Boston College has the third best rushing quarterback in the country and Eagles head coach Jeff Hafley feels that’s too much of a good thing.
BC dual threat signal caller Thomas Castellanos has 512 rushing yards, good for third in FBS by a quarterback, on 98 attempts with seven touchdowns.
Castellanos averages 5.1 yards per carry and 83.3 per game. The sophomore transfer from Central Florida is also one of three quarterbacks in FBS to pass for over 1,000 yards and rush for over 500.
Castellanos enjoyed a career day running the football in BC’s 27-24 win over Army on a bad weather day at West Point on Oct. 7. Castellanos rushed for 142 net yards on 31 carries with four touchdowns.
Hafley is counting on his stable of suddenly healthy tailbacks to take greater control of the rushing duties when the Eagles (3-3, 1-2) confront the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-1) on Saturday (noon) at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“I think we did a good job of that last week and I think our backs had over 120 yards rushing,” said Hafley. “We definitely need to do that. We can’t go into a games thinking were are going to run our quarterback 31 times.
“That I hope was a one-time deal on a rainy day. But you have to rely on your running backs and wideouts and play complementary football. There are going to be games Thomas’ legs are going to carry us and then will be games with our backs.”
Castellanos has elevated the BC running game from the depths of the ACC a year ago. BC was last in the conference and all of FBS in rushing yards, averaging 63.2 per game. After six games this season, with back-to-back wins over Virginia and Army, BC is second in the ACC, averaging 193.7 yards per game.
The Eagles’ 321 net rushing yards at Army did inflate their rushing numbers and there were significant contributions from the running backs. Graduate student Pat Garwo rushed for 111 yards on 14 carries for a 7.9 yards per rush average while Alex Broome added 38 on eight carries.
Garwo notched the fifth 100-yard of his career and has 270 on the season with a touchdown. Transfer Kye Robichuax stepped up when Garwo was injured earlier in the campaign and has registered 218 yards with two touchdowns. All three backs have been helpful to Castellanos on checkdowns and screen passes, combining for 75 yards on 11 receptions with a touchdown.
“We’ve got some big backs and some smaller guys and we are getting healthy there and we have a real good O-line,” said Hafley. “You can see it. The holes have been really big and we have changed up a little more this year.
“There are more gap schemes where we are getting down hill on people. But at the same time, we have the quarterback run element where we can kind of hit you on the edge and pop one in the middle, too. We are going to need our backs. We can’t keep relying on our quarterback running.”