Last night, leading Wake Forest 17-7, Boston College gained possession of the football at their own 30 yard line with 1:16 left in the first half.
During the coaching regime of Frank Spaziani, BC’s head coach from 2009 to 2012, BC almost certainly would have ran out the clock, content to enter the half with a 10 point lead. But Steve Addazio is now calling the shots at the Heights, and BC lined up from the shotgun and tried to move the ball. They didn’t succeed, going three and out, but it was another reminder that BC fans will no longer be subject to the hyper-conservative approach of past seasons.
What followed shortly after was an equally welcome sight to Eagles fans who watched BC struggle mightily against the run and in goal line situations last year (they were 111th in the nation in rush defense). After the three and out, BC had their punt blocked, giving Wake Forest the ball at BC’s three yard line. It looked like Wake would cut the deficit to three before the break, but BC made a spectacular goal line stand, finishing out the half on a high note by keeping Wake out of the end zone for four straight plays. The series brought about memories of the vintage BC defenses of just a few short years ago that were ferocious when pinned up against their own end zone.
The Eagles eventually beat Wake by a final 24-10, and have clearly improved massively under Addazio. With the win BC improved to 2-0, equaling their win total from their nightmare 2012 campaign, and controlled Wake throughout. Their defense performed tremendously, holding the Demon Deacons to just 55 rushing yards, turning them over three times (another one of BC’s many weaknesses last year was that they couldn’t seem to force TOs), and locking Wake down on third downs (BC sucked at that too last year, did I mention they went 2-10?).
Offensively, BC was led by senior running back Andre Williams, who churned out 204 yards of rushing, more than twice as many yards as BC got on the ground per game last fall. The Eagle O-line still appears to be a work in progress, but the hog mollies opened up more holes last night than they have in a long time.
The Eagles are a world better than they were last season, and there were more positive signs last night than simply the win. The Eagles were aggressive, prying at the ball and bringing a pass rush that hasn’t been seen in Chestnut Hill since 2009. They were also disciplined and avoided any penalties. Their offensive play calling was creative, although a second quarter flea flicker did unfortunately result in an interception.
It’s hard not to be excited about the direction of BC football. Addazio is bringing fun back to Chestnut Hill. Next week, BC will be on the road, as they try to keep the momentum going at USC.