Boston College football suited up for its second scrimmage in three days on Tuesday afternoon, only this time it played the exhibition in Alumni Stadium—the site of the Eagles’ Sept. 1 season opener against Massachusetts.
With the change in location and the 2018 campaign on the horizon, head coach Steve Addazio took a more conservative approach to the final tune-up of training camp. Rather than replicating a bevy of game scenarios and increasing snap volume, the sixth-year coach had the first-teamers take about 40 or so reps, enabling them to recharge their legs before the first full week of game preparation.
After sitting out this weekend’s scrimmage, A.J. Dillon didn’t waste any time fooling around on Tuesday. The sophomore back received the ball on the first two plays of the game and ripped off a 25-yard gain on his second carry, rumbling behind Ben Petrula all the way to midfield. But before the Eagles’ offense could really find a rhythm, Anthony Brown’s third-down pass was batted down by linebacker John Lamot. The drive wasn’t a lost cause, though: Grant Carlson, who has impressed the coaching staff from the start of camp, pinned the second-team offense down at the 7-yard line.
Being backed up near his own end zone wasn’t enough to stop E.J. Perry. Early in the series, the sophomore gunslinger found fullback Colton Cardinal out of the backfield to move the chains on two separate occasions. A Brandon Barlow sack served as a slight setback, but, soon enough, Perry pulled the drive together, completing a pair of passes to Christian McStravick—one of which came on a crucial 4th-and-4. Former walk-on, quarterback-turned running back John Fadule pushed the offense into scoring territory, dashing to the outside for a chunk of yards. To cap it all off, David Bailey drove the pile into the end zone for the first score of the exhibition.
Dillon wasn’t about to let his freshman counterpart steal the show. On the ensuing series, the Heisman Trophy candidate bullied his way across midfield. Travis Levy kept the drive alive with a 4th-and-1 conversion, but Dillon quickly resumed his tear, ultimately breaking away for a 25-yard rushing touchdown, shaking a few tackles en route to the end zone.
Brown, who clocked out with approximately 30 snaps—the most he’s taken this preseason—kept the ball rolling, opening up the next series with a 25-yard completion to Jeff Smith. Although still somewhat inconsistent, the redshirt sophomore’s precision is what will make all the difference this season.
“My receivers had a wonderful camp,” Brown told BCEagles.com. “Even when I was just doing 7-on-7 [drills], we had great timing. We worked at it a lot all summer, so I could be ready for camp and the season coming up. Just getting back with them is great—it’s fun.”
From there, Davon Jones plowed through the trenches for a 10-yard gain, and Kobay White gave the offense another fresh set of downs with a 10-yard reception. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler went back to Jones for another chunk run, but Brown’s third-down pass attempt intended for Smith was broken up by Taj-Amir Torres. While it certainly wasn’t six, BC managed to come away with points, as Colton Lichtenberg trotted out onto the field and drilled a 24-yard chip shot.
The last notable drive of the day was orchestrated by Perry. Following a couple big-time completions to Fadule, the Andover, Mass. native led the second-team offense to the red zone, where he connected with C.J. Lewis for a 25-yard score. Matt McDonald might have headlined the first preseason scrimmage, but Perry made a strong case for the No. 2 spot behind Brown over the course of the final week of camp. That said, nothing is decided yet, according to Addazio, who is currently putting the finishing touches on the team depth chart.
“We’re pretty tired right now and came out here today and battled through our last real officials out here,” Addazio said. “I thought the kids did a great job with it, but you can see that we’re heavy-legged, tired.”
Fatigued or not, the attention turns to UMass—a team that hasn’t beaten the Eagles since 1978. In the schools’ last five meetings, BC has outscored the Minutemen, 149-52, conceding more than a touchdown in just two of those games. While nothing is guaranteed in college football, a season-opening Eagles victory is all but expected. The quality of BC’s performance, on the other hand, will be the first measure of how successful the 2018 offseason really was.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Senior Staff