Sports, Football, Top Story, Fall

Explosive Offense on Display in Eagles’ Rout of Richmond

On the sixth play of Saturday’s game against Richmond, Boston College football freshman Zay Flowers went in motion, took a handoff, and turned the corner before waltzing 46 yards untouched for a touchdown. 

It was just that kind of day for the Eagles’ offense. 

BC piled up 518 yards against the FCS-level Spiders, the most total yardage for the team since it unleashed 524 on Wake Forest in Week 3 of last season, and rolled to a 45-13 victory. Quarterback Anthony Brown played just over a half and threw for a trio of touchdowns, while running back AJ Dillon rushed for two scores and caught another. 

“We came out fast on offense,” head coach Steve Addazio said. “We scored a bunch of points and had a bunch of offense in the first two weeks, which is a good thing. I thought defensively we tightened up a little bit in the second half.”

The weapons up and down the Eagles’ (2-0) roster were on display, as David Bailey churned out a team-high 98 rushing yards while Flowers racked up 92 rushing yards on just three carries.

“You can’t deny that he’s an electric player,” Addazio said of the freshman wide receiver who has been used most in the running game. “I think we’ll continue to find ways to target him. We’ve got other guys we’re trying to target too, but sure, he’ll expand with what we want to do. It would be crazy not to.”

It wasn’t the smoothest defensive day for BC, as the Spiders (1-1) ran a read-option attack that had the Eagles confused at times. Quarterback Joe Mancuso, who was subbed out in the third quarter, ran for 70 yards on just 10 carries, and the team averaged nearly five yards per carry. Still, Mancuso threw two interceptions, and the Eagles seemed to largely lock the Spiders down as soon as they crossed midfield. 

BC’s second drive of the game was a shaky one, but once the offense got rolling, it was hard to stop. Brown found tight end Korab Idrizi in the flat to double the early lead. Then, after a Nolan Borgersen acrobatic interception, Dillon rumbled 30 yards to the Richmond two-yard line. A play later, he practically walked in through a huge hole on the right side, handing the Spiders an early three-touchdown deficit.

Richmond got on the board with a drive that bridged the gap between the first and second quarter. Back-to-back Mancuso runs brought the Spiders near the red zone, and the redshirt junior quarterback then found Keyston Fuller on a slant for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Fittingly, it took the Eagles just six plays to go 65 yards and answer. In a twist that will likely worry many ACC opponents attempting to gameplan for BC, it was Dillon who caught a pass on a rollout from Brown and ran 42 yards for the score—a yard more than his total receiving yards in 2018.

“He’s been working at it every single day,” Brown said of Dillon’s newfound receiving ability. “When I say every day, I actually mean every day. So I feel his confidence is just through the roof. He feels like he can catch anything.”

The Spiders continued their brief impressive stretch on offense, going on a 10-play drive, but ultimately settled for a 36-yard field goal from Jake Larson after BC’s Max Richardson blew up a play in the backfield. They couldn’t take a stand on defense, though, as Brown found a wide-open Jake Burt for a 55-yard touchdown. The Eagles had been pounding the Spiders, and the play-action pass worked wonders, leaving the 6-foot-3 graduate tight end all alone in the middle of the field. 

“I honestly—I mean, I was tired before that play, but once I got there, I was just elated. I was so happy to be in the end zone,” Burt said after his second career touchdown reception.

In the second half, BC went with its starters in the third quarter, but started pulling players out. Brown wrapped his day up on the first drive of the third, as did Bailey and Dillon. The running back tandem helped the team march down the field for a 12-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Dillon’s second rushing touchdown of the game. On the next Eagles drive, Dennis Grosel came in at quarterback—cementing him as the backup—and BC ended his first drive with a 30-yard field goal from Aaron Boumerhi.

Larson added a field goal with 12 seconds remaining—and it was one that had particular significance, even if it didn’t seem like it. The pregame betting line was set at Richmond +33.5, so Larson’s field goal was a backdoor cover.

All in all, it was a comfortable win for the Eagles, and one many expected. The biggest test in the first third of the season was Virginia Tech, which BC passed, and the schedule now lines up favorably. The Eagles will be favored in at least their next two games, and an undefeated start stretching past Week 6 isn’t out of the question—especially with an explosive offense that is clicking on all cylinders.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor

September 7, 2019