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Boston College Film Review: Fourth Quarter

NCAA Football: Boston College at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth quarter aged me by a handful of years but it was worth it in the end. Louisville continued to move the ball well on offense through the ground and air. Micale Cunningham was battling a knee issue so Evan Conley helped lead the offense on the last drive of the game. The defense made just enough plays against a Boston College offense that got their running game going in the second half.


Before last season I predicted Dez Fitzpatrick would take the “Vante Leap”. That’s the big step forward where he would start looking like he was just at a different level than everyone on the field like we saw from DeVante Parker his senior year. That obviously didn’t happen with how the year went but I think we’re seeing glimpses of it now. Dez runs his normal great route (watch how he times it so he gets behind the blitzing linebacker) then he shows something we really haven’t seen yet. Dez makes a guy miss in the open field while running away from a linebacker.

We might all be watching the beginning of Dez’s breakout.


Anthony Johnson comes up with Louisville’s first interception of the year here. He gets the Larry Brown treatment with a throw directly to him but it should be pointed out that he plays this well from the snap. He’s lined up on a running back and he knows he can run with him so he turns his hips and uses the sideline as a pinch. If he’s not there to pick this off, the ball is five yards into the sideline. I have no clue why this ball was even thrown, but Johnson is in position and he makes a nice hands catch to bring it in.


Louisville was holding BC to 3.7 yards per carry before this run. It’s the type of frustrating run where you just exhale loudly after he breaks free. Dillon had a few mini-chunk runs for 7 or so yards earlier in the game but he hadn’t really broken out yet.

On this play BC’s offensive line gets two timely blocks that clear the way for Dillon. Louisville has three guys at the line of scrimmage but all of them are either coming off of a block or get blocked as Dillon arrives. He then gets a bit lucky as he runs into a blocker and then finds a backside lane down the field. Louisville has to feel good about how they defended the run but this is the exact type of play that gets at a defense, mentally.


Sometimes you just tip your hat. BC ran a perfect play here. They finally found some momentum in the run game which meant that Louisville would be selling out to stop it. They had also seen UofL pursue runs all game long without much concern for misdirection. Louisville’s second level guys bite on the straight run as expected and they get a score out of it.

It really shouldn’t go unmentioned that BC executed this play perfectly. Watch how the two offensive linemen that pull get out on their guys and wall them off. They don’t have to make perfect blocks, but they do have to create a lane. They do just that and Travis Levy just uses his speed from there.


Louisville missed a couple of touchdown throws in the first half and they missed a throw here that would have at least been a big play. Tutu Atwell gets single coverage here and he gets a step with an out an up move to the outside. Evan Conley needs to throw this ball out in front of him by about ten more yards at least. If he puts it out there he likely makes an easy catch because the defender is outside of him and the safety wouldn’t likely make up the ground to get there.

This is also played well by the nickel guy for BC. He refuses to let Tutu get outside of him because he knows he has a safety in the middle of the field. It probably doesn’t matter with Tutu’s speed, but he creates the opportunity for his safety to get over to help. That’s pretty good for a guy that didn’t see the field much before this.


We finally got to see something that we saw a lot last year. Two offensive linemen run into each other on this and it allows a completely free run by a linebacker. This is obviously an anomaly but it took me forever to figure out how they let this type of penetration happen. T.J. McCoy and Adonis Boone seem to be blocking to the left with Boone even pulling, which I don’t know that I’ve seen so far this year. Everyone else is blocking to the right.

It was nice to see Javian Hawkins make a guy look silly like he did and he nearly got positive yardage out of this. As rough as this play was, it’s nice that it’s a rarity now.


This is the exact type of play that I expected to see from Yasir Abdullah this year after I watched App State games over the winter. He was an obvious fit for one of the outside linebacker spots but there was some concern about him being able to shed blocks. But the athleticism is there and he could run down plays on the edge with his speed. He’s had to work to get on the field more and he showed out when he finally did.

Abdullah does a good job of not getting too far inside here as he’s the contain man. You can see the moment when he realizes that he has to get outside and make this play. He uses his length well to shed the block and then it’s just him being an athlete. They’ve rotated guys at the “Dog” spot so far this year but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Abdullah out there a lot more now.


This play made me lose it when I watched it live but when I really broke it down, BC called a good play and executed it. This is a play with a natural pick and they run the pick perfectly. You can see the outside receiver run his route right into the path of the corner trying to run this down. It’s a “man beater” play that is almost impossible to cover. Sometimes the other team makes a good play and they deserve credit.


I’ve watched this game a few times now for the posts I’ve done this week and as the week went on I realized that Scott Satterfield called a really great game. He never abandoned the run no matter what the score or time was and he mixed in a bunch of big throws to keep the defense off balance. I think that’s why Hawkins was able to hit this big run late in the game. Most coaches are in full air raid mode with so little time left but Satterfield takes what the defense is giving him here and the offensive line opens a nice running lane for Hawkins. What’s great about it is that he doesn’t actually take that lane but cuts it back to the right instead and finds a massive hole to run through.


Louisville’s players made plenty of mistakes in this game but I’d say this was just as big a mistake by Satterfield. They had run the read option a handful of times in this game and Conley didn’t keep it even when the read said he should have. But with the game nearly in hand, he decides to pull it and it turns into a fumble. Luckily Tyler Haycraft is there to scoop it up.

My issue is that Satterfield shouldn’t even risk this with the option action. Just go with a straight handoff to Hawkins and you’re a bit safer than running the option with a true freshman in his first extended action. He also followed this up with a throw down the field. It was a relatively safe throw but why not just hand it off a couple of times. It’s not like they couldn’t have gashed BC for another big gain and gotten into the endzone.


It’s just nice to watch this again. Also, kudos to Mason King for getting this down after the snap is nearly to his left shoulder.


I loved this call from Bryan Brown. BC needs to score and time is running out. Brown still calls a blitz from the secondary knowing that BC always goes back to the well with their running game. The secondary is still safe with plenty of cushion and there’s a safety deep but bringing that deep blitzer is smart because the line can’t account for him. So you get Khane Pass darting through the line and AJ Dillon can’t even get his momentum going. Then you have a defensive lineman and Abdullah there to clean it all up.