<
>

BC ends season on sour note in Music City

12/31/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

This was Vanderbilt's day, Vanderbilt's feel-good story.

Boston College lost to an inspired opponent that won its first bowl game in 53 years.

As good as Boston College played on defense -- a stifling effort in the 16-14 defeat -- the Eagles will remember their mistakes instead.

Boston College had two costly 15-yard penalties in the fourth quarter that led to the game-winning field goal, and three turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- while Vanderbilt didn't surrender the ball once or commit one single penalty.

Vanderbilt needed three quarterbacks and a fluke touchdown to win the game. The Commodores got one of their touchdowns on a fumbled punt that bounced off of safety Paul Anderson's leg and into the end zone, where Vandy recovered it.

It was an unfortunate ending that is likely to overshadow an otherwise impressive season, considering what coach Jeff Jagodzinski had to work with. The Eagles' four-game winning streak in November that led to the Atlantic Division title and a spot in the ACC championship game has since faded into the background and has been replaced by back-to-back season ending losses in arguably the most important games of the season.

With the loss to Vanderbilt, Boston College's streak of eight straight bowl wins came to an end, but this is a team most outsiders never gave a chance to even compete for the ACC title. The Eagles were picked to finish fourth in their division because they lost Matt Ryan. They finished 2007 without a running back on the roster, and had to replace several key starters on defense.

Their offensive struggles and ability to win games on defense defined them this season, but weren't enough to finish the job. Rookie quarterback Dominique Davis has struggled since taking over for injured starter Chris Crane, and his last interception sealed the win for Vanderbilt. It didn't help that center Matt Tennant, arguably the Eagles' top offensive lineman, left in the second quarter with an elbow injury.

Offensive coordinator Steve Logan tried to help Davis out by putting all-conference tight end Ryan Purvis in the backfield and throwing checkdown passes to him. Simple routes, simple throws helped. But they got away from the short passing game, and that pressured Davis into uncomfortable throws. He struggled with his accuracy, just as he did in the ACC championship game.

Still, it was only his third career start, and unlike last year, Jagodzinski will head into spring practice with running backs to choose from.