FOOTBALL: Goal-Line Stand Fuels BC Victory Over Wake
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 00:09
If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Alumni Stadium scoreboard had malfunctioned. Next to “Q” it read “2,” but at least 60 of the Boston College football players had rushed onto the field in celebration. The few that hadn’t crossed the white line were too busy jumping around on the sideline to go greet their 11 heroes rushing off the field in elated glee.
But before any of that celebration, and a 24-10 victory over Wake Forest, came terror for the Eagles. Head coach Steve Addazio had just rolled the dice, allowing Chase Rettig three opportunities to throw backed up at his own 30 with 1:16 left. Twenty-four seconds off the clock and a loss of two yards later, Nate Freese sat back waiting for a punt.
Nikita Whitlock broke through and smothered Freese’s punt attempt, and then the Deacons fell on the ball three yards from the end zone with 52 seconds left in the half. Trailing 17-7, they had a chance to force a one-possession game before intermission.
The Wake offense had broken past the BC secondary on one perfect, 30-yard touchdown throw from Tanner Price to Michael Campanaro, but besides that the Eagles had kept the Deacons in check. Now, BC’s enemy couldn’t be much closer to the door.
Two straight runs by tailback Josh Harris brought the ball within one yard of the endzone. Wake called a timeout and then Price threw an incomplete pass, but he never left the field. Rather than take the points, Wake decided to go for it on fourth down.
The Deacons sent a man in motion, almost getting the snap off, but Addazio had rushed out onto the field to get a timeout called, stopping the play short. Even with a chance to regroup, Wake head coach Jim Grobe didn’t change his mind. The offense was sent back out onto the field. One hundred yards away, the BC student section made all the noise it could.
Wake went right back to Harris, straight up the middle. Mehdi Abdesmad grabbed hold of Harris, and then a crowd of BC’s front seven greeted him at about the half-yard mark. Connor Wujciak stood his ground on the white line and wouldn’t budge. Harris’ knee skirted the grass before he could extend the ball. He was short, and the entire Eagle roster let everyone know. Kaleb Ramsey thew his hands up. Sean Sylvia shook his, affirming that Harris was short. Manny Asprilla and Bryce Jones crossed one arm over the other, back-and-forth. They were sending a message: no.
Senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis lingered. Making sure it had really just happened. Then the referee pointed to his right, almost directly to the student section. BC ball, and the call stood after a quick review.
“It was amazing,” said senior captain and defensive lineman Kasim Edebali. “It’s a Friday night game and the student section was wild. We got out after them.
“We say it every day, ‘Just play aggressive.’”
The Eagle defense continued that strong play throughout the second half. The Deacons were held to 246 yards total, with only 55 yards on the ground. BC let up the one big touchdown to Campanaro, but that was the only time the chaos didn’t pay off.
“One thing we talk about is organized chaos,” Jones said. “We’re moving fast and we’re all buying into it. We’re more aggressive.”
The unit had one mindset in the second half—get off the field so Andre Williams can get back on. The senior tailback set a career record for rushing yards with 204. It was a return to form for BC. The Eagles pounded their opponent on offense and then pounded them even harder on defense.
The scoreboard hadn’t malfunctioned. It really did read “2” next to the “Q” symbol. The biggest stop this defense has had in a long time came in the second quarter and the entire team took in the celebration. The “2” also stood for the second win this season, already matching last season’s total.
“We’re a whole new outfit right now,” said senior wide receiver Alex Amidon. “It’s night and day.”
On a Friday night on national television, BC secured the only “2” that mattered: 2-0.
“Two and ‘o, two and ‘o,” quarterback Chase Rettig piped as he left the press conference following the game, happier than he’s seemed in a long time.