The game felt more sluggish the first time. Watching back it was that much more apparent how much BC controlled the game from the start. Those early stalled drives were more about Syracuse just gambling on every play with some sort of run blitz. It was desperate and yet we stuck with our plan and made a few adjustments and finally started scoring. I also appreciate that the team came out fighting from the start. There was no hangover from the FSU loss. It was just a good solid performance by everyone.
Murphy's passing numbers were good and should have been better (more drops). He made good throws throughout and threw well when rolling out or outside the pocket. His runs were more contained but that was due to what Syracuse was doing. The pass to Alston was perfect.
I really like how Outlow ran, especially through all the mess at the line. He also made a few guys miss. Rouse was fine, but his stuff was mostly in garbage time. He still ran hard though. Hilliman never really got going. Nor did Willis.
Even on a good day the WRs drop too many balls. Alston's catch was nice. Bordner made some nice plays after his early drop. Phillips catch was nice. I wish we targeted him a bit more.
The offensive line shouldered most of the blame online during and after the game, but their play as a group wasn't bad. Syracuse just came out shooting gaps and doing anything they could to disrupt things. Gallik had a few issues with snaps, but blocked well. Vardaro also played well. The right side had a few more issues with the pressure and pick ups but it was still a solid performance.
Considering the long stretches without scoring it didn't feel like a great offensive game, but I still think BC adjusted well. Once we realized that Syracuse was doing everything they could to blow up the power stuff and the read options, we started using more shovels and play fakes (the pass to Alston). We moved the pocket a bit two and that allowed Murphy to make some easy throws.
Although it is a thin unit, the D Line has been the most consistent all year. Wujciak continued his solid play. He made multiple tackles and controlled his area of the line. Adebayo played well and so did Landry. Mihalik was fine. So was Moore. Kavalec had a few tackles.
I'm happy that Duggan and Strizak both picked off passes, because they also both missed tackles on key plays earlier in the game. Overall Duggan played well and bounced back from a minor injury. Keyes didn't make as many tackles. Daniels was fine but also got swallowed up a few times.
Asprilla had another solid game. He made good tackles and was good in coverage. Simmons was solid in both too. Brown wasn't as active as last week against Florida State but still played well. Williams played well. Moore and Sylvia both got extended playing time too.
This was probably the defenses best game. Not only did they limit scoring, but they got pressure without heavy blitzing and generated turnovers. What I liked is that we still used the threat of blitz to keep the Orange off balance. The fundamentals were solid too. You didn't see major coverage breakdowns or missed tackles.
Special Teams: B
The Willis return was perfect. We had multiple quality blocks and Willis ran hard and through a few arm tackles. Addazio mentioned "setting it up" all year and finally breaking one. I assume he means some sort of straight ahead sprint. Which makes sense given how Willis has run back all year. It is mostly to one side and mostly straight. I am glad it worked. It gave BC a cushion that helped set tempo and offense for the rest of the half.
Alston didn't get to do much on his returns. The punts were fine and both coverage teams were fine.
The biggest problem with Special Teams was another missed field goal. I hope Addazio finds another kicker, because I have real doubts about what we will do next year with a kicked who cannot convert.
I thought the scuffle was very telling for Addazio and Shafer. It seemed silly and escalated quickly but our guys set the right balance with protecting themselves and their teammates and avoided doing anything egregious. Meanwhile Syracuse had a guy who wasn't even on the field get involved and eventually thrown out of the game. Stuff like that is a reflection of the head coach. Addazio's guys act with a certain level of control and didn't do anything rash or stupid. It is a reflection of what they are doing in practice and in meeting rooms.
This wasn't a fun game, but it was a solid plan and a good bounce back from the Florida State loss. I said a good coach wins this game. We won. As reward the team gets a few more weeks of practice and a marginally better bowl game. This year, I think given the time and team, I expect us to look very good in the bowl.