Eagles kicking themselves after loss

NEW YORK — Boston College had problems in its kicking game all season, and a big one bit the Eagles at the worst possible time Saturday.
BC scored a touchdown on its possession in overtime, but kicker Mike Knoll badly missed the PAT. The left-footed kicker shanked the ball way to the right, which meant that PSU could and did win by scoring a TD and kicking its own PAT.
“We’ve had a lot of difficulties through the year on extra points and field goals,” BC coach Steve Addazio said after Penn State’s 31-30 win.
The Eagles were just 32-of-39 on extra-point kicks this season, with Knoll going 10-of-11. BC also made only five field goals in 12 regular-season games, with Knoll connecting on 2-of-3.
“We started with those issues, and we ended with those issues,” Addazio said of the kicking problems. “It’s my job to get it fixed, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Addazio spent the bulk of his postgame news conference discussing how his program is still in the process of learning how to win close games. The Eagles also lost close ones to Florida State (20-17), Clemson (17-13) and Colorado State (24-21).
“We’ve been in that situation at least three to four times this season with heartbreaking results,” Addazio said.
The coach discussed how the BC program is only in year two of a rebuilding process and how he expects the troubles in tight games to be corrected in the coming years.
“What I said to the team in there was really my takeaway we’ve got a tough team, we’ve got a team that battles,” Addazio said before adding, “We’ve got to learn how to finish and close out these games. …. That’s the next step that our program has to take.”
The Eagles finished 7-6 but played better than that in many ways.
“Our season is a major step forward,” Addazio said. “People picked us at the very bottom of (the ACC).”
The Eagles rely heavily on their running game, and it gave Penn State huge problems Saturday. Boston College ran for 289 yards, the most allowed by a PSU defense that came in leading the nation giving up just 85 yards per game.
Jon Hilliman had runs of 44 and 49 yards and finished with 148 on 25 carries for BC. Quarterback Tyler Murphy also ran for 105 yards on 11 carries.
Boston College was one of the lowest-rated passing teams in the country coming in, averaging just 132 yards per game, and it didn’t even reach that mark as it finished with only 97. Murphy did hit several big passes, though, including a couple of TDs, one in overtime.
“Tyler’s done a great job,” Addazio said. “He’s been a tremendous addition to our program. … Really, really proud of that young man right there.”