Boston College's defense allowed 549 yards and was unable to stop the Virginia Cavaliers who rolled the Eagles 43-32. Jeff Hafley's squad was playing without starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec and running back David Bailey, yet were still able to put up 520 yards in the air, tying a school record by Doug Flutie. Here are five takeaways we had from the game.
* The defense has taken steps this year, but still has a long way to go. There have been moments this year that the defense looked strong, and there have been moments where they looked overwhelmed. Tonight's game was the latter. The Cavaliers carved up the Eagles with 15 explosives (passing 15+ yards, rushing 10+ yards). That isn't going to win you many games.
When looking at the games they have struggled there is a common theme, rushing quarterbacks. Any quarterback who can move has been a challenge whether it is Hendon Hooker, Malik Cunningham or Brennan Armstrong. There is just an overall lack of speed on the team that gets exposed when they have to account for a running quarterback. Looking at the recruiting class coming in, I think Jeff Hafley and his staff understand this too, and are looking to address this.
* This game was squarely on the shoulders of Dennis Grosel. With the defense looking completely ineffective, it was up to the backup quarterback to try and win the game. And boy did he come close. He threw for 520 yards, and did this while the offensive line struggled with protection and there was absolutely no running game. It was like the team's entire chances laid solely at his feet. He was two interceptions that were just slightly off their mark from winning this game too. Incredible performance, it's too bad it was wasted on a loss.
* Loss of Deon Jones was a killer. Look, the entire defense struggled tonight. But the injury to safety Deon Jones was a back breaker. There were at least two touchdowns (Armstrong touchdown, Keytaon Thompson's second) that were right at true freshman Jalen Williams. The first touchdown he looked confused on where to be, and Bronco Mendenhall went right at him, leading to the big touchdown. On the second touchdown he fell down. He's a true freshman so you hate seeing this happen, but BC was down to their fourth string safety later in the game (after Kam Arnold was disqualified).
* Offensive line did not have a good game. Just when you think the offensive line takes a step forward, they take a step backwards. They started out strong, giving Dennis Grosel plenty of time to throw the ball and stay in the pocket, but as the game wore on the time he had grew smaller and smaller. Add in some mistakes, and a lack of a running game (which to be fair was completely abandoned), and this was not a good game for the group.
* Wide receiving group is Special. Lost in the loss was the play of the wide receiving group who brought in the 520 passing yards. Zay Flowers finished with 8 receptions for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Hunter Long had 100 yards and a TD. This entire crew is coming back next year, and will be adding Kobay White, and look for Taji Johnson to take a step forward. At this position the future is very bright for the Eagles.