When all seemed lost, when a bowl game seemed but a dream, there he was...Phil Jurkovec strolling out of the tunnel at Alumni Stadium like Willis Reed in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals.
There had been talk during the week that Phil Hafley was not going to be rotating QBs but was going to choose one and stick with him. Then there were rumors leading up to kickoff that Phil might be starting but there was no solid confirmation till the Redshirt Junior trotted out for the first series. Jurkovec had been cleared to play last Friday and Hafley and the Eagles have to be congratulated on keeping his return on the QT for a full week.
It was by no means a perfect return for Phil. Jurkovec was 7-13 for 112 yards and he may have thrown an interception but then he recovered the ensuing fumble. After that, Jurkovec followed that play up by taking the ball into the end-zone himself. Jurkovec also had one or two missed throws that gave the impression that he was (understandably) a bit rusty. The stats may not have been eye-popping but it was clear that Phil added another injection of energy into an already amped crowd.
While they weren’t numerous there were a few plays that just made sit back and say, “That is what we’ve been missing all this time.” The touchdown scramble was one but particularly the deep balls to Zay Flowers and Jaelen Gill were plays that BC just hadn’t been capable of making without Jurkovec. That being said it certainly seemed like BC was trying to ease the QB back into the swing of things. Pat Garwo carried the ball 30 times for 116 yards and the Eagles still seemed committed to the ground game.
The BC defense benefit from the early injury to Tech starting QB Braxton Burmeister because Virginia Tech did not test BC much through the air as Burmeister’s replacement, freshman Knox Kadum, went 7-16 for 73 yards. Given BC’s struggles stopping the run, I wondered if the Hokies thought to focus on the run. Either way, BC’s defense did its job and remained stalwart not surrendering the type of big plays they did against Syracuse. The Eagles ability to sustain drives was certainly a boon to their defense as well.
The game itself may not have been all that impressive in the grand scheme of things but all of the excitement stemmed from what the game might mean going forward for the Eagles. Confidence has certainly increased going into matchups with struggling Georgia Tech and Florida State but the matchup with Wake Forest looms large. It is exciting to see what the BC will look like with its leader back in the huddle given that the Eagles’ run game has surpassed preseason expectations. That being said it may not be till the Wake Forest game that we see a fully warmed up Jurkovec. It wouldn’t shock me if BC used a similar gameplan this week, especially since the Yellow Jackets are surrendering around 175 rushing yards per game this season.