Sept. 24 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post

It was just one week and one loss, but Boston College's 30-13 defeat at the hands of Purdue Saturday felt deflating enough for three.

The reason why centers around a few things, not the least of which includes being ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2008. The offense had been steadily cranking out 40-plus points and 500-plus yards per game. The defense, while shaky at times against Wake Forest, was forcing turnovers and negative plays all over the place.

This was a good team that looked the part of its ranking.

But then another Eagles team showed up to West Lafayette, Ind. It was far from the same one.

A lot was made of Purdue being better than its 0-3 record coming in, and the Boilermakers deserve credit for playing how they are truly capable.

Yet, the issue for Boston College is that it did not do the same, and the Eagles need to remember that the best version of itself does not disappear because of Saturday's performance.

It could be easy to forget. Running back AJ Dillon, looking every bit the Heisman contender in his first three games, was bottled up by Purdue's defense all afternoon. Quarterback Anthony Brown, among the best in the nation in passing efficiency to start the year, was picked off four times. BC's defense had no answer for Purdue's superb true freshman Rondale Moore.

Now 3-1, BC still has a schedule chock-full of teams on Purdue's level or way above it. Temple, which comes to Alumni Stadium this week, is not one of them. There will be plenty coming, though, including Miami, Virginia Tech, and Clemson.

That one in the middle lost at Old Dominion Saturday. To say the very least, that is not indicative of how good the Hokies are. Is it possible that Virginia Tech just played a bad game? Yes. Is it possible that the Hokies are not as good as we thought? Yes. Does that mean they are all of a sudden a bad team? Of course not.

And neither are the Eagles, and it's important they have that perspective, too.

Something goes right

Actually, for UMass, a lot of things went right in Saturday's cathartic, 49-31 thrashing of Charlotte in Amherst.

Much the 49ers' damage on offense was done with the outcome well decided. Linebacker Bryton Barr a jaw-dropping 21 tackles, four for loss, and a sack. Quarterback Michael Curtis started in place of the injured Andrew Ford and Ross Comis and played terrific, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another pair.

These are all good things, but what is most important is that this team did not let the avalanche of negative momentum from the last three weeks swarm the rest of its season.

Ohio is up next, and it's the type of game UMass needs to win if it wants to obtain bowl eligibility.

At the very least, the Minutemen are going into that with a healthy mindset.

Big one in Cambridge

You better believe that when the University of Rhode Island comes to Harvard Friday night, you'll get one of the most revealing games of the weekend.

URI is ranked in the FCS top 25, and very deservingly so. Just two weeks ago, the Rams nearly took down UConn.

Harvard has two wins under its belt, but this will easily be the Crimson's toughest test of the young season.

Reigning champ and prohibitive Ivy favorite Yale does not look like a runaway candidate to repeat. This Harvard team, from early returns, is a good step or two above last year's 5-5 unit.

But a win over URI would only push those expectations higher, and one has to think the Crimson know as much.

Chance to rebound

Holy Cross' euphoria from its overtime win over Yale dissipated after this weekend's 34-14 loss to Dartmouth.

The Crusaders get back to Patriot League play when Bucknell visits this week. The Bison have played good competition, but have yet to win a game in four tries. It should the right opponent to come to Worcester before a trip to the University of New Hampshire the following Saturday.

Speaking of Worcester . . .

A quick peek at the Northeast-10 standings shows you three 3-0 teams — New Haven, LIU Post, and Assumption — and everyone else with a 1-2 mark or worse.

So, even though it is early, that gives you a pretty clear picture of how the title race should go down. There will be upsets along the way to be sure, but it isn't wrong to circle those two other teams on Assumption's schedule.

The Greyhounds will have to take care of business along the way, but go back-to-back at New Haven, then at home with LIU Post, on Oct. 20 and 27, respectively.

Pride on the line

The top 25 Division 3 national ranking for Springfield College did not last long thanks to a 45-10 loss at Union. It also did not take long for the Pride to bounce back with maybe their most impressive win of the season.

The opening victory over Western New England might hold that honor in some respects, But Springfield was coming off a tough setback when it visited WPI Saturday.

It was tough sledding. The vaunted Springfield rushing attack did not produce over 4 yards per carry, and the Pride trailed in the fourth quarter.

But a 1-yard Hunter Belzo touchdown run put Springfield ahead for good, and the Pride have officially put the Union loss behind them.

Here come the Hawks

We know that Archbishop Stepinac is probably not as good as the best teams it has fielded recently.

Still, the 42-19 beating Xaverian put on the visitors from New York Saturday felt significant. The Hawks scored a touchdown in all three phases, and pounded Stepinac on the ground with great success. On Xaverian's final touchdown drive, the Hawks were sophomore heavy on offense against Stepinac's first-team defense.

It is early, and we don't know a lot about many of these teams, but we know the Hawks are getting better, and that usually equates to bad news for everyone else on their schedule.

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