CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. For the second straight week, the Army football team suffered a road defeat at the hands of an ACC opponent, losing at No. 14/12 Boston College, 37-17, Saturday afternoon in front of 40,329 fans at Alumni Stadium.
The Black Knights had their best big-play day of the season with a career-long 61-yard kickoff return by senior WR Corey Anderson, an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior LB Brian Chmura and passing plays of 44, 35 and 24 yards.
Anderson posted a career-best 242 all-purpose yards with one reception for a career-long 35-yard gain and 207 yards on seven kickoff returns.
Sophomore QB Carson Williams was 15 for 32 for 191 yards and an interception in his second straight start. Freshman RB Patrick Mealy rushed for a career-high 27 yards on nine carries and also made one catch for three yards. Junior RB Wesley McMahand ran for 20 yards on nine attempts and scored Army’s lone offensive touchdown, his second rushing tally of the season.
Sophomore WR Damion Hunter had a career day with four catches for 37 yards, while senior WR Jeremy Trimble improved his streak of games with at least one catch to 14 with three receptions for 81 yards, including a 44-yard catch for Army’s longest play from scrimmage on the season.
Defensively, the Black Knights forced a season-high three turnovers, including their first two interceptions of the season. Chmura’s pick-six was Army’s first interception return for a score since Brian Hill against Hawai’i in 2003.
Senior FS Jordan Murray recorded a team-high 10 tackles for the Black Knights. Senior CB Kevin Opoku had a career-high nine tackles and recorded his first career interception. Junior LB Frank Scapptaticci made eight stops and a tackle for loss, while senior SS Caleb Campbell notched seven stops and forced a fumble.
The Eagles outgained Army, 573-279, including a 202-44 advantage on the ground. BC picked up 34 first downs to the Black Knights’ seven.
Senior P/K Owen Tolson, in addition to handling his normal punting and kickoff duties, was the Black Knights’ placekicker. Tolson hit 1-of-2 field goal tries and was true on his two PAT attempts. He also averaged 44.7 yards on six punts.
Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan had his third 300-yard passing day of the season, completing 35-of-51 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first 300-yard passing game allowed by Army since Tulane’s Lester Ricard threw for 409 last season. Ryan’s 51 pass attempts were the most by an opposing quarterback since Louisville’s Chris Redman went 36 for 50 at Michie Stadium in 1999. Ryan also had a one-yard run for the game’s first touchdown. Kevin Challenger had a game-high nine receptions for 104 yards, while Brandon Robinson made eight receptions for 73 yards and a score. Rich Gunnell and Ryan Purvise also recorded touchdown catches for the Eagles. Andre Callender rushed for 87 yards on six carries, including a 66-yard scoring run.
Army turned the ball over on its first possession when Mark Herzlich stepped in front of Williams’ second attempt. Boston College moved the ball 39 yards to the Army 8-yard line, but the Black Knights’ defense held on 3rd-and-1 to force a field goal attempt. Steve Aponavicius’ 25-yard field goal try was good to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
After a three-and-out on Army’s next possession, the Eagles took over at their own 30-yard line after a 49-yard punt by Tolson. BC marched 70 yards in six plays for the game’s first touchdown. Ryan did the honors with a one-yard plunge. Aponavicius’ extra point was blocked to keep the Boston College lead at 9-0 with 7:14 left in the quarter.
The Eagles’ next possession started at their own 44-yard line following an Army punt. BC moved the ball to the Army 27-yard line, but Aponavicius’ 44-yard field goal try went wide right and the Black Knights regained possession.
On 3rd-and-6, Trimble caught the ball just across the first-down marker, made a move to his left and broke free down the sideline. He ran to the Boston College 25-yard line where the ball was knocked free, but a hustling Mike Viti was able to recover and set up the Black Knights’ first scoring chance. Army advanced the ball as far as the BC 19-yard line before Tolson’s first career field goal chance was wide left from 36 yards out.
Boston College started their next drive from the 20-yard line, advancing the ball into the red zone. The Army defense came up big again with its back to the wall when Campbell stripped Challenger and Murray recovered to give the Black Knights the ball at their own 6-yard line. The Army offense could not take advantage, however, and gave the ball back to Boston College. A 60-yard punt by Tolson was returned eight yards to set up the Eagles 1st-and-10 at their own 37-yard line.
