In a game that exemplified the phrase “roller-coaster”, the Boston College Eagles pulled out an exciting win against the Missouri Tigers at home in overtime 41-34. With nine lead changes, three turnovers, a go-ahead touchdown with 25 seconds left, a game-tying field goal as time expired, and a walk-off interception, this game had it all. After a week of social media sniping, begun by some snarky comments by Missouri’s head coach, this game had much more juice than most people expected. Fans at a sold-out Alumni Stadium were treated to arguably the most exciting BC victory since 2014.
The game got off to a rocky start for Boston College. Missouri got the ball first and took it right down the field for a touchdown. Connor Bazelak completed all eight of his passes including the touchdown off play-action. On the next play from scrimmage, Dennis Grosel hurled the ball deep down the sidelines toward Jaden Williams; unfortunately, Williams was blanketed by three Mizzou defenders, and safety Shawn Robinson picked off the pass.
Luckily for the Eagles, the defense held strong on the ensuing drive, forcing a three-and-out. BC got the ball back inside their own one-yard line after a great punt. On third-and-long, Grosel found a wide-open Zay Flowers on a corner route for a first down. Just a few plays later, running back Pat Garwo III broke through the defense and weaved 67 yards to the end zone to tie the game. The tie would not last long though, as the Tigers drove right down the field again. Bazelak continued to shred BC’s defense, throwing a pass on every play until the final one, where running back Tyler Badie pushed his way into the end zone to give Mizzou the lead again.
Down 14-7, Boston College continued to rely on their ground game. Their highly-touted offensive line finally starting moving people, opening up big chunk gains for Garwo and Alec Sinkfield. Once in the red zone, Grosel threw a great pass to true freshman Jaden Williams for a touchdown, knotting the game up at 14. The BC defense made a stand on the following drive, forcing a punt after a Missouri holding penalty got the Tigers off schedule.
However, the Eagles’ offense could not get going; Dennis Grosel threw two bad passes leading to a three-and-out. Missouri capitalized on this and drove down the field again. In the red zone, BC almost lost one of the lynchpins of their defense when Isaiah Graham-Mobley was called for targeting. Upon review, however, he was cleared and allowed to stay in the game. The BC defense did not break and forced Missouri to take a field goal, opening up a 17-14 lead.
Boston College got the ball back with a few minutes left in the first half. The big play came on a strike over the middle to wide receiver CJ Lewis, going for 38 yards and putting the Eagles in field goal range. But a near-interception and bad sack from Grosel put the Eagles back and out of position for a kick. However, Jeff Hafley sent his true freshman kicker, Connor Lytton, out for his first field goal attempt: a 49-yarder with only seconds remaining to draw even against an SEC opponent. Lytton rewarded his coaches faith and nailed the kick, tying the game at 17 going into the half.
The Eagles got the ball first out of halftime. Riding Pat Garwo and some quick completions from Grosel, BC chewed almost seven minutes off the clock and got another score from Garwo. BC’s good fortune wouldn’t stop there; only two plays later, Josh DeBerry picked off Connor Bazelak to give BC another opportunity to score. Leaning on the run game again, BC ran the ball 14 times in a 16 play drive. They couldn’t punch it into the end zone, settling for another Lytton field goal. But the Eagles held the ball for 13:42 of the third quarter.
However, the Tigers would not go down without a fight. They got the ball back at the end of the quarter and rode their own running game down the field. After a 40-yard catch and run, Missouri put the ball in the hands of their best player, Tyler Badie, who got them down inside the ten. The Tigers punched it in from one yard out to draw within three. Boston College couldn’t generate anything on the next drive, punting after a three-and-out.
Bazelak and Badie teamed up for another impressive drive. The quarterback continued to slice up BC’s pass defense, who wanted to prevent the big play but gave up lots of yards underneath. At the end of the drive, from inside the five, Badie galloped into the end zone once more, giving Mizzou a four-point lead. With about six minutes remaining, BC got the ball back; aided by a Missouri personal foul on the kickoff, the Eagles started at their own 40-yard line.
As they did all game, BC went back to their run game. Even with Missouri crowding the box, BC went to their senior leader, Travis Levy, to get them down the field. With a flew clutch passes to Zay Flowers, BC was in the red zone. Levy took a handoff, bounced outside, and got the Eagles inside the 10. But at the end of his run, Levy accidentally grabbed the facemask of a defender when he was trying to stiff-arm him. BC restarted with 1st & 12 at the 25. But the offense remained resilient and drove ball back inside the five once more. On a 3rd and short, Levy got the chance to redeem himself and delivered, running over multiple defenders into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Unfortunately, the game did not end there. With 25 seconds left, the Tigers got the ball back with a chance to get a field goal to tie the game. Bazelak put together another good drive, getting Mizzou across the 50-yard line with only seconds left. A quick throw to the sideline gave Missouri just a few more yards to make their field goal a little easier. But a 56-yard field goal still stood between Missouri and overtime. Nevertheless, Harrison Mevis nailed the kick from way downtown to tie the game to force overtime.
The Eagles got the ball first and got inside the ten quickly. While Missouri’s defense was adjusting, BC snapped the ball quickly and Dennis Grosel lofted a beautiful pass to Zay Flowers in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. On the Tigers’ first play, Connor Bazelak went up top to his 6’5” wide receiver, Keke Chism, in the end zone. Chism snagged a great catch around Brandon Sebastian earlier in the game. But the senior corner was having none of it this time. He out-leapt the towering Chism and snagged the game-sealing interception.
Boston College did not play a perfect game by any means. But they made the big plays when they needed to be made. The players that needed to step up did exactly that and some unexpected ones seized their opportunities as well. The Eagles move to 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and will most likely be a ranked team when they face Clemson on the road next week.