FOOTBALL: Just Not Enough
BC Lacks Red Zone Efficiency And Ball Security In Loss
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
EVANSTON, Ill. – The defense took a step forward and began to execute while the offense took a step backward as Boston College fell to Northwestern 22-13 on the road Saturday afternoon.
“It was one of those games where you hate to see the team lose. That’s how I look at it,” said head coach Frank Spaziani. “Our kids fought hard, but [Northwestern] made more plays than we did. They deserved to win. Congratulations.”
The offensive struggles were by no means the fault of quarterback Chase Rettig, who threw for 291 yards on 24-for-44 passing and no interceptions. That 55-percent completion rate should have been even higher, but drops plagued BC all day.
On the first drive of the game, after the defense held Northwestern to a field goal, Rettig led the Eagles down the field with poised and confident throws, setting up a first and goal. Running back Deuce Finch ran right into his linemen for no gain on first down, and then on the next play Rettig found a wide open Alex Amidon falling into the end zone, but Amidon let the ball slip through his hands. The Eagles couldn’t convert on third down, and missed opportunities for the offense would continue for the rest of the afternoon.
“It’s kind of like I said all week—the game’s going to come down to scoring touchdowns, not field goals,” Rettig said.
Nate Freese connected on a field goal to bring the score to 3-3. The Wildcats drove down the field next, but once again the Eagle defense made a red zone stand, forcing a Northwestern field goal that made its way through the uprights.
The next drive for the Eagles, on third and one at their own 22, sophomore Andy Gallik snapped the ball well over the head of Rettig, ending the drive and forcing a punt. Rettig kept calm and reassured his center after the errant snap, and it wouldn’t be the last time his leadership shone through on Saturday.
Trailing 9-3 late in the second quarter, Rettig really showed what he can do. Coming out of a timeout on second down, Rettig ran a hard delayed play action that fooled the defense and then threw a 31-yard bomb to Johnathan Coleman that hit him perfectly in the end zone, putting the Eagles up 10-9.
It looked like the BC offense had things figured out going into halftime, and the same spark that occurred in the second half against Maine seemed ready to happen again. Then the execution completely fell apart.
“Woulda, coulda, shoulda, we didn’t make enough plays, and that’s what it comes down to,” Spaziani said. “We’ve got to go back and keep looking and figure it out.”
BC began the second half with the ball, and a drop from Spiffy Evans on an easy comeback route forced a three-and-out and a punt. The defense then came up with a big play, forcing a fumble in Northwestern territory to give the offense a prime opportunity to put up points.
Rettig once again willed BC into the red zone, but then the wheels came off. Finch took a handoff up the middle and a Northwestern linebacker drove his helmet into Finch’s arm, forcing the ball loose and into the hands of the Wildcats.
Finch wouldn’t make it back into the game, and sat alone on the sideline after his fumble.
“Let me say this, Deuce wasn’t too excited about it,” Spaziani said. “I’m not sure what we do with Deuce, to be honest with you, other than that he sits around and waits his turn.”
Although the running game was the main thing holding the BC offense back with the turnover and only 25 yards, Rettig refused to let his teammate sulk alone. He went over and grabbed Finch, bringing him back into the sideline meeting with his teammates.
From that point on, the lack of a running game made it nearly impossible for BC to find the end zone. The defense continued to stand strong in the red zone, forcing field goals and punts, but the Northwestern defense began only leaving six men in the box, giving Rettig even less room to complete passes. A late touchdown from the Wildcats sealed the victory, dropping BC to 1-2 on the season.
“Rettig’s a good quarterback,” Spaziani said. “We’ve got to run the ball, though. We can’t win like that. We’ve got to score when we have our chance. It wasn’t good enough.”