Fall, Top Story, Football, Sports

Eagles Sink to New Lows in Nightmare Loss to Kansas

It was Friday the 13th, and, well, Boston College football sure had a nightmare of a game. Despite entering the primetime matchup with Kansas as 21-point favorites, the Eagles turned in a night-and-day performance from the previous two weeks and were absolutely shredded by the Jayhawks, who handed BC a stunning 48-24 loss—ending Kansas’ 48-game road losing streak to Power Five opponents in the process.

The Eagles (2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) built an early 17-7 lead but then watched it vanish as they were unable to create a defensive stop. Kansas (2-1), which had been held to a single touchdown in a loss to Coastal Carolina last week, scored on seven straight possessions after digging a 10-point hole. That surge—which included 27 unanswered points to close the game—was enough to hand BC arguably its worst loss of the Steve Addazio era.

“I just think that we cut guys free in the back end. We left gaps open in the run game and couldn’t get off the field, and it started early and it didn’t stop and, you know, it’s my job to make sure that we get that fixed,” Addazio said. There’s no reason why we should play the way we did on the field today.”

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley—who had been held to a measly 5.6 yards per attempt against the Chanticleers—bounced back from an early interception and had a career day, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Andrew Parchment, hauled in eight catches for 100 yards and a pair of scores, while the Jayhawks leaned on a two-headed rushing duo of Pooka Williams Jr. (22 carries, 121 yards) and Khalil Herbert (11 carries, 187 yards).

“These things are going to happen more regularly with this program and a great place like Kansas,” an overjoyed Les Miles, Kansas’ head coach, said after. “If anybody wonders why a guy would come back to college football, tonight shows how much fun this game can be.”

All in all, it was a horrible defensive showing from the Eagles. Blown coverages and missed tackles plagued them throughout, and Stanley and Kansas made no mistake in carving them up. During the seven straight scoring possessions, the Jayhawks went distances of 78, 48, 81, 85, 69, 87, and 60 yards. It didn’t seem to matter where Stanley was throwing, either, as he completed 13-of-14 passes at one point for three touchdowns. The run game was working exceptionally well for Kansas, as Herbert seemingly coasted through wide open holes in the offensive line and made the most of open space.

To make things worse, the Jayhawks’ defense made adjustments and was stifling in the second half. They held BC to just 10 yards and a pair of punts on the first two drives in the second half, which allowed them to extend the lead to three possessions, and it stayed that way the rest of the game. The Eagles’ first sustained drive, at the end of the third quarter, was a 14-play, 69-yard effort—and fittingly ended in a 31-yard missed field goal from Aaron Boumerhi. 

“You know, I felt like as long as we can keep this within a 10-point game, we still have an opportunity in the end to come back through,” Addazio said. “We moved the ball down the field and we got in field goal range … Well, we didn’t hit the three and then after that, I thought we got a little bit sideways.”

BC showed promise early, going on a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive right off the bat that was capped by a two-yard AJ Dillon touchdown. Then, on Kansas’ second play from scrimmage, Stanley badly overthrew his receiver and Mehdi El Attrach picked it off with ease. The Eagles settled for a field goal despite the prime field position, but Boumerhi looked promising with a 40-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0.Kansas answered, though, as its third drive of the game reflected what was to come. The Jayhawks drove down the field, and Stanley found a wide-open Jack Luavasa on a seam route for his first touchdown pass. BC extended its lead to 17-7 as Anthony Brown found his own tight end—Korab Idrizi—for a 20-yard score.

The Jayhawks’ offense was off and rolling, though. Hudson Hall punched in a one-yard touchdown on the next drive, and after BC’s Brown caught a touchdown pass from C.J. Lewis in a trick play identical to the “Philly Special,” Kansas found time to answer before the half. With just 40 seconds left in the half, Herbert took an inside handoff for 82 yards to set up a Parchment touchdown reception. That handed Kansas a 28-24 lead, one that it would only build on as it rolled through the second half.

“Backbreaker. Yup, no doubt,” Addazio said of Herbert’s lengthy run, in which the secondary seemed unaware at one point that he was running free. “We’re in man coverage, we had a run blitz on … Bizarro. I don’t know what happened on that run blitz” 

Miles challenged his defense to further step up in the second half, and that they did. While BC’s offense was struggling, the Jayhawks were moving the ball with ease. Kicker Liam Jones, despite the snap being bobbled, buried a 24-yard field goal to open the second-half scoring. When the dust finally settled, Jones had hit another 30-yard field goal while Williams and Herbert both had rushing touchdowns to power Kansas to a 24-point victory.

It was an ugly, ugly loss for Addazio and the Eagles, who simply seemed to give up in the second half. It was far from the effort that anyone expected after a 2-0 start to the year that featured a win over Virginia Tech. Quite simply, it’s hard to see a worse loss—other than perhaps the 3-0 setback to Wake Forest in 2015—for Addazio, and it’s certainly one that will have his job status seriously in question moving into Week 4.This story is being updated.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

September 13, 2019