Gridiron Audibles: BC Special Teams Miscues Costly in Loss to Duke

GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino
GRIDIRON AUDIBLES by Christian A. Guarino

The first road trip of 2015 for Boston College and Head Coach Steve Addazio could have gone better.

Duke kicker Ross Martin connected on his three field goal attempts, enough scoring to best the Eagles 9-7. The loss drops Boston College to 3-2.

The Eagles offensive woes continue to outshine and waste the defensive gems churned out on the other side of the football.

Quarterbacks Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith failed to complete a pass in the first half, going 0-for-9 collectively. Despite these abysmal numbers, Addazio still felt good about his men behind center. “I felt Both quarterbacks competed and tried to play,” said Addazio. “They both delivered a spark to our team.”

Things got only marginally better in the second half just as the Eagle offense looked primed to have a breakout game. Unfortunately misfires and missed opportunities continued to be the story of a half whose lone highlight came with 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Flutie found sophomore receiver Thadd Smith for a 66-yard touchdown. Smith finished the game with two receptions and 99 yards but also had another controversial touchdown taken off the board when he failed to secure a leaping catch in the second quarter.

Boston College falls to 3-2 with the 9-7 loss to Duke.
Boston College falls to 3-2 with the 9-7 loss to Duke.

A road team scoring only one touchdown rarely comes away with the W, and yet in this game, it nearly was enough as the Duke offense suffered through the agonizing four quarters BC opponents have learned to expect. The second ranked rush defense limited Blue Devil runners to 33 total yards and came up big when it mattered most, stuffing the Blue Devils on four straight plays at the BC goal line. However quarterback Tom Sirk was effective as he passed for 195-yards while completing 18-of-36 throws.

With a chance to steal away the win, freshman Colton Lichtenberg sent his 50-yard field goal attempt short and to the left. The play continued what was a sorry afternoon for the Eagle’s special teams unit which also included a low snap which terminated a first half field goal attempt and a muffed punt return by Sherman Alston recovered by the Blue Devils.

“We had 7 points taken off and two missed field goals. 13 points we should have had” said a dejected Addazio during post-game interviews where he voiced his displeasure with everything from the overturned touchdown to the mishaps on special teams. “We needed to make just one more play and we couldn’t. We had opportunities to kick field goals and we couldn’t convert. Those ended up being critical.”

Next up for the Eagles is an Alumni Stadium matchup with Wake Forest this Saturday at 3 pm.

Tickets may be purchased directly at

Christian A. Guarino, a Boston North End resident, writes about football and soccer for the Boston Post Gazette.