Colleges

Wake Forest 34, BC 10

Wake Forest turns BC turnovers into blowout win

Chestnut Hill, MA - 9/09/2017 - (1st quarter) Boston College Eagles quarterback Anthony Brown (13) is upended as he is tackled for a 2 yard loss on the play during the first quarter. Boston College Eagles host Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: Julian Benbow, Topic: 10Wake Forest-BC, LOID:8.3.3650146316.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
BC quarterback Anthony Brown is upended for a 2-yard loss during the first quarter Saturday.

Sign up for Globe sports news alerts

Three quarters into their 34-10 loss to Wake Forest, Boston College had sabotaged themselves with four turnovers. And with three costly interceptions, freshman quarterback Anthony Brown was responsible for most of them.

After Brown tried to squeeze in a bad throw to Ben Glines, only to have it hawked by strong safety Jesse Bates III for his third pick, BC coach Steve Addazio decided to put an end to a torturous day.

“It’s just a matter of, you got a young guy where it’s rolling down on him a little bit, you’ve got to give him a breath,” Addazio said. “He got a little flustered and I wanted him to have a breath.”

Advertisement

Brown completed just 11 of 29 passes for 119 yards and a TD.

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

BC’s veterans tried to envelop him in encouragement.

“They just told me to keep going,” Brown said. “Don’t worry about nothing else, just keep going. Worry about the next play.”

But after leading the Eagles to a win Sept. 2 — as just the second quarterback in school history to start a season opener as a freshman — Brown’s Alumni Stadium debut Saturday was the kind of performance that could poke holes in a young player’s confidence.

The Eagles’ four turnovers were their most since Nov. 7, 2015, when Addazio was forced to start walk-on John Fadule and the quarterback threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.

Advertisement

The Demon Deacons (2-0, 1-0 ACC) turned the giveaways into 17 points.

“We just threw ourselves out of the game,” Addazio said. “We would never have been out of that game had we not turned the ball over. Not in a million years. Wasn’t the way it was going to be. But they were unbelievable momentum killers and we paid the price for it.”

Wake Forest’s bench erupts as defensive back Cameron Glenn intercepts a pass in the first quarter.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Wake Forest’s bench erupts as defensive back Cameron Glenn intercepts a pass in the first quarter.

The Eagles’ issues started early.

Late in the first quarter, running back Jon Hilliman took a carry up the middle and was met by Wake free safety Cameron Glenn, who punched the ball loose. Glenn recovered, giving Wake possession at the BC 26.

Wake quickly capitalized, scoring five plays later on a 9-yard pass from John Wolford to Greg Dortch to go up 7-0.

Advertisement

From there, the snowball started.

On BC’s next drive, Brown tried to hit freshman wideout C.J. Lewis over the middle, but Lewis couldn’t hold on to it. Glenn was all over the tip drill, coming up with his second turnover.

The Eagles’ defense managed to force a three-and-out, but on a day when the ground game only mustered 142 yards, BC couldn’t generate any offense.

Meanwhile, Wolford connected on 13 of 19 attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown and rushed 20 times for 92 yards, including a 29-yard burst on a draw play in the second quarter that gave Wake a 14-0 lead.

Feeling their backs against the wall, the Eagles put together an eight-play, 57-yard scoring drive, capped by a 6-yard pass from Brown to Hilliman.

But just when the Eagles thought they had swung some of the momentum their way, they took a gut punch before the half.

Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford (10) runs for a 29-yard score in the second quarter at Alumni Stadium Saturday.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford (10) runs for a 29-yard score in the second quarter at Alumni Stadium Saturday.

On second and 4 with 1:43 left in the half, Brown tried to find Kobay White on a quick in route. His throw was high and behind White, who got his fingertips on it. As the ball helicoptered in the air, Wake cornerback Essang Bassey grabbed it and ran it back for a 30-yard pick-6 that put the Demon Deacons up, 21-7.

“Just better ball placement,” Brown said. “I’ve got to put the ball in a better spot.”

After watching Brown throw another pick in the third, Addazio turned to graduate junior Darius Wade.

“[Brown] looked a little uncomfortable from the get go, and that’s going to happen,” Addazio said. “It didn’t show up last week. It showed up in a little bit of a waterfall. It wasn’t really anything different. It wasn’t because of who we played. It wasn’t like that.”

But going forward, Brown still has the confidence of his coach and teammates.

“It’s college football,” said defensive end Harold Landry. “You’re going to have your bad days, you’re going to have your good days. Today just happened to be a bad day, and he knows that. He knows that we’re behind him. We’ve just got to get back to work — tomorrow.”

.   .   .

BC will have to go the rest of the season without one of its vital leaders and the anchor of its offensive line. Senior center Jon Baker will be forced to sit with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Baker suffered the injury in BC’s opener last week at Northern Illinois.

“He’s a great kid, he’s got a lot of starts, he’s our captain,” Addazio said. “Pretty important piece to the puzzle, especially when you have a freshman quarterback playing. But that’s life and we’ve got to move on.”

Jon Hilliman dives into the end zone in the second quarter for BC's only touchdown.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Jon Hilliman dives into the end zone in the second quarter for BC's only touchdown.

Baker missed spring practice due to shoulder surgery, but was ready once the season opened, taking 91 of the Eagles 92 snaps against Northern Illinois.

Prior to the start of the season, Baker was voted captain along with defensive back Kamrin Moore. Charlie Callinan will fill Baker’s role as captain.

“Obviously it’s tough losing a leader,” said Moore. “It hurts, but we’ve got some young guys that are going to rally and we’re going to fight.”

Replacing Baker on the line will be a more complicated matter.

Freshman Alec Lindstrom filled in for the one play that Baker missed last week, but at just 260 pounds, Lindstrom stood the chance of being overmatched.

Redshirt freshman Shane Leonard, who starred at center at Marshfield High, had been out the past month with what the team listed as an upper-body injury. He returned to practice this week.

Ultimately Addazio called on 300-pound freshman Ben Petrula, who had never played a college game, let alone played center.

His inexperience showed Saturday. In the first quarter, with Brown in the shotgun, he sent a snap sailing past the freshman QB, who had to eat a 24-yard loss.

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.