Boston College Escapes Piscataway with a Win
By JD Biagioni
AJ Dillon ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns to lead Boston College to a 30-16 win over Rutgers Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles ran for 272 yards total, lead by Dillon’s 150. David Bailey racked up 77 yards, highlighted by a 42-yard rush to start the scoring. Anthony Brown contributed 40 yards as well. His 11 rush attempts marked the first time the junior quarterback has attempted double-digit rushes in his collegiate career.
BC's first drive of the day felt like a tone-setter. In less than two minutes, they ran it on five of their seven plays, using A.J. Dillon to hammer away at Rutgers' defense then breaking through with this 42-yard burst by David Bailey that gave them a quick 7-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/lsGBs7lB7O
— Julian Benbow (@julianbenbow) September 21, 2019
Brown’s career high in rushing attempts came coupled with a season low in passing yards. In his return to his home state, Brown completed just over 50 parent of his passes for 159 yards. Despite his struggles in the passing game, Brown once again kept a clean sheet; the junior has not thrown an interception through the first third of the season.
“Today we had a lot of inconsistent plays,” Brown said. “I would say I was inconsistent at times. The one thing I’m proud of our offense for is that we came back and finished the game. We made plays where plays needed to be made and I’m happy and grateful for that.”
For all BC’s inconsistencies moving the ball, the offense finished strong, with big drives to conclude both halves.
In the first half, Rutgers kicked a field goal with 44 second left. Instead of sitting on the ball and going to the locker room ahead 14-13, BC snapped off a quick 8-play, 55-yard drive, capped by an Aaron Boumerhi field goal as time expired.
Later, in the second half, Justin Davidovicz hit from 50 yards at the start of the fourth to once again make it a one score game. The momentum seemed to be shifting in the Scarlet Knights favor, but the offense produced arguably its most promising drive of the young season.
BC chewed up almost 7 minutes of clock, quite a chunk of time for an offense that enjoys running an up-tempo pace. Over 18 plays, 15 of them rushing, the Eagles marched 75 yards and netted 6 points to put BC up 14 and kill most of the remaining time on the clock.
Tight end Hunter Long led the BC receiving corps with 38 yards. Five other receivers caught passes from Brown, including freshman Zay Flowers who left the game in the fourth with an apparent injury. Despite the scare, it appears there is no cause for concern.
Steve Addazio says that WR Zay Flowers, who left the field in the fourth quarter, is just fine. Says that the turf pellets obstructed Flowers' vision for a bit, that's all.
— Andy Backstrom (@AndyHeights) September 21, 2019
After allowing 329 yards to Kansas’ running back tandem of Khalil Herbert and Pooka Williams Jr., BC held Rutgers to 76 yards on the ground on 26 carries. The Scarlet Knights duo of Isaih Pacheco and Rasheem Blackshear combined for just 55 yards, as BC’s defensive line was finally able to replicate the success it had in the opening win over Virginia Tech. Max Richardson rebounded from an early coverage breakdown to lead all players with 14 tackles.
Rutgers made up for its lack of success on the ground with a career day from sophomore quarterback Artur Sitkowski. Sitkowski appeared in 11 games last season but threw 18 interceptions compared to just 4 touchdowns. He lost the starting job to Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter to begin the 2019 season but stepped in after Carter was injured against Iowa. With Carter not cleared to play, Sitkowski logged his first start of the season against BC and had a career day, throwing for 304 yards. Sitkowski threw his fifth career touchdown, a 74-yard catch and run by Blackshear, and got rewarded with a punch to the face.
Rutgers QB Artur Sitkowski 100% just got punched in the face by his own teammate. 😂pic.twitter.com/f579XECPCv
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 21, 2019
Much like the offense, the Eagles defense overcame inconsistencies to force turnovers in critical situations. Early in the second, with Rutgers ahead 10-7, Brandon Barlow forced a fumble deep in Rutgers territory that Mehdi El Attrach recovered, to give the offense excellent field position. Four plays later, the Eagles would reclaim the lead on Brown’s 1-yard touchdown run.
After, BC’s long drive in the final quarter, the Scarlet Knights pushed the pace, needing two scores to pull even. On 3rd and 10, Sitkowski was forced out of the pocket. Instead of throwing it away, Sitkowski threw as he was being spun around. The ball hung up in the air before coming down in the hands of Mike Palmer to ice the game.
With the win, BC improves to 3-1, temporarily stopping the bleeding stemming from the previous week’s 48-24 loss against Kansas. A home matchup with Wake Forest awaits the Eagles in Week 5. The Demon Deacons were projected to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic, but sit at 4-0 after an offensive explosion to start the season. Quarterback Jamie Newman has recorded over 300 passing yards in three of his four starts this season.