For the first time in a long time, there are nice things to say about Boston College’s offense.
The Eagles opened their season with a loss to Miami, but in spite of that, the offense had its best day in years as BC gained over 500 yards of offense and scored 30 points against an FBS team for the first time since 2009. If bigger things are in store this week, they’ll accomplish them over Maine of the FCS level, a team opening its season in Chestnut Hill on Saturday.
Last week, aside from a momentum-shifting interception and a few minor mistakes, Chase Rettig was the best Eagles fans have ever seen him. He threw for 441 yards on 51 attempts, and could have had more if not for a high number of drops by his receivers. The plays given to him were creative and, even more importantly, his offensive line gave him enough time to make them. Both of those are also new revelations for this team, which in prior seasons did not vary the playbook and had poor offensive line play.
That isn’t to say that the offense didn’t have hiccups, however. The running game, which had been relied upon heavily in recent years, was a shadow of its former self against Miami. BC still rushed 34 times, but had just 96 yards to show for it. Neither Andre Williams nor Tahj Kimble had big days on the ground as both finished with under 50 yards apiece (Kimble had 130 yards in receptions, but also had a fumble in Miami territory which turned the game). Then there were the dropped passes, about ten in total, and the fumbles, officially numbering four (two lost). Despite the results being much better than what anyone anticipated, there were enough negatives offensively for the Eagles, as bad fundamentals helped doom them.
They will face a Maine team that honestly cannot be compared to Boston College. That is not meant to say “they’re terrible;” rather, “it’s not a fair comparison because they play on two different levels.” Not to mention, Maine hasn’t even played yet and nobody knows how they will look. BC having the better talent is a given, so don’t bother sizing up Maine’s roster alongside Boston College’s, but as in all games against FCS, they have to play that way.
For general informative purposes, the Black Bears allowed 23.8 points per game last season and 352.5 yards per game. Maine’s defense broke in the red zone 77% of the time and totaled 33 sacks.
It’s not hard to figure out what BC fans are thinking: BC had 500+ yards of offense against an ACC team last week, and BC is playing an FCS team this week, therefore BC will have ~700 yards of total offense and Chase Rettig will put up Case Keenum-like video game numbers. That is not necessarily a correct syllogism because there are too many other variables to take into account. For all we know, Rettig will have a bad day, or BC will involve the running game and Rolandan Finch more and pass less, or any number of things that could slow the game down and/or depress offensive statistics. Projecting numbers for the next game based upon the game before it often yields inconsistent and illogical results. To wit, the Eagles had 479 offensive yards against Northwestern in 2011 Week 1, then played a non-AQ team in Central Florida and managed only 141.
Remember, the Eagles beat UMass (then in FCS) handily last season, and they only needed 389 offensive yards to do it. If BC doesn’t rack up 500, 600, or 700 yards of offense this week, don’t all line up to jump off the Zakim Bridge. Chances are, they will do fine against the Maine defense, regardless of actual numbers.