Last Friday wasn’t quite Halloween yet, but it definitely got scary in a hurry for the Florida State Seminoles at Boston College. Looking to come in and jumpstart their season; the Seminoles instead headed back to Tallahassee with their tail between their legs. Boston College jumped on them from very start of the game and didn’t relent until their crowd rushed the field to celebrate their first home ACC win since 2013. Yes, you read that right and that’s why Boston College is this week’s ACC Spotlight on www.InsideTheACC.com.
October has been quite the month for Steve Addazio and his guys. They limped out of September with a 2-3 record. Chances at going to a bowl game were looking slim, and the chance at going winless in the ACC was staring them right in the face. Coming into this season the Eagles were 2-14 in their last 16 ACC contests. After starting 0-3 in the ACC this season, whispers began about whether Addazio could get this ship turned around. Well, not only has this ship turned around in October, but it’s moving full steam ahead into November and their remaining ACC opponents better take notice.
What has been the key to the 3-1 record this month? Offense. Addazio has always fielded a scrappy defense that has caused all sorts of headaches for ACC offensive coordinators. The missing link though has always been a consistent offense to compliment that defense. Not anymore. After a lackluster start to the year on that side of the ball, the Eagles’ offense has had one of the biggest midseason turnarounds in the entire country.
An offense’s job is to score points. The Eagles figured that out in October where they averaged scoring about 33 points-per-game. That’s good enough for second in the ACC this month, after sitting in dead last in the conference in scoring in September with an average of 18 points-per-game. A two-touchdown improvement in one month is incredible, and that puts them in the Top 30 in the nation in scoring in October.
The scoring output has been driven of course by an increase in yards gained as well. In September the Eagles were next-to-last in the ACC with 318 yards-per-game. They’ve increased that to 435 yards-per-game which is good for 4th in the ACC.
Who was the catalyst behind this surge in offense? While it may take a host of guys moving in the same direction to accomplish this, the guy driving this offense is freshman running back A.J. Dillon. He ran for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Seminoles’ defense and he looked like anything but a freshman in that game. It’s been quite the month for Dillon. He came out of September averaging 59 yards-per-game on the ground. Dillon averaged 136 yards-per-game in October against some good defenses. That average only trailed Lamar Jackson in the ACC rankings this month. It also put Dillon in the Top 20 in the country this month.
Dillon is also finding the end zone more now. He had two total touchdowns in his first 5 games, but has now scored 5 touchdowns in the last four. This kid’s future looks bright.
The production on offense has been complimented by a defense that has also buckled down more in October. They entered the month giving up 29 points-per-game. In the last four games they have limited teams to 19 points-per-game, including holding the Seminoles to only a field goal this past Friday night.
One key stat in this turnaround is the turnover margin. The Eagles entered October dead last in the ACC in this category with a -0.8 turnover margin. They flipped that in a major way and now have a turnover margin of +2.0, which puts them at the top of the ACC for this month.
Looking ahead, this Eagles’ team is one nobody is going to look forward to seeing on the schedule. The big game this week is Clemson at NC State. Lurking after that game for the Wolfpack will be a Boston College team waiting for them in Chestnut Hill, well-rested from this open week.
As mentioned above, the Eagles’ fans rushed the field to celebrate their victory. They also did it to celebrate the life of Welles Crowther. Crowther was a hero on 9/11 that lost his life in the midst of him saving countless other lives that day. The fans wore red bandanas to honor him in this “Red Bandana Game.” Coach Addazio gave the game ball to Crowther’s parents. The last time Boston College fans stormed the field in Chestnut Hill was when they beat USC in 2014, in the Red Bandana Game.
Well done Boston College, well done.