FOOTBALL: Another Game Out Of Reach
Unable To Stop Georgia Tech On Third Downs, BC Gets Dumped By Yellow Jackets For Fifth Straight Loss
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
ATLANTA — Third and eight: first down. Third and goal from the three-yard line: touchdown. Third and seven: first down. Third and nine: first down. Third and five from the 12-yard line: touchdown. Third and 26: first down. Third and goal from the one: touchdown. Third and two: first down. Third and 11 from the 24-yard line: touchdown.
And just like that, it was Georgia Tech 21, Boston College 3, with less than four minutes to play in the first half. Next came a three-and-out from the Eagles, which included a snap over Chase Rettig’s head that resulted in a 17-yard loss. After Gerald Levano got off a 39-yard punt to give the ball back to the Yellow Jackets, Georgia Tech didn’t wait until third down to make a big play. Instead, backup quarterback Vad Lee unloaded a 45-yard bomb to Anthony Autry, who burned cornerback Sean Sylvia to make it 28-3 Yellow Jackets.
It hardly mattered what the Eagles could do in the second half, as Georgia Tech had done enough damage in the first half to secure a 37-17 win over BC on Saturday afternoon.
The sixth loss of the season for the Eagles may have been their most frustrating one, as they were unable to stop a triple option offense yet again. The defense surrendered 563 total yards to the Yellow Jackets, including 391 on the ground.
“We played some things better, but to get a team like that in third-down situations and then let them off the hook is not good. It’s not good,” said head coach Frank Spaziani. “I think they had third and 12, third and eight, third and whatever … they’re playing left-handed then. You have to make some plays there, and it was almost like we were non-existent.”
Georgia Tech converted on eight of 10 third downs in the first half, and on one they didn’t convert, the Yellow Jackets went for it on fourth down and got the first. On each of those conversions, it looked as though the defense had finally figured out how to stop Georgia Tech’s offense before it got tricked again and again on third down.
“I’ll have to look at the tape and see what happened, but there were no breakdowns. We just didn’t make any plays,” Spaziani said. “It’s inexcusable. You have to be better than that.”
Linebacker Nick Clancy was in the middle of the defense during its third-down struggles, and voiced his frustration after the game.
“I think the biggest problem on defense was the fact that we couldn’t get off the field on third down,” Clancy said. “I thought our D-Line played well at times, and we did come up big on some second-down stops, and then on third down we’d give them a big play.
“I’m starting to sound like a broken record, I feel like, because it’s something that’s been continuing on, is the big plays that’s been hurting us.”
Meanwhile, the offense was not much more effective in the first half. The Eagles only mustered a total of 123 yards in the first half, including a net rushing total of seven yards, and had just three points to show for it going into the locker room.
“Early on, on both ends—on my side and defense—it just wasn’t clicking right away,” Rettig said.
What was it that Georgia Tech was doing to stunt the BC offense that had oft been explosive early on in the season?
“Nothing special, nothing we weren’t expecting,” said wideout Alex Amidon. “It was more just a slow start. We couldn’t get the running game going, we couldn’t get the passing game going. I don’t think it helped that we only had 10 minutes of possession in the first half.”
The Eagles got the ball to start the second half, but turned it over right away when Andre Williams fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets turned that fumble into three points, making it 31-3.
With three minutes left in the quarter, the BC offense finally found its stride on a five-play, 76-yard drive that spanned just one minute and 33 seconds. Rettig started off with two straight bullets to Bobby Swigert, and three plays later he connected on a 40-yard strike to Amidon for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.
BC kept that momentum on its side, as the defense forced a Georgia Tech three-and-out on the next series, even with the second-string defensive line on the field.
When Rettig got the ball back, he orchestrated another beautiful drive, utilizing passes to Swigert and Amidon before lighting up the scoreboard on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Pantale. The Eagles converted a successful two-point conversion on a Rettig pass to Johnathan Coleman, which made it a 14-point game with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
For the first time all day, it looked as though BC was in control of the game, and the Yellow Jackets had their backs against the wall. That continued in the next series, when the Eagles stopped Georgia Tech and forced a punt on fourth and 15 from the 34-yard line.