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BC Wins Close One Over Alabama

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BC Wins Close One Over Alabama

In an entertaining, back-and-forth match, Boston College helds off Alabama 26-20 Friday night in the ACRC Bowl Series at Charlotte, NC.

The game was marked by some exciting back play from BC and hard-nosed work by the 'Bama forwards, and was in doubt until right at the end. 

Alabama led early from a penalty kick from Igancio Guisasola, but it wasn't long until the BC speed exposed some iffy Tide tackling. Always shiftyin Danny Schatzman exposed the Alabama midfield and raced in for a nicely-taken score, and a 7-3 BC lead.

The #24-ranked Alabama squad replied, camping out in the BC end, which they did for long periods of the first half, and finally unleashing center Ross Depperschmidt to make it 8-7. While Alabama looked the stronger in tight, especially in the scrum, BC tried to work the ball from sideline to sideline, and get their smaller but more mobile forwards to tire out the big Tide pack. It worked to a certainl extent and it certainly created holes that, with some missed tackles, allowed BC to score through the backs once more. 14-8 BC led. 

But Alabama showed how good their scrum was soon thereafter. After BC got a scrum five metrrs from their own line, Alabama's pack shoved the Eagles off the ball, walked forward, and then No. 8 Matt Schick picked up and scored.

"It was probably the easiest try I've ever had," said Schick. "Our forwards just gifted it to me."

That made it 15-14 for Alabama. So back came the Eagles, this time through the phases for a try and the lead. 

That 21-15 lead held up as Arkansas did look tired, and being pinned in their own 22 found it difficult to break free. BC made some adjustments in the scrum that settled that part down for a while, just as Alabama's defense shored up somewhat and BC had to work much harder to get through the line.

With time winding down, Alabama finally made their break. Schick made several carries, as did flanker Zach Carmello, and with time almost up, Taylor Carpenter got the ball at pace, cut back, wriggled out of trouble, and scored. Guisasola couldn't make the tough conversion, and BC held a 21-20 lead with time almost up.

From the restart, BC defended, stole the ball in the ruck, and sent it wide for Schatzman to finish it off.

It was a game of many turnovers, often one after another for both teams, and a little wild, but played in a good spirit.

"What we did well was keeping the possession and pounding it, but we weren't able to break through and get those tries," said Schick, who added that his team wasn't used to the chilly, wet weather. "It was just a physocal game all around. It was a game of possession. They did a very good job of getting our lineouts."

"Just getting the ball wide was a big thing for us," said Schatzman. "We have a talented backline, so when we can get the ball into space we can do some things. We needed to work hard to hold onto the ball - it was slippery. They were a hard-hitting team."

"This was a great game for us to play - to play a team we don't normally see," added Schick - a sentiment repeated by BC prop Ben Nathan: "We knew their scrum was going to be good - we had some film on them and their scrum was unbelievable. And we hadn't worked together on our scrum in a while. But we made some adjustments. Playing a team like that is tough, but we were excited. They were great guys out there and we had a good time and after the game they were really gracious."