The Boston College Eagles and the Holy Cross Crusaders renewed a historic New England college football rivalry on Saturday, with BC winning by a score of 62-14. The two Jesuit institutions have played each other 82 times, but Saturday's game was their first meeting since 1986.
The Eagles got off to a fast start. Star BC running back AJ Dillon broke free for a 54 yard run on the first play of the game. Three plays later, he walked into the end zone untouched to give the Eagles an early lead. Dillon followed that up with a 74 yard touchdown run on the second offensive series. Then, just over three minutes later, he found his way into the end zone for the third time, quickly extending BC's lead to 21-0.
The Crusaders had no answer for the Eagles’ starting offense. Dillon carried the ball just six times, racking up 149 yards and three touchdowns. However, he and BC’s other first string players exited the game well before the first quarter was over.
Once the Eagles had a comfortable lead, BC Head Coach Steve Addazio recognized the game as an opportunity to keep the starters healthy and to give younger players in-game reps. After the game, he stressed that Dillon and other starters always put the team first, and he noted that they understood that they had to come out of the game for the team's sake.
“It’s a team game for us. It’s a team deal. And he’s a team guy,” said Addazio of Dillon's sportsmanship after the game.
The game was similar to last week’s contest against UMass: a first-half explosion from the Eagles’ offense followed by a lot of playing time for players who may not normally get in the game.
Three different quarterbacks played for BC. After Anthony Brown exited with the other starters, EJ Perry and Matt McDonald both saw significant playing time. Perry and McDonald each tossed their first career touchdowns. All combined, the three quarterbacks threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
The Eagles improved to 2-0 on the season record and looked solid on both sides of the ball. The defense held Holy Cross to just 21 yards of offense in the first quarter. The Crusaders didn’t score an offensive touchdown all game, as their only points came from special teams. Holy Cross blocked two punts, returning both for touchdowns.
The in-state rivalry drew a large crowd of 40,311. Although the crowd thinned out as the game became a blowout, there was palpable excitement leading up to the matchup between the two schools. The geographical and historical rivalry between BC and Holy Cross prompted an exciting game day environment.
However, the Eagles’ schedule will toughen from here. BC has a short week coming up, as the Eagles head to Wake Forest for a Thursday night game against the Demon Deacons. Coach Addazio emphasized his efforts to remove several starters from the field early this week to ensure they are fresh and ready for Thursday night.
As all eyes now turn to Wake Forest, BC will undoubtedly face its first real test. After cruising through the first two games of the season, the Eagles will look to move to 3-0 in their first ACC matchup of the year.
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