By Kevin J. Stone
Twitter: @kstone06; @MassVarsity
CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College and Kansas made a little history at Alumni Stadium.
The Jayhawks and Eagles met for the first-ever Friday night Atlantic Coast Conference-Big 12 clash, and with the rare setting serving as the backdrop, the atmosphere was electric.
A harvest moon hung in the sky, and things got crazy early as the teams combined for an absurd 623 yards of total offense in the first half, with the oddity of Friday the 13th ever apparent.
And, as college football fans know, when things feel a little off-kilter, few coaches are more comfortable in chaos than Jayhawks coach Les Miles.
BC entered the game as 21-point favorites, but the run defense — or lack thereof — was the story. Miles and Co. had 567 total yards of offense, 329 of them on the ground, and the Jayhawks routed the Eagles 48-24.
"Obviously, I did not do a good enough job getting our team ready to play tonight," said Steve Addazio. "I think we saw a few signs of this last week, (against Richmond), and we just didn't play well enough at all and that's my responsibility."
Entering the season the inexperienced BC defense was under the microscope, and the roof finally caved in after a couple of impressive games to start the year.
Kansas' two-headed monster in the backfield of Khalil Herbert (11 carries, 189 yards, TD) and Pooka Williams (22 carries, 122 yards, TD) led the rushing attack. Quarterback Carter Stanley was very efficient as well, as he completed 20-of-27 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns.
But it was the Jayhawks' ground game that truly hurt the Eagles.
"I just think that we cut guys free in the back end," Addazio said. "We left gaps open in the run game, and couldn't get off the field, and it started early and it didn't stop and, you know, it's my job to make sure that we get that fixed, Taking nothing away from them. I think those backs were dynamic. I said that during the week. I knew they were and I thought they had a good offensive line.
"I'm not shocked that they were going to be explosive like that to be honest with you. What I was shocked about is what had happened the two weeks prior to after I watched the tape this week. Having said that, there's no reason why we should play the way we did on the field today."
While both of the Jayhawks backs were hitting holes hard and making defenders miss with some strong cuts, it was the lack of tackling that was most glaring throughout the night.
"No, that's coachable. That's absolutely coachable," Addazio said when asked if the poor tackling was coachable or just simply an effort thing.
"That's my responsibility to make sure that we tackle better than that. I thought we tackled well in Game 1 (a 35-28 win over Virginia Tech). I thought we had some mixed bag in Game 2 (a 45-13 win over Richmond), and I thought we missed a lot of tackles. I also want to tell you, that's one of the better backs in the country, and the other back is no slouch, either. That doesn't mean we shouldn't tackle them, but it wasn't like those weren't talented guys now, but we need to tackle better.
"But you know, I think we're going to find there's a lot of gap-fit problems. I mean, there's a lot of clean runs. There's some tackling issues. I thought we swarmed to the ball pretty good. We had some big plays. We cut some guys free in the coverage, which were some big plays. You know, little things."
Early on it was all Eagles. Just seven plays into the game a 2-yard touchdown run from AJ Dillon (27 carries, 154 yards with 131 in the first half) helped give BC a 7-0 lead. Two plays later Medhi El-Attrach came down with an interception at the Jayhawks' 28-yard line, but BC had to settle for a 40-yard field goal from Aaron Boumerhi.
After trading punts, Kansas got on the board with an eight-play, 87-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard TD catch from James Sosinski. BC marched back in 10 plays and Brown hit Korab Idrizi from 20 yards out to make it 17-7 after a quarter.
After the Jayhawks cut it to 17-14, the Eagles answered with a 15-play drive that began at their own 12, but BC turned the ball over on downs at the KU 19.
With 3:41 left in the half Kansas took its first lead on a 4-yard touchdown catch by Andrew Parchment, making it 21-17. Once again the Eagles answered, this time with some trickery as Kobay White took a handoff and gave it to CJ Lewis on what appeared to be a reverse. However, Brown snuck out the backside and hauled in a 12-yard TD catch from Lewis to put BC back up 24-21.
The Eagles' defense quickly found itself backed up against its own end zone though as one play after the ensuing kick off Herbert ripped off an 82-yard run down to the Eagle 3-yard line. Two plays later another short TD catch for Parchment gave the Jayhawks a 28-24 lead heading into halftime.
Things didn't get an better for the Eagles early in the second half as Kansas chewed up nearly five minutes and added a 24-yard field goal to make it 31-24. The rushing onslaught continued soon after an Eagle three-and-out as Williams ran one in from 12 yards out, putting the Jayhawks up 38-24 with a little over five minutes left in the third after Herbert did most of the dirty work during the drive.
Another lengthy drive following another BC three-and-out ended with a 30-yard field goal late in the third, putting the Eagles in a 41-24 hole heading to the fourth, and Kansas was ultimately able to close things out in the fourth with a final touchdown late.