Georgia Tech’s defense gashed by Boston College run game

Boston College punted for the first time with about two minutes left in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Eagles had scored on all seven of their drives in the preceding 43 minutes of football.

At the time of the punt, the Eagles led by 20 points and were well on their way to a 48-27 win. In the first half alone, Boston College put up 34 points, gained 259 yards and possessed the ball for almost 20 minutes. Turnovers and ill-timed penalties kept the Yellow Jackets' defense on the field for much of the first half. The Eagles took full advantage.

“That just comes down to playing together as a whole team,” Jackets senior linebacker David Curry said. “(As a) defense, we’ve got to get off the field. On offense, of course, we can’t turn the ball over three times.”

Boston College entered the game averaging only 66 rushing yards per game, with a season high of 90 rushing yards. But on its first play from scrimmage, running back Zay Flowers gained 10 yards on a jet sweep. That set the tone for the rest of the drive — and the rest of the game.

The Eagles finished with 264 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and an average of six yards per carry. Both Curry and Tech coach Geoff Collins pointed to specific details in Boston College’s offense that presented challenges in stopping the run.

“The unique thing about their offense is it is a lot of different formations, a lot of different shifts,” Collins said. “As you kind of try to find the rhythm, they don’t do a lot of the things that they’ve done in previous games.”

“This is the first team that’s really came out in big personnel versus us this year and really tried to run the ball down our throats right off the bat,” Curry added.

Tech entered the game preparing to stop Hunter Long, who is the most-targeted tight end in college football. Long finished with three receptions for 39 yards — a season-low in both categories. But it stands to reason that with so much attention on Long in the passing game, Boston College was able to run the ball with more success than it has had in previous games.

In some ways, it was the mirror image of Tech’s defensive performance against Clemson last week, in which the Yellow Jackets were able to slow the Tigers on the ground, but gave up over 400 passing yards.

Tech has given up a combined 121 points and 1,080 yards of offense in the past two weeks. With No. 3 Notre Dame coming to Bobby Dodd Stadium next weekend, the Yellow Jackets' defense doesn’t have much time to tighten things up.

“We’ve just got to continue to get better every single chance that we get,” Collins said. “... There’s so much that we’ve got to improve on. Our guys are committed to it. We just have to continue to develop this roster.”