BC is Bowl Bound! Eagles Defeat the Huskies, 39-16
By: Evan Griesing
“This is all a process, and we’re in it.” Steve Addazio’s words in the press conference certainly were true in their 39-16 victory over the Huskies from Connecticut. Approximately 20,000 fans came out to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” Fenway Park, to watch Boston College battle University of Connecticut in the 2017 Fenway Gridiron Series. This game was also the 3000th non-baseball event at Fenway Park in the last 5 years, a milestone for 105 year old ballpark.
BC and UConn came into this game with 2 different approaches. The Eagles came in to the game with a 5-5 record, looking for their 6th win to clinch bowl eligibility and their 4th bowl in the last 5 years. The Huskies marched into Boston looking to reverse their recent bad fortunes, as they lost their previous two games by margins of 25 and 17 points, respectively.
The Huskies certainly came out with this approach to start the game. Less than 2 minutes into the game, UCONN’s junior quarterback David Pindell unloaded a 50 yard pass down the field to Arkeel Newsome, the team’s second leading receiver on the season. BC’s defense then prevented further damage by the UCONN offense on the drive by forcing them to a 4th and 21. However, Kicker Michael Tarbutt was determined to put UCONN up in this game. He nailed his longest kick of the season, a 50-yarder, to put the Huskies ahead 3-0. In wet conditions, Tarbutt’s successful kick was surprising, as he’s also only 5/10 in kicks more than 30 yards for this season.
Throughout the rest of the first quarter, Boston College’s defense continued to shine. Already up 3-0 with 9:30 left in the first, Pindell decided to air it out to the endzone, attempting to go up 10-0 on the Eagles. However, BC’s sophomore defensive back from Florida, Hamp Cheevers, had other ideas. He picked the ball off in the end zone, and turned the tides back to Boston College. Later in the first quarter, the Huskies brought out their field goal unit and Michael Tarbutt, who previously hit the 50 yard shot to put UCONN up 3-0. This time, however, BC junior Wyatt Ray slapped the ball down after it came off of the leg of Tarbutt. That would be the last time that the Huskies would attempt a field goal the rest of the game, and the last time they’d be past the BC 30 yard line the rest of the first half.
After being down 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Boston College came back with vengeance during the second quarter. With 6:13 left in the half, BC QB Darius Wade, in for the injured freshman Anthony Brown, completed his first touchdown pass of the day. With the ball at the UCONN 2 yard line, Wade rolled out to his left, and with 2 defenders covering him, made a perfect throw to Chris Garrison for the touchdown. Wade had pinpoint accuracy, finding the open receiver in the back of the end zone to put the Eagles ahead, 7-3. After the first touchdown, the Huskies only had a net gain of 8 yards on offense throughout the rest of the half. The defensive line, led by senior Noa Merritt and junior Ray Smith, made life hard for David Pindell. With Ray Smith bringing the pressure, Merritt recorded a strip sack, backing up UCONN further into their own zone. BC then forced a UConn punt, and Addazio set up the aggressive punt block formation. 3 Eagles attempted to block the punt, but the UConn punter, Brett Graham, was able to get the kick away before a block. Directly after the punt, BC’s standout running back, AJ Dillon, was able to break away from the UConn defense, and eventually carry 5 Huskies with him into the end zone for a Boston College touchdown. That was a 53 yard long run for Dillon, and Lichtenberg’s extra point gave BC the 14-3 lead, which would hold steady for the remainder of the first half.
The third quarter was characterized by an offensive barrage by the Eagles. They outscored the Huskies in that quarter 19-0. The Huskies defense had no match for the Eagles running game this quarter, as BC scored two of their touchdowns on long runs by AJ Dillon and Jon Hilliman Hilliman, the senior, was able to record some action late in the game and split caries with AJ Dillon. With Dillon’s 2nd touchdown of the game, he also collected his 200th rushing yard of the day, another stellar performance for BC’s first year student. Also in the third quarter, sandwiched between the two runs, BC’s Taj-Amir Torres caught a pass from David Pindell and returned it to the endzone for an Eagles touchdown, before Baldwin flapped his wings once again. End of quarter, BC was now up, 33-3.
The big storyline in the 4th quarter was Boston College quarterback, EJ Perry. Hailing from Andover, MA, EJ Perry came into the year as BC’s third string quarterback, behind Darius Wade and Anthony Brown. He was a redshirt freshman. Per NCAA rules, if Perry does not take a snap this season, BC could save him a year of eligibility. However, BC and their coaching staff made an interesting decision in the fourth quarter to bring Perry into the game for the first time this season. To the credit of Coach Steve Addazio and co, they did not want to risk an injury to Darius Wade, after seeing the misfortunes of Anthony Brown last week. Perry proceeded to only hand the ball off since coming in to the game, never attempting or completing a pass. The Eagles also brought in their backups on defense. This allowed Kevin Mensah and Hergy Mayala to make explosive plays for the Huskies, adding two touchdowns to their score. But as the rain tapered off, the UConn fans headed for the exits with frowns on their faces, as Addazio saw the clock tick down. Boston College is in the market for bowling shoes, once again—BC is bowl bound! This is a really beautiful thing. Let’s beat Cuse’ and pick up win number 7 next Saturday!