My apprehension heading into yesterday’s game against Florida State was validated by the 26-23 loss and in the way the game was lost...for the most part.
While the offense looked impressive against Georgia Tech and the defense made stops when it counted, nothing I saw eased my concerns about the match-up with the Seminoles. I felt, with Wake Forest coming up right after, that the game was a trap game. I knew Florida State was having a down year in 2021 but the thing about Florida State is that no matter how they’re playing on the field during the year, they always have that advantage of recruiting in one of America’s high school football hotbeds. The Seminoles looked like the more athletic team.
A subplot of this season was that the BC offensive line has not quite measured up to its usual high standards and yesterday that came into play, particularly in the first half. The pressure on Jurkovec hampered BC right up until the end as BC’s big QB heaved the last INT while under pressure on the Eagles final fourth down play with 1:42 left to play. The pressure definitely affected Jurkovec who was 10-24 for 148 yards, with one TD through the air, one on the ground, and an interception and the QB never really rebounded after a rough first half.
In fact the first half was, well, rather dreadful. BC struggled in every aspect, defense, offense, and play-calling. The team was just flat and even Hafley acknowledge it in his press conference.
The defense struggling at times is something we’ve become accustomed to - ‘bend but don’t break.’ It is well known that if the defense can’t make one or two stops or big plays its hard for BC to win.
There were some concerns on the offensive side of the ball in terms of game plan and playcalling. Whether it was early in the season where the offense just seemed reluctant to put a gameplan together that played to Dennis Grosel’s strengths or yesterday, with the playcalling on the Eagles’ final drive (see my colleague Joe’s post for a more detailed breakdown), this coaching staff has a few head scratchers this season.
What makes that frustrating is that, clearly Hafley and the other coaches made some adjustments at halftime and the Eagles were almost able to turn it around. The Eagles were flat in the first half but they woke up in the second and played better, which makes the playcalling at the end a bit more frustrating. I wonder if Hafley choose to go more run heavy because of the O-line struggles at protecting Jurkovec.
Florida State may have some great athletes but the second half showed that the Eagles could play with them. Florida State are playing for bowl game eligibility and played like a team backed into a corner and BC was not ready for that. As far as Wake Forest is concerned maybe this game will motivate the Eagles to redeem themselves or maybe the season finale will be even more challenging than we had previously thought. My impression is that BC will have to play their best game of the season in order to defeat the Demon Deacons.