Boston College (6-5) dropped their season finale on Saturday evening to the Virginia Cavaliers (5-4) in a shoot out 43-32. This was not a pretty game for the defense that allowed 520 yards of offense and 15 explosive plays during the game. Let's take a look at the defense and see what went wrong.
* This was just a mess of game by the defense no way to sugar coat it. Brennan Armstrong was able to make them look foolish both through the air and on the ground. The tackling was sloppy, there were blown assignments, and the defense looked slow against a UVA team that burned them with speed.
* The defense started off looking strong, playing a bend but don't break style, which seemed to be working. They held UVA to a pair of field goals after the Cavaliers drove the length of the field. That line of defense is a perfectly fine way to win games, defenses just need to consistently be able to stop offenses, BC was not able to do that, as UVA started to find holes in the defense, and the wheels fell off.
* Speaking of starting the game strong, BC had two sacks on one of the first drives (Jason Maitre and Luc Bequette). After that drive, zero sacks, and seemingly no pressure on Armstrong for the rest of the game. At that point it looked like the Eagles were concerned on jail break explosive plays so they tried to play more conservatively to prevent those. It didn't work.
* I mentioned it in the post game thoughts post last night, but the injury to Deon Jones was brutal and UVA exploited it. The play after he goes down, UVA hits an explosive, one that Jones if he was in the game probably would have stopped. Jalen Williams a true freshman struggled when put in, Hafley adjusted by putting Kam Arnold out there, but he was ejected for targeting. Williams continued to struggle, culminating in the final touchdown run by Keytaon Thompson.
* The pass interference call on Josh DeBerry was terrible, though not sure that would have made a lick of difference in the game outcome if that wasn't called.
* Max Richardson and Isaiah McDuffie combined for 26 tackles in the game. But would you say either had a good game? Tackles certainly are a meaningful stat, because of you have a slower linebacker out there, they aren't getting any of them, but the pair didn't make any big plays on the day. With stronger play up front, this pair definitely could be used to do different things, but it felt like they were masking some of the troubles up front.
* Even with a defense that struggled all game, the Eagles were in this for most of the game. Jahmin Muse made an interception right before halftime that let BC get within one score. As bad as they looked on defense, and they looked atrocious at times, it is a testament to the team--mainly the offense-- that they were able to stay in this game and not get their doors blown off.
* Boston College desperately needs an infusion of talent on that defensive front. While they had their moments there were just too many games like Saturday where they were a liability. What they lack is a playmaker. You saw moments last night, Bequette had a nice sack, Chibueze Onwuka had a huge stuff on third and short, but it was never consistent. And there is not a player on that line you can point at, and say "lines are going to have to scheme on him because he's so good". There will be change next year, Marcus Valdez and Cam Horsley could be the only two returning lineman, and with practice and proper conditioning we might see changes in 2021.
* I have more thoughts on the defense in general and their play this year but I am going to save them for a later post.