Boston College continues the ‘ramp up’ of its schedule this week with a matchup on Saturday against Temple.
Week 1 went pretty smoothly, with no real complaints after a 51-0 win.
Week 2? A little more treacherous, with a 45-28 win that heightened fears about some flaws on defense, featured some sloppy penalties, and also saw BC face health concerns with Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers knocked out of the game.
Week 3 will require a step up in performance, as Temple, while no powerhouse, is a step up in quality from UMass. Temple is #119 in the Sagarin rankings, compared to #196 for UMass and #244 for Colgate.
Temple bounced back from a week 1 shellacking at the hand of Rutgers with a nice victory on Saturday at Akron. True freshman Justin Lynch - brother of Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois fame - slotted in at QB for Temple on Saturday, and led the Owls to the 45-24 win. Lynch threw a pair of touchdowns and ran one in.
Boston College has been established as a 16 point favorite by Vegas in the opening lines - so a clear favorite, but a projected much closer game than either of the first two.
Let’s take a look at this week’s storylines.
Boston College at Temple
Saturday, September 18, 2021
12 PM - ESPNU
Temple record: 1-1
All-time BC vs.
UMass Temple record: 29-7-2 (Last meeting: BC 45, Temple 35, September 29, 2018)
- All eyes on Jurkovec (and other health issues). After Zay Flowers was able to return to the UMass game after leaving with injury, all eyes turned to the status of quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Unfortunately, at this point, we don’t know a lot, other than that he was sent for x-rays, and that Jeff Hafley said he “kind of hurt it falling” (though we’ve been unable to find the play).
Since no update was provided yesterday it’s fair to assume we won’t learn anything until Hafley’s next media availability tomorrow afternoon. Obviously, we’ll keep our eyes glued to the news.
BC also has a few other players who missed each of the first two games, and we’ll want to look for updates on them as well.
- The front seven. UMass, despite their offensive woes for years, was able to pretty effectively move the ball in the second half against BC. The Eagles were also unable to get significant pressure on true freshman QB Brady Olson. While you have to imagine BC was going a little vanilla, it still would have been nice to particularly see the front seven impose themselves a bit more and put some pressure on the freshman. Likely facing another freshman QB this week, we’ll see if BC can get more bodies to the QB.
- Cleaning up the mistakes. 11 penalties and a special teams blunder allowed UMass to turn what could have been a laugher into a heartburn-inducing game, and surely this will be a big focus of Jeff Hafley’s practices this week. Beating yourself is a surefire way to let an underdog opponent gain confidence, and cleaning up those mistakes will be key in making sure Saturday’s game goes smoothly.
- The continuing battle for touches in the running game: It looks like BC is going to be able to continually and reliably turn to multiple options in the running game, which is great, but Pat Garwo’s strong performance on Saturday perhaps makes him a clubhouse leader for the Eagles’ featured option. But Levy and Sinkfield played well too, and it’s fair to expect all of them to get plenty of chances to shine - especially if Jurkovec remains out or compromised.
- QB stability?: The Owls have rifled through five different quarterbacks over the past two seasons, but the true freshman Lynch seemed to help them find a winning formula on Saturday. In addition to throwing for two TDs, he also showed poise in helping Temple dig out of a 14-0 deficit on the road. We’ll see how he performs Saturday presuming he once again gets the call against BC.
- Struggles on defense: Last year, Temple allowed 37 points per game and over 400+ yards on average. In their first two games those struggles continued, giving up 61 points to Rutgers and then 24 to Akron. BC will certainly hope to be able to exploit this. The Owls gave up a ton of big plays last season, with opponents averaging over 8 yards per throw last year, and their secondary only came up with two picks.
What to watch for on BCI this week:
We’ll keep an eye out for news on the injury front, take a look at an outsider’s view of the Alumni Stadium game experience, do some more digging into Temple, and also start ramping up toward hockey and basketball season.