Football collapses in the fourth, falls to BC 38-23

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Haynes King prepares to recieve the snap against the Boston College Eagles. Despite the result, King led the Jackets to 354 yards of total offense. // Photo by Ethan Chen Student Publications

After upsetting the then 17th-ranked Miami Hurricanes, the Jackets prepared to take on the Boston College Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Oct. 21. The last time these teams met was in 2021, and Boston College secured a 41-30 victory over that Geoff Collins-led squad. Now, under the direction of Brent Key, the Jackets were looking to prove why they were favored by six points.

Tech began the game on offense, and redshirt sophomore quarterback Haynes King completed a 17-yard pass to redshirt sophomore receiver Malik Rutherford on the first play from scrimmage. Despite this, a few incompletions and a false start brought the drive to a halt, leading Key to send out the special teams unit for the first punt of the game.

Then, after both defenses forced three-and-outs, the Eagles’ offense found life in quarterback Thomas Castellanos. The Waycross, Georgia native scrambled to his left and found an open receiver who hustled up the field for a 45-yard gain. Boston College capped off the drive with a field goal, securing the first points of the game and early momentum.

The Jackets had a response, though, with King using his arm and his legs to advance the offense downfield. This, combined with some tough running from junior running back Trey Cooley, set up redshirt-sophomore running back Jamal Haynes to score the first touchdown of the day. Haynes ran to the right, evaded many Boston College defenders and danced along the boundary to reach the end zone. The score gave the Jackets a 7-3 lead, and re-energized the cheering Bobby Dodd crowd.

The defense then rose up and stopped the Eagles, bringing the offense back on the field; however, King tried to hit redshirt  junior receiver Dominick Blaylock on a comeback route, but Eagles defensive back Amari Jackson stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it. Jackson returned the interception for a 30-yard touchdown, and Boston College claimed a 10-7 lead at the end of a contested, back-and-forth first quarter.

Neither team was able to convert on their drives to begin the second quarter. Fortunately for the Jackets, this trend did not continue as a penalty and explosive plays from skill-position players allowed redshirt  freshman placekicker Aidan Birr to nail a 46-yard field goal and tie it at 10-10.

The game was not tied for long, however, as Castellanos took over; he either threw the ball or ran it on 12 plays of a 13-play drive that resulted in an Eagles touchdown. The final play of this drive was a gritty 12-yard rushing touchdown by the quarterback, where Castellanos took a nasty hit as he crossed the end zone but made it a 17-10 game in favor of Boston College. 

Heading into the half, the Tech offense appeared sluggish, and the defense had shown no signs of slowing down Castellano’s game. The Eagles were winning at the line of scrimmage, allowing them to break into the secondary.   

The Jackets began the second half on defense, and they forced a huge takeaway to shift the momentum in their favor: redshirt sophomore defensive back Ahmari Harvey made a leaping interception in the end zone to set up the Tech offense on their own 20-yard line. This was the 14th takeaway on the season for the opportunistic Jackets defense, the same amount as Michigan, North Carolina and Tulane — teams that are ranked No. 2, No. 17 and No. 22 in the most recent AP poll, respectively across seven games.

Following the interception, King captured his first touchdown with a 71-yard run, avoiding two would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. The Tech offense was surging after making it a 17-17 game, and the defense was looking to make another big stop.The Jackets defense would do just that, forcing a missed field goal on the ensuing Eagles’ drive.

Sensing an opportunity to take control of the game, the Tech offense walked onto the field, and King completed several huge passes, notably a 37-yard pass to Cooley. The Jackets were in the red zone, and King slung a pass to his right that was caught and ran in for a touchdown by junior receiver Avery Boyd. Unfortunately, Birr missed the extra-point attempt to the right, but the Jackets seized a 23-17 lead — their first lead since being up 7-3 very late into the first quarter of play.

Boston College would score on the first drive of the fourth quarter on a rushing touchdown by running back Kye Robichaux. On their next drive, in a fourth-and-one situation, Castellanos would score a 43-yard rushing touchdown as a result of a poor run-stopping effort from the Jackets. Tech was facing an eight-point deficit, and the score was 31-23.

It was more of the same from there on. King would underthrow one of his receivers, leading to an interception that set up the Eagles offense around the 50-yard line. Subsequently, the Jackets defense would, once again, give up a long rushing touchdown, and Boston College would go up 38-23. Tech would end this game on a low note, as King would throw his third interception of the day, 

The Jackets fell to 3-4 on the season and will look to bounce back against the No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. Tech has won the last two matchups with UNC as, last year, they upset the No. 13 Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. The Jackets look to grab a much needed win in Bobby Dodd Stadium.