Boston College Stumbles in First Home Game Against Wake Forest, 34-10
By Alec Plante
Coming off a close win against Northern Illinois University a week ago, the Eagles walked into Alumni Stadium eager to maintain their momentum in a matchup that was both their first home game and their first conference matchup.
However, spirits were dampened by a surprise announcement made shortly before the game began: team captain and starting center Jon Baker would be out for the season after suffering a knee injury against NIU.
It did not take long for the void left by Baker’s injury to be felt in full by the Eagles.
The first couple drives of the game were unproductive for both teams. Punts capped off drive after drive as both offenses struggled to establish an effective run game.
A key reason Wake Forest had little to no success on the ground game in their first few drives was the presence of DE Zach Allen, who made a few crucial tackles in the first quarter.
Despite fantastic field position on each drive, Boston College simply looked inefficient and, at times, inexperienced.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown did, however, show flashes of star power in a few deep passes. One such pass by Brown to get the offense into Wake Forest’s territory in the first quarter was negated by the following play: an errant snap that Brown could do nothing but fall on for a 20+ yard loss. That drive too ended in a punt.
The back-and-forth punting eventually came to a bitter end due to a crushing fumble by junior running back Jon Hilliman. This set up Wake Forest on the BC 25-yard line, which allowed Wake Forest’s John Wolford to toss up a dime to wide receiver Greg Dortch in the right corner of the end zone.
Boston College entered the second quarter losing 7-0 without much evidence that the Eagles could recover.
Things only got bleaker when, less than two minutes into the second quarter, Wolford ran one of his signature QB blasts up the edge and scored a 29-yard touchdown.
In an attempt to revitalize the offense, the BC coaching staff decided to work freshman AJ Dillon into the mix and run the ball with him exclusively in the next drive. Despite a few nice runs by the freshman, the Eagles still could only respond with a punt.
However, a couple drives later, the Eagles received a much-needed blessing in the form of a pass interference call on Wake Forest’s redshirt sophomore cornerback Amari Henderson. Boston College moved up to the Wake Forest 23 yard line and finished the drive strong with a touchdown pass to RB Jon Hilliman, almost redeeming his costly fumble earlier in the game.
Things were looking up after that, and the crowd at Alumni Stadium was finally on their feet. The Eagles defense was even able to force a punt on the next drive. Naturally, the BC offense walked onto the field with a new confidence.
Also naturally, that hubris was immediately swept up from under them after Anthony Brown’s second interception of the game in the following drive. The interception was returned by Wake Forest’s sophomore cornerback Essang Bassey for a touchdown.
In Brown’s defense, redshirt freshman receiver Kobay White knocked the ball up into the air while he was trying to come down with the well-thrown ball, causing the pick.
This play rounded out the half and sapped all momentum from both the team and the stadium.
The score was 21-7, Wake Forest at the half.
The third quarter fared no better, as Boston College was able to secure a field goal to start it off, but then immediately surrendered 10 unanswered points to Wake Forest. This was enabled by Brown’s third interception of the day, a zipper to Wake Forest SS Jessie Bates III. This time the blame fell squarely on Brown’s shoulders.
Despite an overall promising day for Anthony Brown’s future with Boston College, the three interceptions that he must now bear on his ledger were enough for the BC coaching staff to pull him from the game in favor of quarterback Darius Wade, a veteran in the BC program.
Wade initially made a good impression, locking down a few good passes and generally looking more experience than his predecessor in the game. However, Wade was not able to mitigate the deficit he inherited and the game finished with a whimper.
The final score was 10-34, with Wake Forest winning its first conference matchup and improving to 2-0 overall.
If there was one bright spot in a game that BC would probably like to forget moving forward, it was the performance by senior linebacker Harold Landry, whose presence in the edge was enough to stifle Wake Forest’s run-happy Wolford.
The integration of freshman running back AJ Dillon also promises slightly more versatility in a Boston College offense that has been criticized as being too predictable in the past.
Boston College takes on Notre Dame on September 16 at 3:30 pm under the lights of Alumni Stadium.