CHESTNUT HILL — Steve Addazio was not the least bit surprised in what he saw from Tyler Murphy on the national stage Saturday night against a Top 10 team. Murphy had 191 yards rushing on 13 carries and a game-breaking touchdown run in BC’s shocking 37-31 win over USC Saturday night at Alumni Stadium.

But before the awesome rushing display in the second half, Addazio watched as his read-option quarterback kept his cool in the first half when the Eagles fell behind, 17-6, to the ninth-ranked team in the country.

“€œIt was early in the game when they got up on us,” Murphy said. “Coach always says that we are going to stick to the
game plan, get it to the fourth quarter and win there. So we just kept believing and taking it one play at
a time. There was a lot of football to play. The guys did a good job of putting everything on the line and
fighting to come back.”

When Addazio went to the University of Florida to recruit Murphy, who was leaving the Gators last season with a year left of eligibility, he knew he was getting a mature quarterback who wouldn’t panic when times got tough.

“Yes, this is what I hoped for,” Addazio said. “And I saw it in training camp. He was a great leader for us, just really his demeanor, his energy, his attack of the game plan. We just watched him start to grow and emerge. You saw it in Week 1, you saw it last week and you saw it this week, just taking control of the game.”

“We rushed for 452 yards. They rushed for 20. We had very few penalties. We had one turnover. Tyler Murphy had 191 yards rushing. Tyler Murphy played like a big time player.”

Why is that such a big deal to Addazio?

“When you have a big-time quarterback, that’s what they do, they take control of the game,” Addazio said. “They make the plays that are there to be made. He threw the ball really well, ran the ball really well, practiced this week with a steel resolve really well. Good things happen to good people that work hard and that’s what happened.”

Taking control of the game is exactly what Murphy did in the second half when the Eagles needed it the most. When USC drew to within six points at 30-24 with under five minutes left, BC needed one drive to kill the clock and keep USC at bay. Murphy went one better – he put the game away with a 66-yard sprint on a perfectly-executed read option off the left end.

The touchdown put BC up, 37-24, and Murphy and the Eagles could sense a huge win on the national stage.

“€œIt meant a lot, especially after last week’€™s loss,” Murphy said of the win eight days after getting handled by Pittsburgh. “Coach really challenged us as a team this week and we really went after it. It goes to show that if we really set our minds to something and we play as a team, the sky’€™s the limit. Personally, it’€™s been a long journey. It means a lot to me. It’€™s pretty easy on my part because I have guys who want to work and sacrifice for each other. We really just try to stick together as a team and out-play teams.”

“First of all, he has skills. I knew he could throw it, I knew he could run it, I knew he was a tremendous person. I knew he had the respect of his teammates at Florida. I knew they had deep respect for him, and that’s a starting point because players know. When they respect guys, there’s a reason they respect guys. He had a great respect. So, I knew there was a winner there just waiting for an opportunity. I knew him from when I recruited him and I knew that we were getting an extremely high-character individual that football meant a lot to. I was fortunate I had a history. For me, it was quite easy, really.”

With a win over the ninth-ranked team in the country, expectations will surely rise over the next month, with teams like Maine and Colorado State on deck before they enter the meat of the ACC schedule. And Murphy will be there to keep his teammates on an even kiel.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

CHESTNUT HILL — The Boston College football team came up with the perfect tribute to Welles Crowther and Pete Frates Saturday night.

Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy had No. 9 USC on its heels all night. (Getty Images)

Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy had No. 9 USC on its heels all night. (Getty Images)

CHESTNUT HILL — The Boston College football team came up with the perfect tribute to Welles Crowther and Pete Frates Saturday night.

On an emotional night in which the late Crowther (a 9/11 hero) and Frates (an living international symbol of the fight against ALS) were honored, the Eagles came up with the biggest win of the Steve Addazio era, a shocking 37-31 upset of No. 9 Southern Cal at Alumni Stadium.

The Eagles beat the Trojans badly all night long in the trenches. Midway through the fourth quarter, Boston College ran the ball 54 times for 452 yards while USC had just 20 yards on 29 carries. The 452 yards marks the second-highest rushing total in school history.

