Robichaux gained 165 yards on 21 carries in Tech’s 38-23 loss Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium, while Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos posted 128 yards on 13 carries. The Yellow Jackets struggled to contain the duo at points throughout the game, as when Boston College easily moved the ball on the ground in the second quarter and as Castellanos nailed several deep throws during the contest.
Tech expected a challenge from the Eagles’ offense. During the week leading to the game, coach Brent Key said Castellanos was rightfully well-known for his ability to carry the offense as a dual-threat quarterback. He entered Saturday’s game as the FBS leader in rushing yards per game.
Castellanos wasn’t a hasty decision-maker, excelling at making smart calls as the pocket closed in. He made several strong plays, such as when he threw a 45-yard pass to Robichaux in the first quarter and a 30-yard dart to tight end Jeremiah Franklin in the second quarter.
Jackets’ defensive back K.J. Wallace said the Jackets respected Castellanos’ ability in their game preparation, saying he felt they contained him for much of the game.
Despite struggles against Castellanos and Robichaux, the defense held the Eagles to a touchdown and a field goal in the first half (the other score was a pick-six).
However, Tech’s defense unraveled in the fourth quarter. A deep, 19-yard pass and Castellanos’ 43-yard dash down the field put the Eagles ahead with more than eight minutes left.
The Jackets’ offensive woes led to further struggles for the defense. Quarterback Haynes King threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. The defense failed to hold up amid the interceptions. Robichaux’s break-out run after the second interception was game-changing, powering the Eagles to a 15-point lead that proved insurmountable for Tech.
It was another inconsistent performance in a season of big ups and downs for Tech. Moala said he didn’t think it was effort that led to the fourth-quarter struggles, but attention to detail.
“I don’t believe that we left anything in the tank out there as a defense,” Moala said. “I think we ran well to the ball. I just think there were minor tweaks and mishaps that happened out there that didn’t allow us to execute properly.”
Among those details: coach Brent Key said the defense played with only 10 men on the field at points in the fourth quarter.
Key said he, his players and staff all need to take a look in the mirror after the personnel issues that took place during the loss.
“If you’re not aligned, you’re not set, you’re not ready to go, if you’re not in the right position before the plane starts, it’s hard to be able to stop those plays,” Key said.
How do they plan to put the defensive woes in the past and prepare for North Carolina next weekend?
Next-play mentality, Wallace said. The defense tries to embrace this when bad plays happen, he said, and it extends to their approach to games.
“We’re just going to take it one opportunity at a time like we’ve been doing all season,” Wallace said.