Boston College snuck by Louisville on Saturday 34-27 in a game marked with turnovers and big performances. Let's break down what we saw from the defense during this game.
* We knew that turnovers were going to be the key to this game, and boy were they. Louisville was one of the sloppiest teams coming into this game with the ball, and they lived up to their reputation. Two of the fumbles were just poor ball handling, but the interception at the end of the game by Shitta Sillah was due to good pressure by the defense.
* Malik Cunningham was a MAJOR problem for BC last night. He accounted for 412 total yard of offense and looked like Lamar Jackson out there. I think he really exposed the lack of speed that we knew might impact BC. Scot Satterfield ran a lot of speed option that BC really couldn't consistently stop. They made halftime adjustments but that just opened up short passes that turned into huge gains.
* On the speed options a lot of the time it looked like Isaiah McDuffie was assigned to the running back while Max Richardson had Cunningham. (Though there were plays where this was changed, and there were broken coverages when one player had both players. Richardson is a solid player, but Cunningham's shiftiness and ability to juke and pivot really exposed him (and other defenders who tried to defend him).
* For folks panicking, Hafley is addressing this through recruiting. Trevin Wallace and Bryce Steele (fingers crossed) are much more of the hybrid speedy linebackers. They could be the perfect tandem to address this issue in future seasons because they have the speed to get to players like Cunningham.
* The one play 69 yard touchdown catch from Dez Fitpatrick was bad, and something we have not seen out of BC most of the season. A quick strike touchdown. Usually you see BC at least force the opposition to march down the field, and hope they make a mistake. Fitzpatrick and Tutu Atwell are excellent wide receivers and both were able to make plays against the Eagles.
* Zero pressure against Cunningham in this game, and zero sacks. Though the Eagles did get their hands up to swat the pass for an interception on UL's final drive of the game. When you talk about Hafley needing time to build his team, this is the place I think of most. He is making due with the players that he has, and they have made plays at times (Brandon Barlow had a huge tackle), but we are going to have to wait to see what they can do when Hafley gets players that more fit his defensive style get to campus.
* Allowed almost 500 yards of offense, but still won the game. It wasn't pretty on defense (averaged 5.5 yards per run, 19 per completion), but they made plays when they needed to. Winners win, and that's what the Eagles did on Saturday night.