Wake Forest 34, Boston College 10: Turnovers haunt Eagles in home opener

Brooks Sutherland
September 09, 2017 - 4:18 pm


The oldest killer in the book.

Saturday, Boston College couldn’t shake the cliché. Three of the team’s four turnovers led to 21 easy points for Wake Forest as the Demon Deacons capitalized on those costly mistakes.

They cruised to win the conference opener 34-10.

“We turned the ball over and you can’t turn the ball over,” said coach Steve Addazio. “Our kids had a great look in their eye. They played hard. Did some good things. I thought they (Wake Forest) played hard. I thought their senior quarterback played exceptional.”

While turnovers exterminated BC (1-1, 0-1 ACC), an inability to sustain drives resulted in a tired defense and a constant call to punter Mike Knoll. Knoll punted six times in the first half alone.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown wasn’t as sharp passing as in BC’s opening win at Northern Illinois. But both of the youngster’s interceptions in the first half appeared to have been avoidable had his receivers made a play on the ball. Brown finished with 119 yards on 11-for-29 passing with one touchdown and three interceptions. His third giveaway, which came in the third quarter, led coach Steve Addazio to make a change and put in backup Darius Wade. Wade then finished with 44 yards on 7-for-12 passing in the game.

“I still have confidence in myself,” Brown said. “I’ve just gotta put my teammates in better position to win.”

Wake Forest’s John Wolford, a four-year starter for the Demon Deacons, imposed his will on the game. He struck the scoreboard first after the teams combined to punt six straight times, when he found Greg Dortch in the back of the end zone late in the first quarter. The score came immediately following a Jon Hilliman fumble, which gave Wake Forest possession at the BC 23.

Wolford then scored on a 29-yard keeper to give the Demon Deacons a 14-0 advantage early in the second. The game took its biggest turn after Brown threw his lone touchdown pass of the day to Hilliman, who scored on his first career TD reception. Hilliman’s score cut the deficit to 14-7 and a three-and-out left the Eagles and Alumni Stadium reeling with momentum.

That momentum was quickly shot down, erased, and flipped on its head when Brown’s pass, which was deflected off of Kobay White’s hands, landed in the arms of Essang Bassey who returned it 30 yards for a score.

“We would have never been out of that game if we didn’t turn the ball over,” Addazio said. “Not in a million years. Wasn’t the way it was going to be. I thought they were unbelievable momentum killers and we paid the price for them.”

In the second half, Wake Forest drilled an early field goal and capitalized on Brown’s third interception to ultimately pull away. The Eagles capped the game off with a 37-yard field goal from Mike Weaver to officially shut the door on the Eagles. Wolford finished with 151 yards on 13-for-19 passing and one touchdown. He also rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries with a TD.

Colton Lichtenberg hit a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter to give BC its only other points in the game. The junior placekicker is now 4-for-4 on the year.

“We’ve got a bright-eyed football team down there,” Addazio said. “I mean that’s a bright-eyed team. They’re upset. They’re mad. They’re bright-eyed. They’ve got a lot of confidence. OK, they really have a lot.

“I was talking to them downstairs and they want to go. They’d just assume, you know, come in this afternoon and watch the tape and get going.”