After BC opened their first drive by punting, the Eagles defense stepped up with an interception. Corner back Isaac Yiadom was able to get his hands on an errant pass from Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson. After a nine-yard return on the pick, the Eagles started the next drive on the Hokies 25-yard line. Quarterback Anthony Brown took a rare shot at the end zone seemingly connecting with tight end Tommy Sweeney, however the big man was unable to hold on to it, seeming zapping the momentum away from the Eagles. Unable to pick up the first down the kicked Colin Lichtenberg attempted a 40-yard field goal that wouldn’t even be close handing the Hokies the ball back.
After the offense could not seize on the opportunity provided by the defense, which has been a trend for Boston College this season, the Hokies answered quick. Jackson would complete four straight passes, ultimately hitting wide receiver Sean Savoy for a crowd quieting 53-yard touchdown giving Virginia Tech the 7-0 lead midway through the 1st quarter.
The Eagles offense would come out with promise once again moving the ball down field after Brown hit running back John Hilliman in the flats for 22 yards. After multiple penalties on the Hokies the Eagles were in VT territory. However, after the offense was once again not able to finish Lichtenberg would come on once again this time hitting a 32-yard field goal to bring the score to 7-3 with 5:24 remaining in the 1st quarter.
After punts were traded to end the opening quarter the Hokies would add ten points in the 2nd quarter when kicker Joey Slye hit a 34-yard field goal, and Travon McMillian would break free for a 23-yard rushing score bringing the game to 17-3 at the half.
In the second half, it would be more of the same from the BC offense. Even though Brown would show a knack for bringing the ball down and running that he hadn’t shown all season rushing for a season high 51 yards on seven carries. The redshirt-freshman would continue to struggle completing passes to his receivers when it mattered most, finishing 13-for-30 for 166 yards.
After the game head coach Steve Addazio was asked about the apparent lack of execution in the passing game. “T hey’re going to get better and they’re going to grow. Sometimes it’s never on exactly the timetable that we want it on, but the level of competition that we’re playing against while we develop these guys, okay, and so I’ll just say that I’ll continue on my part to make sure I’m doing a better job in the race of development here, and we’re going to leave it right there because I’m in charge of it, and I love them.” A passionate Addazzio said. The fifth-year coach would add, “It’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful. You can write that one down, okay. I don’t have the time clock on it right here, but it’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful.”
The truth is in their last 19 ACC games the Eagles are averaging a paltry 10.6 points per game. That level of scoring won’t win games even with a top-level defense. And, that is the exact level of defense the Eagles displayed Saturday night.
Defensive end Zach Allen delivered a career with 14 tackles, three for loss, and a sack. His highly regarded fellow end Harold Landry also delivered a big night with seven tackles and three sacks, even though he suffered an apparent ankle injury that kept him sidelined towards the end of the game. Defensive backs Lukas Denis and Kam Moore continue to rack up the tackles adding nine and eight respectively.
Late in the game the defense really stepped up keeping the game from getting out of hand. Despite giving up a third quarter field goal to make the game 20-3 in the 4th quarter, the Eagles stopped the Hokies in the red zone twice. Landry would stop Jackson before the goal line on a 4th-and-goal. Then the Eagles were able to force another field goal when the Hokies got the ball back to make the score 23-3.
The Eagles would show some explosiveness late but it would be too little too late. Former quarterback now receiver Jeff Smith would hit Brown for a 25-yard touchdown to give the game the final score of 23-10.
The flashes of hope and promise from the Eagles offense has made for a frustrating year. They have a defense that can compete with the top teams in the country but in year five under Addazio been nothing more than one of the worst teams offensively. It makes one wonder how long it will take.
Boston College has the tall task of traveling to Louisville next week to take on Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals. The reigning Heisman trophy winner picked apart the Eagles for seven touchdowns in their 52-7 drubbing last season. In order to keep pace, Addazzio will need to hope that development happens quickly.