CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It looked as if the CMU football team had a real chance of securing its first Bowl Subdivision top 25 ranking Saturday against Boston College.
The Chippewas scored first in a defensive first half with 6:09 remaining in the second quarter, when senior kicker Andrew Aguila made a 34-yard field goal. At that point, they had outgained the Eagles 185-62 in offensive yardage.
But after that, Boston College took control.
It scored three touchdowns and a field goal on four consecutive drives spanning from the last minute of the first half into the third quarter. The Eagles won 31-10.
“When we scored, the whole mentality of their football team kind of changed,” said junior linebacker Matt Berning. “Their sense of urgency picked up, being behind in the second quarter, and you could feel them coming out and wanting to score more than we wanted to protect our own end zone.”
CMU earned seven votes in the USA Today Poll after placing one spot outside the top 25 last week. In the Associated Press poll, it received four votes.
The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for CMU (7-2, 5-0 Mid-American Conference). Coach Butch Jones said missed opportunities played a major role.
“Our goal was, coming in, to start fast, and I thought we did that,” he said. “But we had the ball in four different occasions with great field position, and we came away with zero points.”
At halftime, CMU had 14 first downs, while BC had 7. By the end of the third quarter, each team had 15.
“In the second half, I thought Boston College just came out and established the line of scrimmage,” Jones said. “When you’re able to run the football, it opens up so many other avenues with your play action and your drop-back game.”
BC running back Montel Harris finished with 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
“They were able to run the ball on us almost at will, and that can’t happen if you want to win games,” said junior linebacker Nick Bellore. “When you can’t stop the run, that just sets up the pass game, particularly the play-action pass game.”
Back to the MAC
The Chippewas finished 2-2 in their nonconference schedule. Their last three games are conference games, in which they are 5-0.
CMU is the only undefeated team in the MAC West Division.
Jones said the team must put its second loss of the season in perspective.
“We can’t leave our season here in Boston,” he said. “We have all our goals, dreams and aspirations all in front of us.”
The team has a 10-day break before hosting Toledo in a midweek game, 8 p.m. Nov. 11, at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game is on ESPN2.
Senior quarterback Dan LeFevour, who completed 20-of-34 passes for 152 yards and had an interception, battled a migraine throughout the game before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.
Junior Antonio Brown missed most of the second half with turf toe, Jones said.
Senior cornerback Josh Gordy also missed significant action.
Jones said the 10-day break leading up to the game against Toledo has come at the perfect time, and it sets the team up for the rest of the season.
“If we started the season saying we’d be 7-2, undefeated in our conference and three games left, and two out of three are at home, and you’re chasing the championship, I think we’d all say to a man, ‘We’ll take it,’ ” he said.