Maryland blew this game. That much was obvious watching it back. I am not trying to discount what the guys did. It was a hard-fought win and plenty of guys stepped up, but Maryland really coughed it up and messed up the clock. But you know who cares? Not us. A few Terps may be crying in their beers, but BC fans will remember this as a wild finish that went our way.
Rettig's number stunk, but it was a streaky game. Some of his passes were way off early, but later he looked good. When some of his passes sail so far out of bounds, I have to think he's being told to throw it away. Watching the INT, I think he threw that one away too and just didn't see the Safety out there waiting. There was no other explination. At this point, this isn't the season I expected for Rettig, but he's doing enough to help BC win.
Let me get the nitpicking out of the way. Williams isn't always going to adjust when an unexpected hole opens up. He's also not going to make a gang of tacklers miss (and Maryland seemed to wait back for him, so they could contain). But he will pound you. And pound you like no other BC back I can remember. That's what makes these fourth quarter outburst so impressive. I really do think he's worn them down at that point. He's not explosively fast, but he's running harder than the most of the people chasing him. It's awesome to watch. This has been one of the most impressive stretches I can remember for any BC athlete in any BC sport. A lot has to happen for him to win the Heisman (which I will get into this week) but we all owe Williams a "thank you" for being the anchor of this team. Of the other RBs, Willis didn't do much with his limited touches. I would like to see us pass to him more. Sinkovec opened up some good holes.
The Offensive Line is at their best when they are moving. Harris Williams played well. So did Ian White. Gallik screwed up a snap that led to a Maryland TD. He also had some issues with guys darting his gaps on run plays. Vardaro was solid.
I was glad to see Crimmins make some plays. They weren't game breakers, but they were the most he's shown so far this year. Amidon dropped a catchable ball early but made up for it with the huge TD catch. Naples dropped one before getting the big catch later. All the Tight Ends blocked well.
I thought the game was well designed and well called. As much as we stick with the run even when it is unproductive, it does help establish the explosive plays in the second half. I don't know if we are wearing them out or lulling them to sleep but it works. Many of the second half passes were really well designed and well timed. I also loved giving it to Williams even though we were behind and running out of time. He's our best player. A good OC realizes that you've got to get him the ball.
I know the DLine is very thin, but I don't know why they are not making more plays. They weren't bad...just not doing anything to change the game. Wujciak played well and has been coming on of late. He wasn't penetrating but was run stuffing. Edebali was fine. Mihalik had a nice snack and seemed to disrupt some passes. Rudolph didn't fill up the stat sheet but was good in spots.
Daniels was really good again. He's got good speed for big LB. Keyes made some nice plays and looked good rushing off the edge. KPL was active early and then was off the field for stretches. Don't know if he was 100%. Divitto led the team in tackles, but still had some issues missing tackles and in coverage.
It was a shame that Bryce Jones fumbled the punt and got called for pass interference right after, because otherwise he had a strong game. Asprilla dropped a potential INT, but otherwise played well. Sylvia was good. They kept throwing at ALJ. Not sure if that was because they saw something or just because of whom he was covering. He played off and allowed plenty of catches, but didn't make any big mistakes.
Statistically this was one of the better defensive games that BC has played. I didn't love how off we played on some of the WRs, but it worked for the most part. We also did a good job of waiting and containing Brown.
Special Teams: C+
The biggest Special Teams play of the game was obviously the block. Based on the stunt, it looks like BC had it scouted well and had a block on. Or maybe they just lucked out (the snap was low). Either way, it was critical.
Freese nailing the game winner was equally huge.
Everything else on Special Teams was terrible. The fumbled punt. Our punt and kick coverage. Even Willis was contained.
As bad as the returned PAT was, I don't think that was a case of the players not knowing the rules. More likely they didn't even realize it had been caught and returned until it was too late.
We are still dealing with a very small sample size, but I am starting to think Addazio is a good game manager. Part of that is playing the percentages and part of it is playing hunches. Could he be getting lucky? Maybe. But it is working. To me the biggest example of him managing the game well is sticking with Williams in the 4th quarter. Down 11, we kept grinding it out. A coach on cruise control might start passing. But in the case of BC, that actually doesn't make sense. Our running attack is much more efficient and explosive. Then on the second TD, we threw it off of play action. It all worked. I even liked the one attempt with Willis before letting the clock rundown. I know I will nitpick in the future, but for now, I like what Addazio is doing.
The other important head coaching takeaway was not panicking. Players feed off of the emotion of the coach. These guys are clearly buying in, because they didn't fold. That is also a change from recent past.
As I keep writing: BC surpassed most expectations for the season. Credit to Addazio. Now let's keep going.