EVANSTON, Ill. — Boston College was able to contend with Northwestern’s quarterback tag team of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian for most of Saturday’s nonconference game. But the Eagles self-destructed on a key third-quarter drive in falling, 22-13, to the Wildcats.
BC held the lead late in the opening half and never trailed by more than 6 points until Northwestern scored on its final possession.
The Eagles (1-2) squandered their best chance to take command early in the third quarter. Trailing, 12-10, BC moved from midfield into scoring position, but Rolandan Finch’s fumble at the 4-yard line cost the Eagles a chance to regain the lead.
BC’s final chance to rally ended quickly. BC gained possession at its 1-yard line with 3:02 remaining following a punt. Chase Rettig had two overthrows, then had Alex Amidon open on a curl pattern, but the pass was too low.
Northwestern (3-0) took possession at the BC 44 with 2:35 to go. Mike Trumpy gained 11 yards on the second play, then on second and 7 went through the middle on a 27-yard scoring run with 1:37 remaining.
Northwestern took a 12-10 halftime lead, running 54 plays (for 290 yards) to BC’s 27 plays (for 140 yards). Two drives were aided by unnecessary roughness penalties against BC.
Colter led Northwestern on its first two possessions, then was relieved by Siemian. The Eagles were able to stop Colter near the goal line, sacking him for a 7-yard loss on third and 2 from the 16 and holding him to a 1-yard gain on third and 7 from the 5.
Jeff Budzien converted four field goals for Northwestern in the opening half, from 42, 20, 29, and 41 yards, and added a 19-yarder in the third quarter.
A key play on Northwestern’s opening drive was a roughness penalty on BC’s Kevin Pierre-Louis on a third-and-5 play. Budzien ended the drive with a field goal.
BC tied the score on Nate Freese’s 21-yard field goal after failing to convert on third and 4, a Rettig pass going through Amidon’s hands in the end zone.
After Budzien gave Northwestern a 6-3 advantage, the Eagles appeared to be moving into position to tie, but lost 15 yards when Rettig and Andre Williams failed to connect on a pitchout on a third-and-1 play.
Siemian relieved Colter late in the opening quarter, leading the Wildcats on a 12-play scoring drive for a 9-3 advantage with 13:21 remaining in the half. On its next possession, Northwestern went on a 15-play drive, with a 15-yard personal foul penalty on BC’s Nick Clancy giving the Wildcats possession at the 14.
But Siemian lost a fumble on a fourth-and-1 play at the 5 and Northwestern seemed to lose momentum.
The Eagles capitalized on consecutive penalties on Northwestern by putting together a 95-yard scoring drive. Rettig completed two 11-yard passes to Amidon and a 22-yarder to Johnathan Coleman.
Following a timeout, Rettig lofted a pass to Coleman on a post pattern for a 31-yard touchdown, Freese’s extra point kick giving BC a 10-9 lead with 1:38 remaining in the half.
Northwestern stayed with Siemian for its final possession in the half, and he guided them within range for Budzien to make the score 12-10.
Colter returned for Northwestern’s first possession of the third quarter, fumbling on the second play, with BC’s Steele Devitto recovering at the Wildcat 45.
Rettig went for the lead on the next play, but overthrew Amidon in the end zone. Tahj Kimble sparked BC with a 10-yard run on his first carry of the contest and Finch extended the drive with a 7-yard run on fourth and 1. A Rettig-to-Amidon 6-yard pass took BC to the 6, but Finch lost a fumble on the next play.
The Wildcats went 94 yards on a 17-play drive for a 15-10 advantage with 2:50 left in the quarter. BC appeared to have halted the drive when Venric Mark fumbled on an option pitchout on third and 3, but the ball rolled directly to tackle Brandon Vitabile. Colter’s 16-yard run took the ball to the 8. Colter overthrew Christian Jones in the end zone, then was stopped at the 2 on a third-down scramble, leading to Budzien’s fourth field goal.
On the Eagles’ next possession, a Rettig-to-Amidon 34-yard pass took BC to the 33. Rettig then twice threw incomplete to Amidon in the end zone. Freese’s 34-yard field goal cut the deficit to 15-13 10 seconds into the final quarter.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org