Eagles Run Past Richmond 45-13 to Open Season 2-0
By JD Biagioni
AJ Dillon ran for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught two passes for 54 yards and an additional touchdown in Boston College’s 45-13 victory over Richmond.
Dillon, who was held to 90 all-purpose yards in BC’s season-opening win over Virginia Tech, broke free for a couple big runs and a 42-yard touchdown reception against the Spiders. The 54 receiving yards marked a career high for Dillon, who entered the game with only 50 career receiving yards.
Despite Dillon’s big day, it was David Bailey who led the Eagles with 97 rushing yards. Bailey, who got significant reps with the first team, especially in third down and goal-line situations, is the first line of depth in BC’s backfield; a heavy runner built in the mold of Dillon, Bailey gives BC a capable back when Dillon is on the sideline.
BC hopped out to a quick 21-0 lead over Richmond. Like last week, freshman Zay Flowers scored the game’s first points on a long touchdown play. Last week, it was 33-yard pass from Anthony Brown. This week Flowers ran for a 46-yard touchdown off a jet sweep on BC’s opening drive. BC’s true freshman wideout has only touched the ball eight times through the season’s first two games, but he’s already racked up 208 all-purpose yards.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) September 7, 2019
The Eagles other two first quarter touchdowns, a 7-yard Korab Idrizi reception and a 2-yard AJ Dillon run, capped off healthy drives of 84 and 71 yards, respectively.
The early lead played right into the hands of BC’s young defense, as Richmond’s typically run-heavy offensive attack gave way to deep passes in an attempt to cut the deficit.
The Spiders signal-caller Joe Mancuso presented a different kind of challenge for the Eagles defense than Ryan Willis did a week ago. Mancuso is a duel-threat quarterback who excels in a read option scheme, whereas Willis, who threw for 344 yards in the season opener, is more of the traditional pocket passer.
Early on, when the game was still close, Mancuso was able to successfully run the option with Richmond’s two backs, Xavier Goodall and Aaron Dykes, and complete several short passes to transfer wideouts Charlie Fessler and Keyston Fuller.
But as the game started to slip away, Mancuso was forced into playing hero ball, and it backfired for the Spiders. With Richmond down 14-0, Mancuso tried to connect with Fuller on a deep crossing route, but the pass misfired and Nolan Borgersen came down with the interception.
10 games in a row with an interception for the Eagles!@Nolan_B_2 goes up for the ball and comes down with it along the far sideline to give BC the ball at it's own 29.#WeAreBC🦅 pic.twitter.com/EE2VubPWdb
— BC Football 🏈 (@BCFootball) September 7, 2019
The first team offense did play longer than expected, coming out well into the third quarter despite BC leading 35-10 at halftime.
For the second-straight week, Brown finished with a solid stat line. He didn’t post any eye-popping numbers but avoided the mistakes that plagued him in his first two seasons under center. He went 8-of-14 for 163 yards and three touchdowns and continues to excel in the deep-passing game. After completing six 20-plus yard passes against the Hokies, Brown added a few more against the Spiders.
When the starters did come out, a couple players at key positions made their BC debuts. Dennis Grosel was first in for Brown, completing one pass for 9 yards. Matt Valecce got some reps in the fourth, but didn’t attempt a pass, as BC was content to keep the ball on the ground with the game’s outcome decided.
One young BC player who filled up the stat sheet was true freshman running back Patrick Garwo. A smaller, more elusive back than Bailey or Dillon, Garwo carried the ball six times for 34 yards, highlighted by a 24-yards carry in the third quarter. It remains to be seen whether the Eagles will burn Garwo’s redshirt eligibility, but the freshman made an immediate impact and would provide more versatility to the BC backfield.
BC returns to the field Friday night for a matchup with the Les Miles-led Kansas Jayhawks. After barely squeaking by Indiana State in Week 1, Kansas will be coming off of a 12-7 loss to Coastal Carolina. The Jayhawks are projected to finish at the bottom of the Big 12, but BC will be the first Power 5 matchup for Miles in his tenure at Kansas. With a win, BC would open 3-0 for back-to-back years.