While the Eagles were running all over USC, they also got to USC quarterback Cody Kessler for five sacks and minimized the effect of USC’s speedy receiving corps.

Tyler Murphy, the option quarterback who put the game on ice with a 66-yard touchdown read-option run with 3:30 left, finished with 191 carries on just 13 carries.

The Trojans (2-1) came out and did what most everyone expected by dominating the opening quarter.

The ninth-ranked Trojans, who were coming off an emotional 13-10 win at Stanford in the PAC-12 opener, jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a touchdown pass form Cody Kessler and a 52-yard field goal from last week’s hero, Andre Heidari.

Boston College needed just over three minutes to respond with a seven-play, 78-yard drive, capped off by a Tyler Rouse four-yard run to corner of the end zone. Myles Willis had the key play, a 53-yard run on the first play of the drive. The kick failed and BC trailed, 10-6.

USC came right back with a touchdown, as Cody Kessler found Javorius Allen on a wide open screen pass, and Allen raced 51 yards for the score that put the No. 9 Trojans up, 17-6.

Boston College would score the next 21 points and their run game and pass rush would be the keys.

Tailback Jon Hillman scored on a 3-yard run to the right side on the very next drive after the Allen touchdown to cut USC’s lead to 17-13. After forcing a USC punt, the game turned on a fake double reverse on the first play of the next drive. Sherman Alston ran around the left side and raced up field through a field of USC would-be tacklers to put BC up, 20-17, with 1:27 left in the first half.

Hillman added his second touchdown of the night midway through the third quarter, putting BC ahead, 27-17. Joey Launceford added a 25-yard field goal with 7:42 left in the fourth, as BC pushed its lead to 30-17.

With the Trojans in desperation mode, they went to the no-huddle and scored a touchdown when Kessler found Nelson Agholor with 4:32 left, making it 30-24. The Trojans needed just three minutes, 10 seconds to march 75 yard in 10 plays to give themselves a chance. But on the next drive, Murphy ran a perfectly-executed read-option, split two Trojans at the line of scrimmage and was off to the races to make it, 37-24.

USC went 65 yards in nine plays, capped off by Kessler’s fourth touchdown pass of the night, a 14-yard connection with Darreus Rogers with 1:18 remaining. BC’s Shakim Phillips recovered the on-side kick with 1:16 left.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

While the sports world was focused on Ray Rice‘s release, the NCAA announced on Monday that it has restored Penn State’s postseason eligibility, effective immediately. It also announced that Penn State football will be able to return to a full complement of scholarships for the 2015 season.

In July 2012, the NCAA banned Penn State from the postseason for four years and took away 40 scholarships total in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the school’s enabling of his actions.

The NCAA cited Penn State’s “significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity” in its decision to end the ban and return the scholarships. It also said the action is an endorsement of the most recent recommendations made by George Mitchell, the university’s athletics integrity monitor.

“Penn State’s commitment to the integrity of its athletics department and its progress toward meeting the requirements of the Consent Decree are clear,” said Rita Hartung Cheng, who chaired Monday’s executive committee meeting. “We thank Senator Mitchell for his meticulous and exhaustive work over the past two years. Mitchell’s efforts and the dedication of Penn State officials made today’s decisions possible.”

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

CHESTNUT HILL — For most of 2013, it was Andre Williams dishing out the punishment against Boston College opponents.

On Friday night, the tables were turned in a big way as James Conner came to town with the Pittsburgh Panthers and, with the help of a powerful offensive line, ran roughshod over and through the Eagles defense for 213 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers knew what they had in Conner and knew BC had no answers. The Panthers gave it to Conner early and often, to the tune of 35 carries in a 30-20 win over the Eagles at Alumni Stadium.

Afterward, BC head coach Steve Addazio didn’t have to get too deep into football Xs and Os to assess what happened.

“œIt’€™s a real simple equation here,” Addazio began. “In my opinion we couldn’€™t stop the run on defense. We couldn’€™t establish the run on offense. We didn’€™t tackle well on defense. We didn’€™t complete throwing opportunities, and we had numerous ones, on offense.”

