Senior free safety Justin Simmons was recognized as the winner of the Jay McGillis Memorial Scholarship Award on Saturday, presented annually to the BC defensive back who best exemplifies the team dedication, leadership, and competitive spirit shown by McGillis, who died in 1992 from leukemia.
The award is usually given during the McGillis memorial game held in the spring, but since that event was scuttled this year, Simmons wasn’t recognized until halftime of Saturday’s 76-0 win over Howard at Alumni Stadium. Two former teammates of McGillis at BC, Mike Panos and Steve Marciano, accepted the award on Simmons’s behalf.
“It was such a huge honor,’’ said Simmons, a 6-foot-3-inch, 201-pounder from Stuart, Fla., who led the Eagles in tackles last season with 76. “I talked to Mike Panos, his roommate, about it and how he was an amazing, amazing guy. I talked to Coach [Kevin] Lempa about him, too, because he was here when Jay was here.
“It’s just a huge, humbling experience to be honored with the award. To put my name in the same category of the BC greats who came through, especially under the category of the Jay McGillis Scholarship Award, words can’t express how grateful I am. It just means everything.’’
Getting on the board
A 41-0 first-quarter lead afforded the Eagles to get a number of reserves plenty of live reps.
Troy Flutie’s 10-yard TD toss to fullback Sean Burke gave BC a 62-0 halftime lead. It was the first career TD pass for Flutie, a redshirt freshman, and first scoring catch for Burke, a senior.
“Any time you get on the field, it’s a great experience,’’ said Flutie, who completed 7 of 8 passes (including his first six) for a team-high 88 yards. “It was definitely fun to be able to sit there and throw a little bit. It’s kind of why I came here, to play football.’’
The others who visited the end zone for the first time in their BC careers: sophomore linebacker Connor Strachan, on a 16-yard interception return; freshman quarterback Jeff Smith, who had three scoring runs; and redshirt freshman running back Richard Wilson, on a 7-yard pass from starting quarterback Darius Wade.
“A lot of young guys got a chance to play, which was great,’’ coach Steve Addazio said. “No one got hurt, which was great.’’
Nose for end zone
After scoring on a pair of fourth-quarter runs last week, junior running back Tyler Rouse scored three times in the first half, on runs of 3, 5, and 15 yards. Rouse has a team-leading five TD runs this season, and 10 for his career. “The defense and special teams set us up with short fields and we wanted to take advantage of that,’’ Rouse said . . . Junior running back Myles Willis, who sat out the season opener with mononucleosis, rushed seven times for 77 yards. He went 35 yards on a second-quarter scamper to set up Wade’s TD pass to Wilson . . . BC’s receiving corps was bolstered by the additions of junior Harrison Jackson and freshman Nolan Borgerson to the depth chart. Jackson made a 34-yard catch, the longest of the day . . . Junior linebacker Mike Strizak had the most jarring hit of the day, on Howard wideout Rodney Tyson to cause a first-quarter incompletion . . . BC received sacks from linebacker Steven Daniels, defensive ends Harold Landry and Kevin Kavalec, and defensive tackle Truman Gutapfel. Linebacker Kevin Bletzer forced fumble on a kickoff return that was recovered by Strizak . . . For the second game in a row, BC held its opponents to 7 yards net rushing. “We finished last year second in the nation in rushing defense,’’ noted Daniels. “This year, we’re shooting to be No. 1. Every day we work harder than anyone else in the nation to stop the run.’’Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBVEGA.