PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The drive from Cliffwood, N.J., to Rutgers takes about a half-hour if the traffic’s decent and, when he was growing up there, Anthony Brown imagined suiting up close to home.
“I used to talk to my dad about coming back here and playing all the time when I was younger,” Brown said.
The Scarlet Knights never recruited Brown. Instead, the dual-threat quarterback landed at Boston College. When he saw Rutgers on the schedule, his eyes lit up.
“When I finally saw that we were playing Rutgers this season, just a whole lot of enjoyment, a lot of excitement ran through my body just to come back here and play in front of my family and friends,” Brown said.
The Eagles’ 30-16 win over Rutgers on Saturday at SHI Stadium made Brown’s homecoming that much sweeter.
He completed 13 of 25 passes for 159 yards and ran 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
“Even though we were on the road, it felt like we were at home,” Brown said.
New Jersey has been a hotbed for recruiting under coach Steve Addazio. Brown is one of 19 Eagles from the Garden State.
“We’re very proud to have a big base of New Jersey players on our football team,” Addazio said. “We are a big believer in the five-hour radius. Boston College and New Jersey go hand-in-hand like a glove. It’s very, very important to us and will always be important to us.”
Two years ago, the Eagles agreed to a four-game home-and-home series with the Scarlet Knights that will have the teams face each other again in 2022, 2026, and 2027.
“I think it’s huge for us,” Brown said. “Coming back home, having a pipeline from New Jersey, having a bunch of New Jersey guys on our team, playing in New Jersey and coming out with a huge win, it’s huge for us and it’s huge for recruiting. I always say we need more Jersey guys on our team and hopefully this will boost that.”
Bailey just as tough
The most deflating part for defenses trying to stop Boston College’s ground game is watching AJ Dillon run to the sideline after hammering away, and then having David Bailey step on the field and dish out the same punishment.
Dillon (6 feet, 250 pounds) and Bailey (6-1, 240) are equally bruising backs. They combined for 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns Saturday, pushing their cumulative total for the season to 705 yards and eight scores.
“David is as good of a back as you’re going to find at any other school or anywhere,” Dillon said. “So it’s not really a dropoff when I come in the game or he’s in the game.”
Receiver Zay Flowers left the game in the fourth quarter after catching turf pellets in his eye. It impaired his vision, but shouldn’t affect him going forward . . . The Eagles have won 11 straight games against Rutgers dating to 1994. It was the first meeting between the squads since 2004 . . . This was BC’s first road win against a Big Ten team since it beat Penn State in 2003 . . . Dillon put together back-to-back 150-yard games for the ninth time in his career. His two touchdowns pushed his career total to 30, fourth on BC’s all-time list. The Eagles have picked off at least one pass in 12 straight games. They have 43 interceptions since the start of the 2017 season.
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.