We thought it couldn’t happen. We were wrong.
On Saturday afternoon, the Army Black Knights finally got their first win of the season by defeating Boston College, 34-31. Their win came on a last-minute touchdown score by Trent Steelman. With the loss, the Eagles fall to 1-4 (0-2) and have an incredibly bleak outlook going forward. It was Boston College’s first loss to the Black Knights since 1995, and only their second in their last sixteen meetings.
Michie Stadium is a picturesque stadium in a wonderfully scenic location, but unfortunately for Boston College, the team that regularly plays there made it an unpleasant visit. A full recap of the scoring plays can be found here.
There were a few things about this game that stood out, other than the fact that BC lost to a team to which no self-respecting BCS-conference team should lose. One was early in the second quarter, when Army had a 4th & short in their own territory. They went for it and got it. That showed me right there that Army’s coach, Rich Ellerson, did not respect BC’s defense enough to get that stop.
Another thing was how Army threw the ball 13 times today, when about 7 was their average before this game. They stuck with their typical gameplan, but incorporated the pass a little more, with some effectiveness. That demonstrated that Army did their homework on Boston College in learning that BC does not cover well and will give up chunks of yardage.
Also, at the end of the first half, Boston College had the ball, two timeouts, and about a minute and a half to go. BC put in no real effort to try and score, as they’d run the ball and make Army burn their timeouts. Meanwhile, Army got the ball back with no timeouts and far less time, so what do they do? They move the ball quickly and get a field goal. BC lost by three, by the way.
The last was how poor BC’s line play was when the Eagles had significant size advantages in some spots, particularly when the Eagles were on offense. Boston College’s offensive line has, on average, at least 50 or 60 pounds on Army’s defensive line, and yet, Chase Rettig was sacked five times. The fact that BC could not dominate a much smaller defensive line is frankly embarrassing.
Speaking of “frankly,” Rich Ellerson outcoached Frank Spaziani big-time this afternoon. They knew what all of Boston College’s weaknesses were, and to their credit, they did a good job of going right after them and giving their offense a chance to win this game. BC, as is their wont, did not make adjustments in the second half and allowed Army to come back from ten points down to win in the final minute, even after BC had stopped them with two minutes to go.
The run game had a better day as expected, but the defense was again the goat, giving up an astounding 595 yards to the Black Knights. The Eagles have allowed 2,146 yards in four FBS games this season (536.5 per game) and allowed Army 31 first downs and 37:38 time of possession. Your STG lead editor and BC Interruption’s lead editor, who spoke at Michie Stadium today, both agreed that this is the worst Eagles defense we have seen since our freshman years at BC. They are proving us right. Boston College often had five down linemen with three linebackers, but even with a front eight, Army still ran it down BC’s throats all day.
Chase Rettig was not terrible, but it was not his best game, either. The whole Eagles team looked off, and Rettig took more sacks than usual. His pass protection utterly failed today.
At the end of the day, there is probably no longer any hope for 2012 BC football. This is not a mediocre team: this is a bad team. They are 1-4 going into a game against FSU where they will probably be 35-point underdogs, coming off of one of their most embarrassing losses of the last decade. Support your team by all means, but don’t expect much of anything in return.