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

Photo via BC Eagles Athletics

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.”

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

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