Grading the Boston College Defense vs. Pitt

Boston College battled with Pitt last night, escaping with a 31-30 win. The difference maker being a missed extra point by Panthers kicker Alex Kessman in overtime. We’ve broken the game down in many ways, and now it’s time to hand out grades, beginning with the defense.

(Because of COVID-19 this evaluation was done using the network TV feed. There certainly were moments the video missed. We did the best we could to evaluate what was visible. Also for grading: A: Great Game, B:Good Game, C: Average Game D: Below Average F: Poor Game))

Coaching: A-. Tem Lukabu has been drawing up strong defensive schemes all year, and this week was no exception. Kenny Pickett was able to make some big plays, but BC dominated the Pitt rushing attack, holding the Panthers to 101 yards. When Pickett injured his ankle, the defense adjusted throwing the house at him every chance they could. 

Luc Bequette: B- Middle of the defense had a good game, Bequette also had a pass break up when he got his hands up on a pass attempt. It’s been a theme though, other than Marcus Valdez we aren’t seeing much in terms of pass rush from the defensive line. 

Chibueze Onwuka: B. Gets a higher grade because he made a play that saved the game for the Eagles. Pitt had the ball on their own one yard line, and Vincent Davis saw a hole, luckily Onwuka stopped him. Good solid run defense, not much of a factor on the pass rush. 

Max Roberts: A-. Three games, three potentially game changing hits. When he gets going he gives BC a pass rush unlike anyone else on the roster. Have to imagine he is used only in certain packages right now, but if his role grows he could be a bigger factor moving forward.

Brandon Barlow: B+. Has to be the most improved defensive lineman on the team. A sub package defensive end, he has done a really nice job so far this season. Five tackles on Saturday. 

Max Richardson: A. Just another crisp game by the linebacker, had what should have been the game ending sack. Three tackles for loss.

Isaiah McDuffie: C+ Another game with some positive plays and some negatives. On the touchdown from Israel Abanikanda, he looked to be the guy who should have at least slow him down. He had another personal foul, his second in two weeks. 

Elijah Jones: D+. When grading a player sometimes it’s the circumstances that dictate the grade not the actual play. That is the case for Jones. He got called for two questionable pass interference calls, but I think a lot of that has to do with the physical “violent” way the secondary plays. Not a great game for the corner, but I think he could easily bounce back.

Brandon Sebastian: A. Was about to give him an A+, the highest grade, when I looked back over my notes and realized he missed an easy INT. Still, he is the best defensive back out there, and was about as lockdown as it comes. Had a huge third down hit on a wide receiver that jarred the ball loose, and ended the day with SIX pass breakups. 

Josh DeBerry: A. Next to Sebastian, Deberry had the second best day on the defense. Playmaker, who had the lone interception of the game on an underthrown ball. 

Jason Maitre: B+ Doesn’t show up much on the stat sheet, but had a pass breakup. Watching him play, he has really good technique. 

Shittah Sillah: C. Quiet game, not much of a factor in the pass rush, finished the game with a tackle. 

Mike Palmer/Jahmin Muse: C+. Not a game I saw Palmer/Muse make many mistakes, but didn’t see him with a lot of plus plays also. 

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