A handful of pundits, us included, had Boston College positioned as one of the sleeper picks on the backend of their preseason Top 25 rankings. Thursday night, the Eagles continued their early-season validation of that positioning.
Behind the right arm of Anthony Brown and the legs of AJ Dillon (pictured), BC went into Winston-Salem Thursday evening and came away with a 41-34 win. The game, with a kickoff time pushed up two hours by the threat of Hurricane Florence, was a back-and-forth affair throughout, with it either being tied or the lead changing hands on eight different occasions. Prior to the third quarter, neither team held a double-digit lead; a Brown touchdown pass very early in the fourth quarter pushed the Eagles’ lead to 10 points, while another Brown scoring toss five minutes later extended the lead even further to 14 points with under nine minutes left in the game.
Those touchdown passes were Brown’s fourth and fifth of the game, marking a career-high for the redshirt freshman quarterback. Brown also set a career-high in passing yards with 304; his previous best was 279, set in the season opener this year.
On the ground, Dillon accounted for 185 yards and the only non-passing touchdown the Eagles put on the scoreboard. This was Dillon’s ninth 100-yard game since the start of the 2017 season, the most for any ACC player not named Lamar Jackson in that span.
Add it all up, and the win pushes BC to its first 3-0 start to a season since future third-overall NFL draft pick Matt Ryan was the quarterback in 2007.
BC began the season with romps over UMass (55-21) and FCS Holy Cross (62-14) before facing its first real test of the year Thursday night. It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility, though, that BC could start the year 7-0 as they face 0-2 Purdue (in West Lafayette), 0-2 Temple, 2-0 NC State (in Raleigh) and 1-1 Louisville over the next four games before hosting No. 21 Miami Oct. 13.
The last time a Boston College football team started a season 7-0? That 2007 season when the Eagles began the year 8-0 and finished it 11-3, a squad tied with the 1940 team for the most wins in a single season in the program’s history.