC home opener against Wake Forest were not very different between the teams . . . except for one prominent and ugly variance — turnovers. The Eagles committed 4 while the Demon deacons had none and that divergence was a major reason for BC’s 34-10 loss.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown accounted for 3 of the 4 turnovers, 2 of his 3 interceptions either immediately or penultimately leading to Wake Forest touchdowns. One was particularly damaging. With Wake ahead 14-7 and less than 2 minutes left in the first half, Brown threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Instead of the possibility of tying the score or cutting it to 14-10, the Eagles went into halftime down 21-7.

Brown, who had shown promise in the opening victory over Northern Illinois, had a much more difficult time against this ACC opponent. Today, he was 11-of-29 for 119 yards, passing for one touchdown and with the aforementioned 3 interceptions. Darius Wade, the senior who lost the starting position to Brown pre-season, replaced Brown with 4:23 left in the 3rd period. Wade finished the game 7-of-12 for 44 yards.

Colton Lichtenburg continued his unblemished field goal performance for the season, with a 30-yard kick in the 3rd to make the score 21-10 in favor of Wake.

The teams were separated by only 4 yards in total offense, 309 to 305 in Wake’s favor. BC gained more yards passing, 163-151, but were short in rushing, 142-158. The Eagles had 19 1st downs to 15 for Wake. The Eagles had 82 offensive plays, 10 fewer than in the opener, but were as mediocre in terms of efficiency, gaining 3.7 yards per play.

Some of the San Diego Eagles at the Wake Forest gamewatch.

Next up, Notre Dame. An early game, 9 am PT.  UPDATE: ACC switches BC-ND kickoff to 12:30 pm PT. Remember, at Striders, fans in BC garb get a 20 percent discount off food and drink. And we will have BC swag to give away to lucky fans. Come on, it’s Notre Dame!