With no Andre Williams available to counter, Conner outgained the entire BC rushing collection of five carriers, 213-142. As a matter of fact, the most effective ball carrier for the Eagles was Tyler Murphy, their read option quarterback. He broke away for a 51-yard run in the first quarter, leading to a touchdown. But throw out that run and BC totaled just 91 yards on 33 carries.

Too much Conner and not enough answers from BC, either on defense or on offense.

“€œI knew he would be good,” Addazio said. “None of us had any delusions. He was going to run inside. He’€™s a strong runner. He’€™s a heck of a back. We had to tackle him. We had plenty of opportunities. Schematically, not all of the time, but a lot of the time, we were in position to make those plays and we didn’€™t make those tackles. Missed tackle, missed tackle, missed tackle. You’€™ve got to tackle that guy. You’€™ve got to wrap and drive him.

“We couldn’€™t stop the run. We couldn’€™t establish the run. We couldn’€™t complete the necessary passes which we had great opportunities to do. €œI thought Pitt played a great game. I thought their running back is a heck of a player. I thought their quarterback was pretty competitive. Their running back couldn’€™t be tackled. That’€™s on us. We’€™ve got to do a much better job. He’€™s a heck of a player but we’€™ve also got to do a much, much better job tackling. So we’€™ve got to get back to work and get on the fundamentals here. When we get back into full pads we have to start tackling again. We got away from that because it was a short week. We’€™ve got to go back and tackle, do all the things necessary to develop this football team.”

The compete level and tackling better pick up and pick up quickly as the Eagles host No. 14 USC next Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. Where the Panthers pounded the Eagles, the Trojans traditionally have speed to the outside and deep passing threats to exploit the BC defense that couldn’t tackle Friday night.

“€œI like the way we competed at the end,” Addazio said of Murphy’s touchdown run late that made it 30-20. BC missed a two-point conversion that would’ve made it a one-possession game with 43 seconds left. BC even recovered an onside kick after the final touchdown.

“We kept scratching and fighting. If we had converted the two-point conversion at the end and recover the onside kick it’€™s a one score game. That’€™s great and all that but the body of the game, in my opinion, €œwe knew going into this game that we had to stop the run. We didn’€™t do it. It didn’€™t happen.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College couldn’t quite handle the step up in competition Friday night in their home opener.

Tyler Murphy drops back to pass before connecting on a 48-yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tyler Murphy drops back to pass before connecting on a 48-yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College couldn’t quite handle the step up in competition Friday night in their home opener.

Pittsburgh star tailback James Conner rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries while quarterback Chad Voytik connected on touchdown passes of 15 and five yards to Tyler Boyd to power the Panthers to a 30-20 win over the Eagles at Alumni Stadium in the ACC opener for both teams.

Conner outgained the combined efforts of five Boston College carriers. Murphy

Pittsburgh (2-0, 1-0) took the opening kickoff and marched down to the Boston College 31, where Chris Blewitt connected from 49 yards to stake the Panthers to a 3-0 lead with 11:32 left in the first quarter.

BC quarterback Tyler Murphy, the star of the Week 1 win over UMass, responded with a scoring drive that gave the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) their only lead of the night. The march down the field featured a spectacular read-option run by Murphy of 51 yards down to the Pitt 1. The play was initially ruled a touchdown but as the fireworks went off at Alumni Stadium, the run was reviewed and Murphy was ruled out of bounds one yard shy of the end zone.

Tyler Rouse punched it in on the next play to give the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the opening quarter.

But the Panthers started giving it to their workhorse, sophomore running James Conner. The plan started to play dividends as Conner and the big Panthers offensive line wore down Boston College. Conner finished the first half with 130 yards on 15 carries, 36 yards more than the combined effort of five Eagles’ carriers.

Voytik fired the first of two touchdowns to Boyd just two minutes into the second quarter to give Pittsburgh the lead for good. Boyd made an impressive play on the ball, twisting his body in mid-air and reaching high into the air to bring down the touchdown. Pittsburgh got the ball back with just 1:15 left in the first half and, with the help of a 15-yard horse collar personal foul on Sean Duggan, they drove 80 yards in just 57 seconds, capped by a five-yard strike over the middle from Voytik to Boyd.

