FOOTBALL: Same Old Story
Irish Are Too Much To Handle As BC Struggles To Light Up The Scoreboard
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Chase Rettig lay face-down on the field. Senior captain and offensive lineman Emmett Cleary ran back to pick up his quarterback, who had been knocked down time and time again against Notre Dame. Rettig was lying in the same spot he’d found himself in all season.
All of the hits wouldn’t have mattered if they led to points, but Rettig and the offense never found the end zone in the Eagles’ 21-6 loss to the Irish on Saturday night.
The Boston College quarterback watched as Notre Dame defenders swarmed him split seconds after he received the snap. He watched as his running backs continued to gain little to no yards on first down. He watched as receivers dropped balls. He watched it all, except when he couldn’t watch any of it because his head was in the turf. But even then it didn’t matter, because Rettig had seen all of it seven times before.
“It’s kind of been the same story all year,” Rettig said. “Obviously, statistically it’s been a great year for a couple of guys on our offense, but you’ve still got to walk around campus with a loss. It’s not really significant to us. Everyone could vouch for that on our team.”
It was a meaningless, record-setting night for the BC offense. Junior wide receiver Alex Amidon surpassed Brian Brennan’s single-season total of 1,149 yards in a season from 1983, but Amidon and Rettig left the field unfazed by statistics.
“We’d rather win, and Alex would rather win and have zero catches,” Rettig said.
“I don’t really have too much to say,” Amidon said. “It’s all Chase and everyone on the offense. It’s not me. Chase is playing phenomenal this year. The only thing that matters to me is two ….”
And then he stopped, almost unable to get the words out. After shaking his head and finally processing the reality behind the only stats that matter, wins and losses, Amidon finished his thought.
“… Two and eight. That’s the only stat I’m worried about.”
Rettig has been a model leader throughout the Eagles’ tumultuous season, but on Saturday he started to let himself loose. He almost beat the media to the press conference, still wearing his jersey, still sweaty and out of breath. All season long he’s put the blame on himself, but eight times was too many.
“We had some penalties that kind of hurt us,” Rettig began. “We had third and long a lot which has kind of become something consistent in the games prior to today. So we’ve got to be better on first down.”
Rettig didn’t cause those penalties, and he didn’t set up those third-and-longs. He’s said it before—BC has to run better on first down and that didn’t happen against the Irish. The Eagles ran for a total of 53 yards, a horrendous sum that somehow topped previous marks of 32, eight, and 12 in the three games prior. Deuce Finch returned to the field and showed off his impressive burst on a couple of solid runs, but being relegated to the scout team has its effects. So does an offensive line that can’t get any sort of push off the line of scrimmage.
“We kind of struggled,” Rettig began when asked about the offense not being able to take advantage of turnovers forced by the defense, but then he changed course.
“We didn’t struggle, we just shot ourselves in the foot a whole bunch,” Rettig said. “We dropped passes. The pass protection broke down a little bit a couple times there. Just execution. It’s not any one in particular, just the offense as a whole.”
He’d had enough. The quarterback who transformed himself from being inconsistent and unreliable to an overlooked star couldn’t take all of the blame any longer. The quarterback who looked across the room and saw his tireless wide receiver waiting to speak about a record he knew his friend didn’t care about just couldn’t put all of that weight on his own shoulders for an eighth time. This was supposed to be a coming out party showcasing all of his offseason improvements, but instead it was just one more game on the Irish’s way to the national championship.
Rettig got one final question about Amidon before the press conference ended, asking him to talk about the year his go-to receiver was having.
“I think he has a good quarterback,” Rettig joked, sort of, before going on to praise the new record-holder.
“He’s taken a lot of hits this year and gotten up every time. Everyone should be congratulating him on his accomplishment. He’s done really well with the big things at his position that are going to go down in the history of BC. Hats off to Alex. He’s what everyone who goes to BC should be like.”
Maybe Rettig was trying to lighten the mood with that initial joke, but maybe he just wanted to remind everyone. Maybe he had to get out one last reminder that he’s still here, he still has game, and that his play still matters. Even though the record might not show it.