2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: Boston College Gives Up Lead, Game in 31-30 OT Loss


2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: Boston College football’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday night as they lost the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl, 31-30 in overtime.

For consecutive seasons, Boston College has finished their season at 7-6, losing their bowl game in both years under Steve Addazio.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: First Half

Penn State moved the ball a bit early, though the two teams traded punts to start. Boston College, in their second drive, would push all the way to the Penn State 30 and face a fourth down. With the kicking situation being what it is, the Eagles went for it and failed.

The Nittany Lions would then unleash a quick 70-yard drive, with Christian Hackenberg throwing a 72-yard touchdown to Chris Godwin following a false start on 3rd & 12. Penn State’s 7-0 lead was short-lived, as two plays later, Jon Hilliman ran 49 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 7-7.

The score would remain as such at the half, with Boston College taking over at midfield with 90 seconds left and all three timeouts, but not getting inside the Lions 40.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: Second Half

The Eagles appeared to make good adjustments in the second, as they went 60 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown to go ahead for the first time, 14-7. Tyler Murphy hit Shakim Phillips for a 19-yard pass for the score.

Penn State drove the Eagles backwards on offense in the following drive, but Hackenberg fumbled with the ball inside the BC 30, cutting the Eagles a big break. Four plays later, Jon Hilliman had another 40-yard touchdown run, and the Eagles had their biggest lead at 21-7.

The Lions’ comeback began shortly thereafter. Penn State scored quickly on the following drive to make it a 21-14 game just as the third quarter expired. With 6:48 to go in the fourth quarter, they took advantage of good field position to launch another touchdown drive, even though they had a 2nd & goal at the 16 at the time of the score.

In the closing minutes, Boston College went on an 11-play drive to get to the three, sending Mike Knoll out for the go-ahead field goal at 24-21. In under two minutes, Penn State drove 49 yards and Sam Ficken kicked a 45-yarder to tie and ultimately send the game to overtime.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: Overtime

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Boston College scored three plays into overtime on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Dave Dudeck, but the Eagles were again plagued by their horrible extra point kicking. Knoll missed the kick, and Penn State scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3rd & 7 play moments later.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: The Stats

Penn State had 453 yards of total offense; Boston College had 382. The Eagles rushed for 285 yards, but Hackenberg threw for 371.

The Eagles were plus-2 in turnovers despite their defeat. Penn State converted nine of 17 third downs, several of them from long range. The Eagles were 5-for-16.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: The Experience

Yankee Stadium was packed, and there was almost a playoff atmosphere in the building. It was a majority Penn State fans, but there were thousands and thousands of Boston College fans present. Penn State has one loud, boisterous fanbase, and I’ll not be planning a trip to Happy Valley for a game any time soon, but the game itself was fun (mostly) and great for Northeast football.

2014 Pinstripe Bowl Final: Bottom Line

Boston College fans probably would have preferred they lose by a couple touchdowns than how they lost. It was a bad way to lose all around, and a bad loss in general.

Boston College Eagles
Boston College Eagles /

Boston College Eagles

We will get more into this later, but there is going to be much piling on Mike Knoll for missing the extra point in overtime. Yes, he should have made it, but there is plenty more blame to be distributed. For example, the defense did not nearly play to their potential, giving up 31 points to a Nittany Lions team that averaged in the teens.

The pass defense especially was poor, and Penn State moved the football with ease. For as good as the stats may have been this season, the defense still has a lot of work to do.

Further, the Eagles took several drive-killing penalties on offense and failed to capitalize on opportunities they had thanks to some missed passes by Murphy. The quarterback overthrew at least two balls that were potential touchdowns. Simply put, the game never should have gone to overtime.

If this is a gutting loss to the fans, it must be even more difficult for the team. It is perfectly natural to feel disappointment, anger, irritation, or any derivative therein, but these are young men who worked hard for this and came up short. The most important thing we can do now is continue to show our support.