Boston College and Wake Forest had already played one of the ugliest football games in recent memory even before the Eagles got to the Demon Deacons’ 1-yard line with seconds left. What happened at that point was simply cringe-inducing.
BC had very little business even being in that position. The Eagles had mustered almost nothing on offense — their first 13 drives ended in eight punts, two missed field goals, two fumbles and an interception — before they coughed the football up one more time deep in Wake Forest territory with just over a minute remaining.
That should have ended things, but with his team up 3-0, Deacons running back Matt Colburn gave the ball right back with his own fumble. Thus BC unexpectedly found itself with possession at the 11-yard line with 56 seconds left and in position to win the game or at least send it to overtime.
But the Eagles didn’t just look a gift horse in the mouth, they vomited in that mouth. (Gross, I know. Hey, it was that kind of game.)
With 19 seconds left, BC tried to run the ball in from the 1. That would have made more sense if the team had a timeout left, but even without that luxury, it obviously expected to be able to spike the ball and stop the clock if the play failed.
The play did fail — and so did the Eagles’ strategy. After making a gang tackle, Wake Forest defenders took their sweet time getting back up off the pile, and just before quarterback Jeff Smith finally had a chance to spike the ball, the clock hit :00, leaving BC Coach Steve Addazio to toss his headset in frustration.
No game-winning touchdown, no game-tying field goal, just a brutal loss.
“That’s Football 101. It comes with experience,” Demon Deacons linebacker Brandon Chubb said (via the Associated Press). “We said that before the play: `Don’t get up. They have no timeouts. Slowly get up. Don’t get up until someone pulls you up.’ ”
“Could we have thrown the ball? Absolutely, but, you know, with our outfit right now, that was the right logic, the right judgement and that I stand by completely,” Addazio said. “It didn’t pan out. It didn’t work out, so it’s on me. That’s life. I’m a big boy, got to handle it and we’ll move forward.”
At least the Eagles can take some consolation in the fact that they played great defense, and have done so for most of the season, right? No, probably not.