Through three roller coaster games, the Boston College football team has shown flashes of brilliance and flashes of ineptitude en route to a 1-2 start.
The Eagles lost a winnable game to Northern Illinois in overtime. They barely survived against pesky Holy Cross following a two-hour-plus lightning delay. They then scored 19 unanswered points and nearly stunned No. 3 Florida State but fell in the final seconds after committing their program-record 18th penalty.
It’s been a dizzying and tantalizing season, as the Eagles have at times resembled a team ready to break through and at others one destined for another disappointing season.
They’re as confident as ever after coming so close against FSU and believe that setback will benefit them in the long run.
Here are seven thoughts on the state of the team heading into a key road clash with 3-0 Louisville Saturday:
1. It’s been a wild start.
It’s not your imagination. These games really have been action-packed and unpredictable.
There have been three ties and seven lead changes, and each outcome has been in question until the end.
This is the first time in the program’s 125-year history that the first three games of a season have been decided by 3 points or fewer.
“They’ve been pretty draining games,” coach Jeff Hafley said. “But our guys are fighters. They’re going to stay in it until the end.”
2. Thomas Castellanos is a game-changer.
With the quarterback questions officially in the past, the Eagles are starting to figure out how to maximize Castellanos’s skill set.
Last Saturday, he became just the 22nd quarterback since 1996 to pass for 300 yards and rush for 95 against an Associated Press-ranked opponent.
Castellanos has a distinct flair and fire about him that you can’t teach. He regularly turns plays that appear dead into sizable gains, and it’s clear he has the respect of his teammates and coaches.
It’s important to remember that the sophomore has made only two college starts. His future is bright, and he’s only getting better.
“Every game I’m getting more and more comfortable,” Castellanos said. “It’s just starting to flow.”
3. The penalties have been killers.
Penalties nearly cost the Eagles the game against the Crusaders, and they proved to be insurmountable against the Seminoles.
BC has committed the most penalties in the nation with 38. Sloppiness, boneheaded decisions, and miscommunication have all contributed.
“We’ve just got to clean it up,” Castellanos said. “It can’t happen.”
One reason for optimism: The Eagles posted the third-fewest penalty yards per game (48.5) in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season and the second-fewest (49.7) in 2021.
4. Outside of the penalties, the offensive line has shined.
BC has allowed just three sacks, tied for third-best in the ACC and 20th in the nation. Last season, the Eagles allowed 3.8 per game, which was last in the ACC and third-to-last in the nation.
The starting unit of left tackle Logan Taylor, left guard Kyle Hergel, center Drew Kendall, right guard Christian Mahogany, and right tackle Ozzy Trapilo has helped the Eagles average 168.7 rushing yards per game — a respectable 58th in the nation after they were dead last in 2022 with 63.3.
Castellanos’s shiftiness certainly hasn’t hurt.
“I think they’re getting there,” Hafley said. “There’s certainly big improvement.”
The offense racked up 457 total yards against the Seminoles — its most since a game against Georgia Tech in 2021.
5. Running back Kye Robichaux has emerged.
The Western Kentucky transfer, a big back who runs violently, has made the most of his opportunity.
With Pat Garwo and Alex Broome sidelined, Robichaux stepped into a starting role and racked up 21 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown against FSU. The 6-foot, 216-pound junior has excelled on fourth down in particular, helping BC improve its season success rate to 8 for 9.
Even if Garwo and Broome are healthy, Robichaux has earned the chance to handle the bulk of the carries.
6. Kam Arnold is emerging as a leader defensively.
The senior linebacker is thriving as a defensive leader alongside Elijah Jones, Donovan Ezeiruaku, and Vinny DePalma.
He made 15 tackles in 2020, 61 in 2021, and 74 in 2022, and he already has 22 this season. Arnold posted a game-high nine against FSU, setting the tone early with his physicality and instincts.
“Kam played his best football since he’s been here, in my opinion,” Hafley said.
7. A new member has joined the team.
As the Eagles try to build toward something special, they’ll have an added source of motivation.
BC on Monday signed Nicholas Palamidis, a resilient, charismatic, and inspiring 12-year-old battling a brain tumor. Palamidis joined the Eagles through Team IMPACT and expressed his gratitude in front of a packed house at the Yawkey Athletics Center.
“I’m going to do all my best to be with you guys and give you guys the same honor you guys are giving to me,” Palamidis said. “I’m very, very excited.”
Trevor Hass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.