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Game Recap: Pittsburgh 30 Boston College 31 (OT)

The Eagles hang on

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College (3-1) hosted their third consecutive thriller in front of a smattering of cardboard cutouts in an otherwise empty Alumni Stadium, this time pulling out a 31-30 overtime victory against Pittsburgh (3-2). After making an improbable 56 yard game-tying field goal in regulation, Pitt kicker Alex Kessman missed an extra point that would have forced a second overtime.

Boston College took Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense to task. Pitt entered the game allowing just 232.2 yards and 15.0 points per game—the Eagles piled up 229 yards and 17 points in the first half alone. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec finished the day 19 of 35 for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns. All three of those touchdowns went to Zay Flowers, who tallied 6 catches for 162 yards.

Still, it was a sloppy win for BC.

Everything appeared to be clicking on their first drive of the game, as they cruised down the field behind big completions to Hunter Long and CJ Lewis. David Bailey was then stripped inside the Panthers 20, but after a lengthy review, the officials determined that his knee was down before the ball came out, and Aaron Boumerhi made a short field goal to put BC up 3-0.

Pittsburgh then made their way to midfield before BC got a stop on 3rd down. However, on 4th & 8, Tate Haynes inexcusably jumped offsides. Pitt then picked up the first down on 4th & 3, and proceeded to drive all the way down the field. A quarterback sneak by Kenny Pickett put Pitt up 7-3.

BC jumped back ahead in the 2nd quarter when Jurkovec dropped a perfect deep ball on his electric wide receiver Flowers for a 44 yard touchdown (more on those two later). But Pitt answered on the next drive, aided by two pass interference penalties. Pickett found Israel Abanikanda to take a 14-10 lead.

BC responded with a long scoring drive, which threatened to go awry a few times. First, Flowers was wide open in the endzone, but couldn’t haul in a very catchable pass from Jurkovec. Jurkovec picked him up with a lumbering scramble to get the first down on the next play. Then, inside the five, Pat Garwo was stripped as he went to the ground. It looked close, but the replay review upheld the ruling that he was down. After a run on third and goal went nowhere, Jurkovec punched it in from the two. He was initially stopped at the line, but found the strength to hoist his big frame forward to the goal line.

Boston College took a 17-14 into the half, though as Coach Hafley noted on his way to the locker room, it shouldn’t have been that close.

The Eagles came out with guns blazing to start the second half. Zay Flowers again burned the Pitt secondary, and Jurkovec hit him in stride for a 77 yard touchdown pass that staked the Eagles a 10 point cushion.

Each time it looked like BC was poised to pull away, Pitt came up with points. Though they lost their quarterback Pickett to injury on the drive (he would later return), a Vincent Davis 4 yard touchdown rush narrowed the BC lead to 24-21.

Boston College struggled to shake the pesky Panthers in the 4th quarter. A beautiful punt by Grant Carlson pinned Pitt inside their own 1, and three plays later Josh DeBerry came up with an interception to give the Eagles a golden scoring opportunity from the 15.

On 3rd & 8 from the 13, Jurkovec stood still in the pocket for too long, unaware of the defenders around him, and Pitt’s Rashad Weaver simply took the ball out of his hands. But the BC defense came up with another big stop, as DeBerry knocked away a well thrown ball deep down the sideline.

All season, the Boston College defense has tightened up as the game progresses, and tonight’s game was no exception. While the Eagles offense floundered in the 4th quarter, that defensive unit kept picking them up.

A sack by Max Richardson and Max Roberts looked to have Pitt on the ropes, until Alex Kessman knocked in a school record 58 yard field goal to tie the game. Jurkovec moved BC down the field, but Boumerhi couldn’t answer Kessman from 52 yards out, and we were on to overtime.

BC got the ball first, and on third down Jurkovec hooked up with Flowers on a beautifully thrown ball for their third touchdown connection of the game, this time from 25 yards out. Pitt answered with a tough scoring drive of their own, as Pickett all but willed his team into the endzone, capped by a 3 yard pass to Taysir Mack. Alas, it’s a funny game, and the same kicker who was true from 58 blew the extra point to end a wild affair.