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DiMauro: Caustic critiques for a victory at BC? Not here. Not now.



The game had barely ended Saturday when the refuse heap known as “X,” formerly known as Twitter, was awash in caustic critiques for Boston College. Winning wasn’t enough, apparently, for some people who watch a program that had lost 11 of its last 14 – and smarting all week after losing to immortal Northern Illinois.

Critiquing a victory for a program that needed one more than a lung? It’s like having no car and then refusing to drive a free Nissan Sentra because you think you deserve better. I’m thinking: Are these people honestly obtuse, or do they just play as such on social media? Because the idea that anybody who cares about BC football would fail to appreciate a victory these days is at best dabbling in reality.

Straight up: BC 31, Holy Cross 28. There will be no critiques here. It was difficult because Holy Cross entered Saturday having won 19 of its last 21 games. BC had won five of its last 16. As Vince Lombardi said: “Winning is a habit. So is losing.”

Translation: The Holy Cross kids know how to win. The BC kids don’t. And on a day of six personal fouls, a surreal weather delay and the abject fright of losing to your little brother, somebody in the BC program finally made a winning play.

Let the record show that Neto Okpala, who committed a killer personal foul in the fourth quarter that kept a Holy Cross drive alive – a touchdown drive as it turned out – poked the ball free from slithery quarterback Matthew Sluka with 1:10 left. And with Holy Cross driving, too, an occasion to perhaps contemplate gulping Mylanta or Maker’s. Vinny DePalma grabbed the loose football and the people in purple, who contributed to a crowd of more than 40,000 at Alumni Stadium, were left to ponder their ride home.

“I think in my six years here, I’ve seen everything now,” DePalma said. “That was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that. A nutty situation (that) honestly, it got us a little fired up.”

Okpala is the best illustration of how progress should be measured at the moment. A killer penalty oozing with a lack of discipline didn’t discourage him from making the play of the game. Maybe in past years, progress was measured differently here. But not in this program. Not right now. This is not about where BC football SHOULD be. This is about where the Eagles are right now: finding their way.

Holy Cross is a national championship contender in the FCS. BC is bottom 30 in the FBS. Honestly: How much difference in talent is there? Holy Cross defeated its last two FBS opponents, UConn and Buffalo. It’s as much of a compliment to Holy Cross coach Bob Chesney as it is a cautionary tale for BC. But it’s reality.

Jeff Hafley was quite animated after the game. Good for him. It’s about time somebody at BC stepped in front of a camera and said ‘enough.’

“Two weeks in a row we kept teams in the game. It’s not going to work like that. It’s not,” Hafley said. “We will clean that up and we will win games. We’re good up front, we have good skill kids and a good defense. It needs to show.

“I’m thrilled we won. I’m proud of the team. But that stuff (the lack of discipline) is going to end. Hear me loud and clear. We are going to win games.

“Some guys aren’t listening, so they’re not going to play. When we clean this up, and we will, we’re going to be really good. It’s all self-inflicted. No disrespect to that team. That’s a good team. That is not a three-point game if we do that stuff.”

And now we get to see if Hafley can back up his words. But that’s for another day. The overarching theme from perhaps the weirdest day in the history of Alumni Stadium is that kids who have figured out ways to lose figured out a way to win under the worst of circumstances. That is called progress.

This is not Doug Flutie BC anymore. This is not Tom Coughlin BC. Not Matt Ryan BC. This is a program trying to find a light for its way. And they found a glimmer amid the thunder, lightning and purple of Saturday.

“A win’s a win,” DePalma said. “It’s really hard to win games in college football.”

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DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports



If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at or @BCgenius 

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Boston College lineman Kyle Hergel selected 3rd overall in CFL draft



The former Eagles guard was not selected in last week’s NFL draft, but quickly heard his name yesterday in the 2024 CFL draft, going 3rd overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hergel, who spent one year at Boston College after transferring from Texas State. The guard was a huge success in helping transform the offensive line play in 2023, gaining the best PFF pass block grade at Boston College (86.6) with no sacks allowed and two quarterback hits on 402 dropbacks. This was good enough to earn All-ACC honorable mention and a trip to the East-West shrine game.

Recently signing with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2024 NFL draft, Hergel will seemingly look to catch on in the NFL this summer before trekking north of the boarder to play for the Roughriders.

John Pupel gets Patriots rookie camp invite

The former safety will travel to nearby Foxboro, Ma as an invite to Patriots rookie camp. After beginning his college career at Dartmouth, Pupel joined the Eagles in 2022. Starting 11 games last year with 81 tackles, a pack break up and a forced fumble.

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Boston College’s Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany drafted, others signed: Eagles Draft Weekend Recap



It was a rather successful weekend for Boston College in the NFL Draft, as both Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany were taken while guard Kyle Hergel inked a UDFA deal. In addition, longtime and former BC notables Jaelen Gill and Josh DeBerry have received UDFA deals.

Jones – The first Eagle off the board this year, Jones went 90th overall in the third round to the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons but had a big year that shot up his draft stock with a conference-best five interceptions while also defending 13 passes. As a member of the 2018 recruiting class, the corner tallied 60 games at BC and racked up a First-team All-ACC selection this past year.

Jones’ 86.9 defensive PFF grade was the sixth-best in the draft class out of corners and he was the 11th cornerback off the board for the Eagles.

Mahogany – Mahogany sat out of the bowl game and had some noticeable buzz surrounding his name entering the draft, but the guard fell to the sixth round to the Detroit Lions. Mahogany missed most of the 2022 season after an ACL injury but came back fully healthy for 2023, posting the 16th-best total PFF grade out of guards in the draft class.

Mahogany fell further than many, with many projections putting him as a Day 2 pick, but given he’s 24 and his scouting reports present some clear downside, it’s not all that shocking that he fell all the way to the sixth round.

Hergel – Hergel didn’t exactly have any buzz surrounding his name but he managed to grab a UDFA deal with the Saints. He was a four-year starter between North Dakota and Texas State before he was a fifth-year transfer to BC, and he put up a solid enough season to get signed.

DeBerry – DeBerry signed on with the Cowboys, as he transferred to Texas A&M for his fifth year after four seasons with the Eagles. He was a big loss for BC’s secondary, as he started seven games this year for the Aggies and grabbed two interceptions.

Gill – Gill put up huge numbers for Fresno State this past year after three seasons with BC. After an initial start to his career at Ohio State, he transferred to the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season and through three years he put up 1,092 yards. He put up basically half of that in just one year with the Bulldogs, tallying 516 yards on 49 catches and six touchdowns.

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