The Eagles then tallied their second touchdown of the half, a 22-yard completion from Ryan to Gunnell that capped a nine-play, 63-yard drive. Aponovicius’ second PAT pushed the Eagles’ lead to 16-0 with 9:35 left in the half. The score marked the first time this season that the Army defense allowed its opponent to score two offensive touchdowns in the same game.
Williams and Trimble hooked up again on Army’s next drive to give the Black Knights their second trip into BC territory. Trimble caught a slant pass, broke a tackle and carried the ball to the BC 36-yard line. On 4th-and-5 from the 31-yard line, Army lined up in field-goal formation, but instead of placing the ball, holder Andrew Rinehart flipped it to tight end Mike Evans who lined up as the left wing and cut in front of Rinehart to receive the shovel pass. Evans rumbled for a 24-yard gain and a 1st-and-goal for the Black Knights. McMahand put Army on the board with a seven-yard run on the next play, his second touchdown run of the season. Tolson converted his first career PAT attempt to cut the deficit 16-7 with 7:01 left in the half.
The teams exchanged punts on the next five possessions. Sophomore DB Mario Hill made a highlight-worthy hit when he belted BC punt returner DeJuan Tribble just as he received a Tolson kick. Army had the ball at the end of the half, but time expired on a fourth down Hail Mary attempt when Williams had the ball stripped. Senor OL Seth Fabin fell on the ball as the clock hit triple zeroes.
Boston College outgained the Black Knights, 282-157, the first two quarters. The Eagles picked up 18 first downs compared with Army’s three.
The second half started the way the first half ended with both teams punting on their first possessions. On BC’s second drive of the third quarter, Scappaticci deflected Ryan’s pass attempt and Opoku snagged the carom out of the air for Army’s first interception of the season and the first of his career. Opoku returned the ball 18 yards giving Army a first down on the BC’s 39-yard line.
Williams was brought down for a loss of 12 on the first play of the drive, making it 2nd-and-22, but the sophomore hooked up with Anderson for a 35-yard pass down the left sideline to set up the offense at the 16-yard line. Williams completed a pass to Trimble that went for an apparent touchdown, but a holding penalty nullified the score and moved the ball back to the 18-yard line. On third down, junior FB Collin Mooney made his first career catch, a 10-yard reception to set up a 26-yard field goal attempt by Tolson. The senior split the uprights to make the score 16-10 with 7:08 to go in the third quarter.
The Eagles responded on the ensuing possession with a seven-play, 67-yard drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Purvis. The extra point pushed the lead to 23-10 with 4:09 left in the third quarter.
Army was able to cross midfield on its next drive, but on fourth down from the BC 42-yard line Williams’ pass attempt fell incomplete to give the ball back to the Eagles. Ryan led the Boston College offense on a 12-play, 58-yard scoring drive, hitting Robinson for a 7-yard score. BC went for the two-point conversion, but Scappaticci intercepted the ball to keep the score at 29-10 with 13:16 left in the game.
Anderson, who had been close to breaking a kick return all season, took the ensuing kickoff at the 18-yard line and returned it 61 yards to the BC 21-yard line. Tribble made the touchdown saving tackle for the Eagles with a diving stop. Army moved the chains to set up a 1st-and-10 from the 11-yard line. On 4th-and-1 from the 2-yard line, junior RB Tony Dace was stopped just inches shy of the first down to turn the ball back over to the Eagles.
While the Army offense did not score, the defense took advantage of the field position to net its first touchdown of the season. Chmura stepped in front a slant pass and returned it 11 yards for the score. Tolson’s second PAT made the score 29-17 with 9:22 left in the game.
The Eagles put the game out of reach on its next possession when Callender broke free of left tackle and sprinted 66 yards for the score. Callender also caught Ryan’s pass on the two-point conversion attempt to make the score 37-17 with 8:47 left in the game.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the contest with BC taking a knee on the game’s final snap to secure the victory.
The Black Knights return home next week to take on Temple. The game, which will be broadcast on ESPNU, is slated for a 12 p.m. start.