How it happened: Things could not have started better for the Eagles. The new offense sparkled on its opening drive, marching down the field with a good mix of pass and run, and punching it into the end zone to take an early 7-0 lead.
And after a three-and-out from Miami, Chase Rettig & Co. did it again, driving confidently downfield and finding pay dirt for a 14-0 lead.
Then the wheels started to come off.
After a three-and-out by the offense, the BC defense let Miami QB Stephen Morris find his rhythm, and watched the Hurricanes move up the field and into the end zone. On the next offensive set, Rettig telegraphed a pass, and sophomore linebacker Denzel Perryman snatched the ball out of the air, sprinting 41 yards for a pick-six.
Rettig was 3-for-4 for 58 yards on the Eagles’ first scoring drive, and 4-for-6 for 69 yards and a score on the second. He looked in complete command, 7-of-10 for 127 yards and that touchdown, and the offense seemed potent.
Not so much after the three-and-out and the pick-six. He was 7-for-12 for 104 yards and an interception in the rest of the half, adding a muffed interchange with center Andy Gallik to stall a red zone chance for good measure. And a BC offense that got touchdowns on its first two possessions had to settle for field goals thereafter until the game was all but decided.
And Miami? Well, Miami didn’t settle for anything. The Hurricanes used two 50-plus-yard TD runs (54 and 56 yards) from Duke Johnson to score quickly and a sparkling third-down conversion percentage to keep drives going, and piled up 41 points.
What it means: Another early hole the Eagles will have to dig themselves out of. They lost three straight games and six of their first seven to open the 2011 season, and never recovered en route to a 4-8 record.
The only win in the first seven? A home W over then-Football Championship Subdivision school UMass.
It’s unlikely the Eagles will open 0-3 this season, what with next weekend’s opponent (the Maine Black Bears) hailing from the FCS. But any hope of momentum carrying over from the strong finish they managed last season (winning three of their final five games) is now gone.
What’s next: BC will host the FCS Maine Black Bears on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.