If all we got from the unexpected return of Phil Jurkovec this season was what we got last week against Virginia Tech - effective game management, and a few good enough passes to keep the defense honest while the running backs did most of the legwork - it would have been a nice enough respite after weeks of an offense stuck in neutral.
On Saturday at Georgia Tech, we got much more than that — we got a Phil Jurkovec who not only was slinging the ball around the field like the best of his performances from 2020, but was also running with confidence and energy, picking up key first downs and running for 3 TDs on the ground.
The end result was an electrifying quarterback performance, at a place where electrifying moments out of the QB have been few and far between since 2007.
Particularly jolting was the 12 minute stretch at the end of the second quarter, when Jurkovec led BC to three straight touchdowns to turn a 21-7 deficit into a 28-21 lead at halftime.
Earlier this season, BC had a few games where just a couple minutes of defensive struggles amidst an otherwise outstanding defensive performance was just enough to put the game out of reach. But not this time - not with Jurkovec back.
Right after GT went up 21-7, BC responded quickly and with gusto. Alex Sinkfield was held to two yards on two runs on first and second down, before Phil Jurkovec hit the kind of pass BC had been missing all year - a bomb for Zay Flowers that he hauled in for his second touchdown pass of the game, equalling his total for the entire season to that point.
After that, Jurkovec’s legs took over.
“He’s running with confidence... maybe he needed to break his wrist,” joked Hafley after the game, and while I personally as a fan can say I had fear whenever he charged forward for extra yards, clearly he did not.
An 8 yard touchdown run tied the game for BC on the Eagles’ next possession, and then, after the defense shut down a long GT drive by forcing a turnover on downs, Jurkovec went to work again:
-A 38 yard pass to Williams.
-A 12 yard run.
-And then, a 14-yard dash to the end zone, through traffic. Eagles lead. And what a run it was:
28 points in the first half — from a team that was averaging just a tick over 10 points per game in ACC play prior to Saturay.
Georgia Tech did a better job of limiting explosive plays in the second half, but when things got tight and BC was clinging to a 31-30 lead, BC executed a 10 play, 90 yard drive to chew clock and score a touchdown to extend the lead to 38-30 — capped off by Jurkovec’s 31-yard run, a perfect capstone to an outstanding performance on the ground by BC’s QB.
Jurkovec’s stats ended up pretty good on the day - 13-for-20, 310 yards, 2 TDs passing, plus 71 yards and 3 TDs on the ground. But even those numbers don’t really tell the story about the transformative impact he’s had on the offense after just two games back playing presumably at less than 100%.
Any fear fans may have had that Jurkovec rushed back before he was really ready are surely alleviated now - even if he’s not at full strength, he’s clearly healthy and confident enough to run in to the teeth of the defense, take big hits, and keep making huge plays.
The way Jurkovec has lifted an entire offense that looked completely flat without him is surely doing wonders for his draft stock. But more importantly for BC fans, his performance yesterday shows that he has enough in the tank to give BC a fighting chance in the next two games at home, as BC looks to put their midseason malaise behind them and end this season a little closer to the lofty expectations many of us had before Jurkovec went down in Amherst.