Game Observations (Defense): Boston College 26 Duke 6
Boston College won their season opener with a convincing 26-6 victory against Duke on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Here is my instant analysis of the performance by the Boston College defense:
* What a turn around from what we saw last year from this group. The energy that the defense played with was strong from beginning to end. There were certain fundamentals too that seemed much tighter. Players were swarming the ball for tackles, there were less arm tackles and sloppy tackling in particular. It seems like defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu and this defensive staff worked to clean up the game.
* Loved the play of Boozie Onwuka. The defensive line itself had a great game, constantly pressuring Chase Brice, even thought they only had one sack. Onwuka and Marcus Valdez were consistently bearing down on the quarterback and causing pressure which led him to rush passes.
* Isaiah McDuffie's return is a big deal. He had the interception, but the reality is he was big on a handful of plays. He looks like he has returned to 2018 form, and along with Max Richardson should be an incredible linebacker duo for the Eagles.
* Didn't see enough of Luc Bequette--it was tough on TV-- to make an accurate enough assessment on his play today.
* Max Richardson had a very workman like game, leading the team with tackles.
* The secondary was the MVP of this defense in my opinion. They all came up with big plays whether it was Josh DeBerry ripping the ball away from a wide receiver, or Jahmin Muse coming up with the game clinching interception. But it was the smaller plays that really highlighted their play. This group beat up the Duke wide receivers, being incredibly physical on every throw. Brandon Sebastian, Jason Maitre, and Elijah Jones all had good physical plays that won't show up on the stat sheet.
* Hafley talked about it in his press conference, but the team's instinctual ball hawking tendencies caused lots of problems for Duke. It seemed like every tackle BC made involved the defender trying to rip the ball out. For a team that had zero fumble recoveries in 2019, this could really pay dividends in 2020.
* Mateo Durant's run for a touchdown looked just like a well executed run, but there was at least one other run that was stopped by a shoe string tackle by Muse. The defense played well, but it is certainly something to watch for moving forward.
* One of the biggest concerns going into this game was Chase Brice's ability to run the ball when needed. He was completely stymied on Saturday only rushing the ball seven times for 14 yards. BC kept him in the pocket and forced him to throw the ball, which proved to be problematic for the quarterback.
Video and photo courtesy of BCEagles.com