Harold Landry knew he let it get away. You could hear it in his voice and see it in the way he sat behind the microphone.
“Yup,” he said. “Play could have changed the game.”
The sophomore from Fayetteville, N.C. spoke with more honesty and candor than one usually sees from a student-athlete in a post-game press conference—there was nowhere to hide Friday night. He saw what all 39,111 fans in Alumni Stadium saw on that fateful play in the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, Boston College had Florida State University trapped deep in its own territory. The Eagles were trailing by a score, and with the offense floundering through the first 15 minutes, they needed to catch a break.
It appeared that they would get one—quarterback Everett Golson retreated into the end zone looking for options through the air, but the play quickly broke down. Golson shed a tackle from one defender, turning his back towards the play and wheeling towards the sideline with reckless abandon. It looked as if Landry would bring him down, giving the Eagles two much-needed points and possession.
The Eagles were handed the boost they needed to get back in the game—or so they thought.
Golson baited Landry into reaching out for the tackle, then spun rapidly to the right to evade him. Free from pressure with blockers ahead, Golson turned on the jets and scampered down the sideline for a substantial gain on a play that should have resulted in a safety.
“That was the biggest moment of the game, to me,” Landry said. “It could’ve changed the momentum of the game, but I let him get away.”
If Landry had brought Golson down in the end zone, who knows what could’ve happened. The safety might have spurred a comeback, giving BC a second victory in three games against top-10 teams. The Eagles still might have lost, too—but the point isn’t worth debating now.
Golson escaped, and the Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 ACC) leave Chestnut Hill with an emphatic 14-0 shutout victory over BC (2-1, 0-1 ACC).
Missed opportunities did the Eagles in against Florida State, and it wasn’t just Landry’s missed tackle.
Roberto Aguayo has been as close to automatic as college kickers come for the Seminoles, as he possesses the best kicking percentage of all-time. When he stepped up to kick a 42-yarder late into the first half, there was little doubt in the stands about the outcome. Aguayo strode, planted, and made clean contact with the ball, but hooked it too far from the right hash mark. The ball went sailing away from the goal posts, giving BC the ball with plenty of time on the clock to counter.
Instead, the offense floundered, wasting precious seconds off the clock between plays before ultimately admitting defeat and running the clock down to zero.
Then later, deep into the fourth quarter, after yet another BC offensive three-and-out, Alex Howell lined up to punt away to FSU returner Jesus Wilson. Howell unleashed a booming punt of 56 yards, good in its own right. But with BC gunner Kamrin Moore closing in on him, Wilson established position under the ball, reached to make the catch, and let the ball bounce right off his fingertips, helpless as it rolled away from him on the turf.
The ball took an odd hop right towards Moore, who looked unprepared to recover the fumble. It bounced off his chest and rolled away as he collided with Wilson, allowing the trailing Javien Elliot to pick up the loose ball and preserve the Seminoles’ shutout.
These are plays that winning teams make and bounces that winning teams get—it’s a combination of skill and luck that, when joined, puts a team over the edge. BC doesn’t have that right now, and quite frankly, it hasn’t had that in a while. Whenever the Eagles need a big play, the clutch mentality seems to escape them.
With an offense that looks inept at its best and comparable to a first-day-of-practice Pop Warner unit at its worst, the Eagles will need to take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes if they want any shot to play in the postseason this year.
To add insult to injury, quarterback Darius Wade will miss considerable time with a broken left ankle, giving an already struggling offense a potential deathblow. If the offense was not going to drive all the way down the field on the opposition before Wade’s injury, it sure as hell isn’t going to now.
So if Steve Addazio wants to keep his team looking respectable in 2015, it must make tackles and recover fumbles. It must capitalize on missed field goals and it must benefit from good field position.
If these things happen, BC will win games, and players like Landry will be spared from taking ownership at uncomfortable press conferences in the future.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor