It was Friday Night Lights Out at the Heights.
After posting just two wins last season, Boston College matched that total with a lights-out effort in a 24-10 victory Friday night against Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams before an Alumni Stadium crowd of 32,465.
“Obviously it’s great to get a win, it’s great to be 2-0, and it’s great to get our first conference win for our team,’’ said BC coach Steve Addazio, whose team must now prepare for its first road trip of the season next Saturday against Southern Cal. “I’m really proud of our guys, because we came out with the mind-set that we were really going to go out there and empty our drawer a little bit.’’
Senior running back Andre Williams was of the same mind-set. He did not practice after tweaking his hamstring in the 24-14 season-opening win vs. Villanova, then came down with a head cold that left his status uncertain.
“I didn’t know how I was going to feel, especially with having a game on a Friday instead of a Saturday,’’ Williams said.
The 6-foot, 227-pound senior answered the bell and emptied his tank with a career-high 204 yards rushing on 35 carries, scoring on a bullish 2-yard plunge to give BC a 24-7 lead in the third quarter.
“I feel great right now,’’ Williams said. “I’m sure I’ll probably be a little sore tomorrow morning, but right now I’m running on a high of adrenaline.’’
The Eagles, too, were soaring after quarterback Chase Rettig completed 7 of 14 passes for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns, a 26-yard toss to Alex Amidon (5 receptions, 93 yards) and a 22-yard strike to Spiffy Evans. BC had 314 total yards on offense.
“I think it’s awesome to be 2-0,’’ said Rettig, who said his 14 attempts were the fewest he’s had since his freshman year.
“It just gives credit to how hard we’re working, so we just have to continue to work really hard. We get out of it what we put in. The best thing about being 2-0, as Coach is always telling us, is that we have a chance to be 3-0.’’
On both of his scoring tosses, Rettig capitalized after BC’s defense came up with turnovers. It highlighted a night for the defense, which sparked the offense by holding the Demon Deacons to 55 yards rushing, ringing up pair of sacks — giving BC six for the season, which matched last season’s total after two games — and forcing three turnovers, including a fumble recovery and an interception by Bryce Jones.
But the piece de resistance was a pair of brilliant goal-line stands, one before intermission that enabled BC to control a 17-7 lead after the Eagles had a punt blocked, and the other forced the Demon Deacons to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Chad Hedlund with 10:17 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It was amazing,’’ said senior defensive end Kasim Edebali of the goal-line stand at the end of first half. “It’s a Friday night game, the student section was wild and the energy that was going on in the stadium went over us and we were creating energy the whole game. And we got after it and executed a little better on the goal line.’’
BC’s defense wasted little time making its presence felt. On the second play of the game, Price made a bad pitch to Josh Harris. Spenser Rositano recovered at the Demon Deacons’ 27, giving the Eagles a huge scoring opportunity on their first offensive possession.
Two plays later, Rettig found Amidon on a short screen. Amidon made a cut and scampered untouched for a 26-yard touchdown that gave BC a 7-0 lead with 13:37 remaining in the first quarter.
“It was important to start fast,’’ said Amidon, who became the ninth receiver in BC history to go over 2,000 yards, increasing his career total to 2,012 yards to rank eighth on BC’s all-time receiving list.
Receiver Michael Campanaro answered by converting a third-and-9 attempt by hauling in a diving 30-yard grab, which tied the game at 7-7, with 2:48 remaining in the period.
Rettig went to work on the first play of the ensuing possession, lofting a 51-yard spiral to Amidon to the Wake Forest 24.
But the drive bogged down when redshirt freshman fullback Bobby Wolford let an apparent TD pass slip through his fingers.
The Eagles were forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Nate Freese for a 10-7 lead with 48 seconds left before the end of the first.
Then Jones recovered a fumbled pitch at the Deacons’ 22 on the last play of the first quarter.
The Eagles spared little time or energy punching it in. Rettig found Evans in the corner of the end zone to make it 17-7 with 14:55 to go before intermission.
Jones intercepted Price with 1:16 left in the first half, but the Eagles were forced to punt from their 28. But senior nose guard Nikita Whitlock (two sacks) came up the middle and got a piece of Freese’s punt.
BC’s defense stoned the Deacons with a goal-line stand in which Edebali and linebacker Steele Divitto combined to stuff Harris for no gain on a fourth-and-goal from the 1. A review upheld the ruling on the field: no score.
Williams put the game on ice in the fourth, carrying the ball from the BC 32 to the Wake Forest 22 and topping the 200-yard mark in the process. It enabled Rettig to take a knee to seal the verdict.
“The kids are playing hard. The kids are playing together like a team,’’ Addazio said. “They’re fighting hard. They’re doing a lot of good things for Week 2. I thought our team really progressed from Week 1. That’s ultimately the goal, to get better each week. We’ve got a lot of football ahead of us. We’ve got a big game this week and we’ve got a chance to fight to be 3-0.
“That’s all you can ask for.”Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.