This one will really sting – especially because Army had its chances to win a game against a Power Five squad and long-time rival.
Quarterback Thomas Castellanos’ fourth rushing touchdown lifted visiting Boston College a shocking 27-24 victory over Army at a rain-swept Michie Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It did not have to end that way. Army, after playing a totally uninspiring first half that saw the Eagles dominate all aspects of the game and take a 13-3 lead into halftime, fought back bravely in the second half. The Black Knights scored three touchdowns and grabbed a four-point lead, 24-20, about three minutes into the fourth quarter.
But, an illegal forward pass penalty later in the quarter negated a 50-yard touchdown run by Army sophomore Hayden Reed and a muffed punt gave Boston College the ball back on their own 38-yard line with 5:20 left . The Eagles, behind the running of Castellanos and Patrick Garwo, drove the ball down to the Army one-yard line, where the Boston College quarterback pushed in for the winning score with 25 seconds left in the game.
“Well, that was certainly disappointing,” said a clearly-dejected Army head coach Jeff Monken. “I was disappointed with the way our guys played in the first half and the way we coached. I thought our guys played harder and played better in the second half, but they still made far too many mistakes and errors in fundamentals and assignments, errors in coaching and just disappointing because it was one we could have won had we done a few more of those things better.
“Credit to Boston College. They played really tough, are well coached and they made the plays when they needed to, especially on the last drive. Unfortunately, we came up short again.”
The loss drops Army to 2-3 on the season and lowers the Black Knights chances of reaching bowl eligibility this season. It was also Army’s second straight loss at the hands of an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, having lost at Syracuse, 29-16, last Saturday.
As Monken said, the Black Knights had their chances throughout the game to score more and prevent Boston College, now 3-3 on the season, from putting more points on the board. In the first half, Army had to settle for a field goal after junior quarterback Bryson Daily connected with sophomore running back Tyrell Robinson, playing his first game for Army in more than a year, for a 21-yard pass completion to the BC 8-yard line.
Later in the half, the Black Knights had too many players on the field as Boston College lined up to try a fourth-down field goal, forcing Monken to call a time out. During the stoppage, the Eagles decided to send the offense back out to the field and they promptly got a first down that led to Boston College’s second touchdown of the first half.
“They sent their offense out there on fourth down, called time out and brought their field goal guys out there and we had 12 guys on the field,” Monken said. “Unfortunately, we called a timeout and they brought the offense back out there and there was the four points of the game. Instead of the last drive being 24-20 at the end, it could have been 24-16. I am disappointed. (It was) a coaching error.”
The Black Knights came out roaring in the second half. After a 55-yard kickoff return by Zach Mundell, the longest in the Monken’s tenure as coach, gave Army the ball on the BC 38 to open the second half, Robinson scored on a 10-yard run to cut the BC lead to 13-10.
Castellanos’ third touchdown run, also a 10-yard scamper, put the Eagles back up by 10, 20-10, midway through the third quarter. But a 6-yard run by Reed later in the third quarter, closed the gap to 20-17 and Daily, who finished with 105 yards on 10-13 passing, found junior H-back Tyson Riley in the end zone to give Army its first and only lead of the day, 24-20 with 11:43 left in the game.
“We executed and did what we should have done what we should have done in the first half,” said Daily, who registered 99 rushing yards. “It is on us that we did not get it started until the second half and that is why we ended up losing this game. We needed, as an offense, to finish that drive and win the game and it is a shame we could not do that.”