(An outsider's musings about what is happening at Boston College, AKA The Heights)
CHESTNUT HILL, Ma.---So it goes at Boston College.
Just when you think the Eagles are ready for a breakthrough moment, they break down.
Just when Boston College fans were ready to watch the Eagles check off a pre-season goal which looked very reachable--earning a 6th win which would make them bowl eligible--they stumbled and found themselves scrambling for respectability--again.
All of that was again on display at alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Boston College closed its home season with a game against North Carolina State.
The Eagles (5-5) came into the game following a week off and were facing an NC State (7-3) which was coming off tough back to back losses to Notre Dame and Clemson.
BC needed one more win to become bowl eligible. One.
That didn't happen as the Eagles not only dropped a 17-14 decision to the Wolfpack, but played most of the final three quarters of the game without starting quarterback Anthony Brown who went down with what could very well be a season-ending knee injury when he limped off the field after the first series of the second quarter.
""There's nothing definite,'' said BC coach Steve Addazio after the game talking about the injury to the redshirt freshman QB who had been a big part of BCs mid-season resurgence as well as the loss of starting CB Kamrin Moore (shoulder). "But it doesn't look good.''
The Eagles have dealt with major injuries to their starters all season and have come up with ways to compete.
They did it again on Saturday, overcoming a 10-7 NC State halftime lead to grab a 14-10 lead with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Eagles' were in their "hold on mold'' until the 8:22 mark of the fourth quarter when State running back Neyheim Hines broke through a gap in the Eagles defense and sprinted 50 yards for what turned into a go-ahead and eventual game-winning TD for NC State.
With that loss, the supply of optimism which had been stored in the BC tanks is now draining rapidly.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Awaiting BC in its final two games of the regular season are match ups against UConn next week at Fenway Park and a Thanksgiving weekend finale at Syracuse in two weeks.
Normally, beating UConn which dropped to 3-7 following a 49-24 loss at UCF on Saturday would be regarded as fairly secure, but without Brown the situation becomes more problematic, especially for a UConn team that would love to spoil BC's season.
At 5-5, the best the Eagles can do is finish with a 7-5 record (their maximum win total in Addazio's five season at The Heights).
With that on their resume, the Eagles bowl prospects--if they do reach 6--would likely be limited to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana or the Military Bowl in Annapolis.
But with the loss to NC State, Addazio and the Eagles can not look past their next game. They should beat UConn even without Brown simply by overpowering the outmanned Huskies simply by letting freshman running back AJ Dillon run.
Dillon, who surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the season carried the ball 36 times for 196 yards and one spectacular 66 yard first quarter TD run on Saturday, is now the all time freshman rushing leader in BC history.
Little of that matters for the Eagles, of course, since they must regroup with different players filling key roles. Veteran defensive lineman Harold Landry was again a DNP on Saturday and now they have lost Brown and defensive back Kamrin Moore (shoulder) with injuries.
Addazio can also probably second guess himself for a few hours about the strange fourth and one call in the second quarter immediately after Brown was knocked out ot the game.
Facing a 4th and 1 situation from the NC State 13, Addazio passed on a chip shot field goal attempt or a hand off to Dillion who generally falls for more than a yard after he is tackled for a trick play with RB Jon Hilliman throwing a jump pass to tight end Chris Garrison.
The play worked in practice all week, but not on Saturday, which turned the Eagles away from what looked like a sure fire scoring opportunity.
Addazio took the blame for the call, explaining that with Brown hurt, he felt the Eagles needed a TD not a field goal.
BC came up with neither which was a mini-version of most of the afternoon played in frigid 32 degree weather, which was a hint of a winter season that is rapidly approaching.
With the loss, however, where and how BC spends the early part of the winter season is again uncertain
"Were going to have to make some adjustments,'' said Addazio. ""I don't know exactly what's that going to be right now.''Here's the reality. Saturday's game is coming like a freight train and we're going to be ready for that game.'''
So it goes at BC.[/membership]