Last Saturday’s season opener vs Northern Illinois was not what the Boston College Eagles (0-1) had in mind. The 27-24 overtime loss to the Huskies looked like too many games from a season ago. The Eagles were outgained on both the ground and through the air. Their defense spent way too much time on the field (36:53) to the tune of sixteen more minutes than their offensive mates. Boston College committed too many penalties 10-for-93 yards, including a couple of key pass interference calls on fourth down that allowed NIU to keep drives alive. Not to mention quarterback play from the Eagles that was at times shaky at best. As the team looks ahead to this Saturday’s matchup with Holy Cross (1-0), there is plenty to clean up and fix if the Eagles are to win their first game of the young year.
Coach Jeff Haffey was disappointed with his team’s performance last week, and who could blame him. Too many mistakes playing the game uphill the entire day is never the way you want to play, especially at home. The Eagles wanted to give their fans a reason to get excited about the season. Instead, they provided a reminder of how last year went. Consider that Boston College never gained the lead until the overtime. Even then they could only hold that lead for four plays. Everything you wanted to see improvement in did not happen. For Coach Haffey, that should be a major concern.
Another concern is who will play QB this week vs the Crusaders. Emmett Morehead struggled from the opening snap. He had the first two series of the game and did nothing with either one. He went 4-for-10 for 30 yards on the day. His two drives consisted of a six-play, 21-yard first drive with one first-down gained. His second drive was a five-play drive that netted only two yards. The reason for the low total was two penalties on the offensive line. One for a false start, the other for a hold. Thomas Castellanos said, “I was supposed to get the third series of the game.” The transfer from Central Florida went 13-for-28, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He was also sacked once. He would lead the team in rushing as well with nine carries for 74 yards, 67 of them net. He had a two-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that brought BC back to within seven at 21-14 with 5:59 left in the quarter. He provided some life and energy to a team that was in dire need of it. How this plays out on Saturday is anyone’s guess. Both will and should play. Who plays more is the question.
The defense had problems that plagued them all of last season like too much time spent on the field. Northern Illinois had 21 first downs for the afternoon. Seven through the air, 11 on the ground, and three by penalties. The Huskies ran 78 plays, gained 338 yards, and they averaged 4.3 yards a play. Quarterback Rocky Lombard was 13-of-29 for 165 yards. He was never pressured by the Eagles front seven. He had time and space to throw the ball downfield. Nine different receivers had at least one catch on the day. On the ground, eight different ball carriers touched the ball. A total of 179 yards was gained on the ground. Gavin Williams led the team with 61 yards on 15 carries including eight key yards on the overtime drive that ended with Lombardi taking in into the end zone for the game-winner from a yard out. This defense must find a way to get stops and get off the field.
The Eagles face a Holy Cross team that won their home opener over Merrimack by a 42-20 score. They had a balanced attack running the ball for 242 yards on 34 attempts for an average of 7.1 yards a try. In the air, the Crusaders threw for 190 yards for an average of 21 yards a completion and two touchdowns. The defense sacked Merrimack’s QB three times in the game and they did not force a turnover. However, the Crusaders led the game wire-to-wire.
Holy Cross had two rushers finish the game with a 100-yard day, Jordan Fuller (13 carries for 120 yards and four scores) and QB Matthew Sluka (14 rushes for 105 yards ). Sluka also threw the ball nine times on fourteen attempts, good for 190 yards, two TDs, and one INT. He was sacked twice. Sluka’s favorite target was Jalen Coker who had four catches for 136 yards and one score. On defense, Jacob Dobbs was around the ball all day, with 21 total tackles (6 solo, 15 assists), with two quarterback hits. Holy Cross would score on six of their nine drives, including their last four in a row.
This will be the 84th meeting between these two schools. Boston College leads the all-time series 48-32-3, with BC winning the last nine straight. A win by the Crusaders would be their first over the Eagles since 1978. Holy Cross has won their last two FBS games. Last season vs Buffalo 37-31, and in September of 2021 38-28 over UConn.
- America East ConferenceSeptember 28, 2023America East Baseball News: NJIT has a new home
- America East ConferenceSeptember 27, 2023UMass Lowell Getting Ready for Another Hockey Season
- ACCSeptember 22, 2023Boston College Heads Out on the Road to face Louisville
- ACCSeptember 21, 2023ACC Football News & Notes: The League is Full of 3-0 Teams