The progress has always been measured by small increments. But two games into the 2013 season, the Boston College football team has made tangible gains — certainly a vast improvement over last season’s 2-10 campaign.
With a rousing 24-10 victory over Wake Forest in the teams’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener Friday night before an Alumni Stadium crowd of 32,465, BC improved to 2-0 and matched its ACC win total from last season.
“I think the resounding thing here was that we played hard, we played physical, we played like a team,’’ said coach Steve Addazio.
Senior running back Andre Williams exemplified that toughness and resilience when he rushed 35 times for a career-high 204 yards and a bruising 2-yard TD plunge that gave the Eagles a 24-7 lead in the third quarter.
Having missed practice because a hamstring strain sustained in the season-opening 24-14 victory over Villanova and suffering from a bad head cold, there was some concern about Williams’s availability for the ACC opener.
“Andre knew it was important for him to overcome the hamstring strain that he had and have the night that he had,’’ said Addazio of Williams, who rose to 19th on BC’s all-time rushing list with 1,900 yards. “To his credit, he did it and it was important because the team was counting on him.
“At the end of the week it looked like we had a chance to get him ready to go, but, of course, we didn’t know for how long he’d be able to go. But he went. He finished it out. He gutted it out. That’s important and that’s another step.’’
Williams carried six times for 39 yards on BC’s seven-play, 47-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. He set up his TD plunge with a 21-yard run on third and 2. Williams ran off right tackle, turned upfield, and instead of running out of bounds at the 7 opted to lower his shoulder and bulldoze Wake Forest senior defensive back A.J. Marshall.
“I never want to be the type of back that’s going to run out of bounds,’’ Williams said. “I always want to punish the DBs because the next play it could be play-action and the DBs might be a little fazed and [Alex] Amidon will make a big play.”
Williams’s rushing effort was complemented by the 123-yard passing effort of Chase Rettig, who completed 7 of 14 attempts — “The fewest I’ve had since my freshman year,’’ the senior said —
Both were quick-strike scores that followed Wake Forest turnovers. BC staged a brilliant goal-line stand right before halftime to protect a 17-7 lead.
“If you said to me, you’ve got a chance in Week 2 to have a tough, physical football team on both sides of the ball — resilient and tough — that’s what we would want,’’ Addazio said. “That’s the right way to build the foundation.’’
But Addazio was quick to point out the Eagles are far from being a finished product. There were protection breakdowns Friday that resulted in three sacks, plus a blocked punt and a lack of production from the return unit.
“We’ve got a lot ahead of us right now,’’ Addazio said, pointing toward next Saturday’s nonconference game at Southern Cal.