Some quick thoughts after Army’s 48-27 loss at Boston College:
Probably the game’s biggest play in my opinion was Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig’s 39-yard completion to Alex Amidon to Army’s 33 with 9:11 left in the third quarter and the Black Knights trailing 31-27. Amidon caught the pass with cornerback Chris Carnegie in pretty good coverage and rover Thomas Holloway getting there a split second late on the 3rd-and-12 from Boston College 28. Defensive end Colin Linkul had good pressure off the edge but dove about three or four feet to the left of Rettig, giving the quarterback an extra second to throw the ball.
Army middle linebacker Julian Holloway said bad tackling contributed to Boston College’ s 320-yard rushing day. Coach Rich Ellerson said Boston College used less power formations than Army anticipated. No matter the reason, Army, at points, didn’t seem to have its number lined up right defensively. Boston College running back Andre Williams had too much open space to run through. Once Army’s defense was blocked on the edge on a few plays, Williams had no one within 5-10 yards on him.
Playing turnover-free and nearly penalty-free didn’t equal success this time for Army. Army was called for one penalty, an illegal chop block on the game’s final drive. Army averted two turnovers on bad pitches thanks running backs Terry Baggett and Larry Dixon. Baggett tipped a pitch, which was behind him, one-handed to himself. Dixon was lead-blocking for Trenton Turrentine when a pitch from Kelvin White was headed in his direction. Catching the ball resulted in just Dixon’s first loss of yardage this season.
After catching a pass in 14 straight games, junior Chevaughn Lawrence had gone the last two games without a catch. Lawrence has been targeted just once against Louisiana Tech and didn’t have a ball thrown his way against Boston College.
From the press box, I looked like a punt by Army’s Alex Tardieu was touched Boston College’s Dave Dudeck and should have been the Black Knights’ ball after Steve Ricciardi recovered it at Boston College’s 32. Officials huddled and ruled an illegal touch by an Army player. Then, the referee Gary Patterson was standing on Boston College’s sideline for a while. Thought the play was definitely going to be reviewed. But, the officials got it right. The punt hit Army’s Chasen Brown in the back first. Boston College kept the ball leading 21-17 with 10:14 left in the second quarter.
Midway through the season, Army’s return game is pretty much non-existent. Army ranks dead last, 123rd in the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I) in kick returns (15.9 yards). Looking for perhaps a spark, Army dropped freshman quarterback Tevin Long back on kicks in the second half. Punt returners are instructed to fair-catch most kicks. Army has returned just four of their opponent’s 21 punts.
Army’s kickoff coverage wasn’t a positive. The Black Knights allowed Boston College freshman Myles Willis to average 37 yards on three returns in the first half. Coach Ellerson said injuries have forced him to play more defensive starters in kick coverage. Army was missing senior Holt Zalneraitis on Saturday. Zalneraitis made three tackles on kickoffs against Louisiana Tech in Army’s last game.
Army’s best field position on 11 drives was its own 35-yard line. The Black Knights started six drives on its 25-yard line after touchbacks by Boston College kicker Nate Freese. The Black Knights ran just six plays in the third quarter.
Lastly, Boston College announced a crowd of 33,128 for its Homecoming. Looked like there was a few thousand less in the stands. Thought the uncertain status of the game earlier in the week due to government shutdown affected Boston College’s attendance. But think I looked what Boston College drew for Wake Forest earlier in the season – 32,465.