The Eagles got the ball to start the second half but were doomed when Murphy’s pass over the middle went off the hands of Dan Crimmins and into the hands Ray Vinopal. Voytik found Boyd for 42 yards on the next drive, putting the ball at the BC 14. Two players later, Conner added his name to the scoresheet as he ran for nine yards off the left side for the touchdown, and a 27-7 Pittsburgh lead.

Boston College showed some fight on the next drive, as Murphy fired a 48-yard pass to a wide open Shakim Phillips for his second TD pass in an Eagles uniform. That score cut the Panthers lead down to 13, 27-14, with 3:28 left in the third quarter.

But Chris Blewitt connected for his third field goal of the night from 41 yards with 9:53 left in the fourth, putting Pittsburgh up, 30-14. Tyler Murphy did manage to drive the Eagles down for a score, capped off on his own 2-yard run with 43 seconds left but the two-point conversion pass to make it a one-score game failed. BC recovered the ensuing on-side kick but could not manage another score. As he was in the win over UMass, Murphy was the leading rusher for Boston College, gaining 92 yards on 16 carries.

The road doesn’t get easier next week as the Eagles host Southern Cal at Alumni Stadium in a nationally televised game on Sept. 13. BC doesn’t return to ACC play until Oct. 11 against North Carolina State. In the interim, BC plays USC, Maine and Colorado State, all at Alumni Stadium.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

New Hampshire goalie Casey DeSmith has been suspended indefinitely from the team after getting arrested over the weekend. According to reports, DeSmith was arrested early Sunday morning following a domestic dispute and was charged with simple assault and resisting arrest.

According to a police report obtained by The New Hampshire, the female victim was “thrown to the ground, jumped on top of and was repeatedly punched and spat upon.” DeSmith appeared to be intoxicated and resisted arrest when confronted by police, according to the report.

“The University of New Hampshire is aware of Casey DeSmith’s arrest,” the school said in a statement. “The university takes the allegations very seriously and will always act to ensure the health and safety of our community. The university will treat this report with the seriousness that it deserves and in a manner consistent with our handling of similar cases involving any UNH student. Consistent with our policies regarding student athletes charged with this type of behavior, Mr. DeSmith has been suspended from the men’s hockey team pending further investigation into the matter.”

DeSmith, a senior, had been the Wildcats’ starting goalie ever since winning the job as a freshman midway through the 2011-12 season. He posted a 20-16-0 record and .920 save percentage last season and was expected to be the team’s full-time starter again this year. With DeSmith’s future with the team now up in the air, the Wildcats are left with junior Jamie Regan (who has played just seven minutes the last two years) and freshman Adam Clark in net.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

FOXBORO — Quarterback Tyler Murphy made a triumphant debut for Boston College Saturday, completing 17-of-24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while rushing 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead Boston College to a 30-7 win over the University of Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium.

“I wanted to come out and take care of the football,” Murphy said afterward. “I realized it wasn’t going to be one of those days. I take what they give us. So I started to take a little shorter routes.”

With UMass dropping eight men back in coverage and taking away the long ball, Murphy began to use his speed to gain the corners and break big runs. Once he started to soften the Minutemen defense at the line and they came closer to the line of scrimmage, Murphy eventually took advantage, firing a 43-yard touchdown to Josh Bordner down the right sideline in the fourth quarter to break the game open.

“I thought I played all right,” Murphy said. “There’s still a lot of room to approve and ways to get better.”

His head coach was a little more exuberant.

“I was extremely proud and excited about Tyler today,” Steve Addazio said. “He managed the game like a veteran big time player.”

The most striking aspect of his debut Saturday is that he came in as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, where he played in nine games last season, starting six and completing 60.5 percent of his passes before injury ended it. The Florida Gators struggled to a disastrous 4-8 season but between the on-field struggles and his injury, he learned how to persevere. Now, those qualities are helping him lead a brand new football team.

“You have to find a way to motivate guys, push guys and get them to buy into the program,” Murphy said. “Letting them feel my presence, letting them know I’m there.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Tyler Murphy and Boston College were just too much for UMass.