Monday, January 10, 2011
Instant analysis: Nevada 20, Boston College 13
By Heather Dinich
Here's a quick recap of Nevada's 20-13 win over Boston College:
How the game was won: BC won the turnover battle but lost the game, thanks to its ineptitude on offense. With about two minutes remaining, BC quarterback Chase Rettig made the most costly turnover of the game when he was intercepted on the Eagles' final possession down 20-13. The Eagles were woeful on third downs (4-of-15), Nevada was faster, more experienced and more athletic, especially in the secondary. BC’s receivers couldn’t get open, the Eagles were stuck in too many third-and-long situations, and the Wolf Pack stifled the run. Because they were confident in their ability to beat the Eagles one-on-one, Nevada didn’t hesitate to bring its safeties down to load the box and dared BC to throw it. Rettig was poised, but inconsistent.
Turning point: On third-and-10 in the third quarter, Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed a 25-yard pass to Virgil Green for the first down on BC's 12-yard line. The play was reviewed and upheld, as officials maintained that Green had possession of the ball when he went down, and the play sustained the drive that put the Wolf Pack ahead 20-10.
Player of the game: Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 192 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 22 yards.
Unsung hero: BC’s linebackers. While the Eagles’ offense was anemic, linebacker Mark Herzlich’s forced fumble led to a touchdown in the first quarter, and linebacker Luke Kuechly returned an interception 31 yards led to set up a field goal, closing the deficit to 17-10. Despite the loss, it was a fitting performance by the defense to end Herzlich's career, as his win over cancer was one of the most inspirational stories in college football.
What Boston College learned: As spectacular as it is, the defense can’t do it all. It might have been enough against unheralded opponents like Duke, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest, but against an explosive team like Nevada, BC has to find a way into the end zone. The Eagles couldn’t have asked any more of their defense, which disrupted the passing lanes, forced three turnovers and made game-changing plays. The offense will have to take another step forward this offseason if it’s going to be a legitimate contender in the Atlantic Division. Nevada’s defense is respectable, but Boston College made the Wolf Pack look like the Steel Curtain.
What it means: The ACC suffered its fifth straight losing season in bowl games, finishing with a 4-5 record. The conference hasn’t finished above .500 since 2005, when it went 5-3. The ACC also finished 0-for-2 against the WAC with losses to Boise State and Nevada.