NEWTON, Mass. -- The youth movement is officially under way at Boston College.
Because of injuries and ineffective performance, the Eagles have been forced to play more underclassmen (true freshmen, redshirt freshmen and sophomores) than they would like to this season.
Predictably, that has led to some uneven performances. There have been flashes of potential and glaring examples of inexperience.
But in BC's 20-17 win over Maryland on Saturday, a number of youngsters made their marks in a positive fashion.
The first one to get into the action was David Dudeck, who caught a 20-yard pass from Chase Rettig for a touchdown on the Eagles' second offensive snap. After he hauled it in, the true freshman stumbled a little and fell to the turf out of the back of the end zone. It was the first career TD for Dudeck. The 6-foot, 195-pounder acted like he'd been there before, dropping the ball and immediately turning to celebrate with his teammates.
Midway through the second quarter BC brought pressure on Maryland QB Caleb Rowe, and when the freshman tried to get off a pass it was intercepted by defensive end Kieran Borcich. It was the first interception for the redshirt freshman, and flipped the field position battle in BC's favor after Maryland had started the previous two drives in Eagles territory.
Later in the half, Rowe rolled away from more pressure and tried to hit a receiver in the end zone only to have Justin Simmons leap to make the interception. It was the first pick for Simmons, who also made a big play on third down earlier in the half to thwart a Terrapins drive.
"They've been contributors," BC head coach Frank Spaziani said of the youngsters. "We can't say enough about them."
Simmons said defensive backs coach Mike Siravo told his class at the beginning of camp, "We're gonna need you this season, so prepare as if you were a first-string guy."
"And so I mean that's been our mentality, all the freshman, since day one," Simmons said. "Preparing, making the older guys work. Today all we did was put what we're learned in practice and what we've been preparing for in the game."
"The future is bright," Spaziani said. "They can only get better and we can only get better."
Giving a leg up
Spiffy Evans put the Eagles in great position in the first quarter.
The sophomore wide receiver gave BC a short field with a 27-yard return to start the team's first possession and had a 72-yard return to set up another scoring chance on the next possession.
"I felt like I gave us a spark, being able to make something happen once I got the ball in my hands," Evans said.
Evans' 72-yarder was the second longest for BC this season, and the second longest of his career, after only an 82-yard return for a touchdown against Maine.
"He's an explosive guy. That was the buzz before I met him, before he got here," Rettig said of Evans. "He made plays, put us in good field position. Spiff put us in some really good situations."
Odds and ends
The Eagles got another big game from Alex Amidon, who hauled in nine passes for 137 yards. That is his fifth 100-plus yard receiving game of the season, and gives him 943 total yards for the year. That total places Amidon third all-time in the Eagles' record books for a single season. … Linebacker Nick Clancy was credited with three pass breakups on the day, upping his total to seven on the season -- best on the team. … Nate Freese connected on two field goals, and is 12-for-12 on kicks of less than 50 yards this season. Maryland kicker Brad Craddock missed a 36-yard attempt early in the first quarter, pushing it wide left. That miss came back to haunt the Terps in the three-point loss.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.