On Saturday night, Boston College and Virginia Tech opened their ACC schedules against each other in Lane Stadium, both trying to avoid a rough 0-2 start. After a game that featured some of the most abysmal offense BC has trotted out since 2015, Virginia Tech prevailed with a final score of 27-10.
The game started about as terribly as it could for BC as QB Phil Jurkovec threw an INT on the 2nd play of the game, leading to a Virginia Tech touchdown. The BC offense continued to sputter following the costly turnover and couldn’t even achieve a first down until less than 4 minutes were left in the first half of the contest. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech did just enough to move the ball downfield against the Eagles’ defense and extended their lead to 10-0, then 17-0. BC finally got something going in their final drive of the first half, converting multiple first downs and eventually settling for a FG to make it 17-3 at half.
BC continued that momentum into the second half, making it 17-10 with their first TD score, but Virginia Tech quickly responded to make it 24-10 on the ensuing drive. The remainder of the game didn’t see much action, with each offense trading wasted possessions. Once Virginia Tech made it 27-10 with about 4 minutes remaining, it was all but over.
Problems on offense
The Boston College offense just looked desperately lost. Their #1 weakness was an inability to establish the run. Down after down, they would send Pat Garwo up the gut only to be met by Virginia Tech defensive linemen immediately. Garwo, their leading RB, was only able to put up 4 yards on the ground. FOUR! Their leading rusher for the game was Zay Flowers with a whopping 7 yards. It’s nothing wrong with Garwo’s running itself necessarily, the inexperienced BC offensive line just could not create any room to run all night. The terrible running game affected the passing game, too, as BC’s receivers were draped in coverage all game and struggled to get open.
Phil Jurkovec also looked bad. Repeatedly, Jurkovec would laser in on his first read, throw wobbly passes, overthrow open receivers downfield, and make decisions 1 or 2 seconds too late. The offense cannot function at its full capacity if the QB is underperforming so drastically compared to the level we’ve seen him at before. Zay Flowers & company can get open all they want, but Jurkovec just hasn’t been able to deliver them the ball. Even on a long pass of the day, 50 yards to Zay Flowers, the ball was heavily underthrown and Flowers had to stop dead in his tracks to catch it.
Resilient, but inconsistent, defense
What might be lost in the mess of this game is the Boston College defense and its resiliency in the face of lopsided odds. They got consistent pressure in the VT backfield, forcing multiple key sacks, and generally held the Virginia Tech offense in check while their team’s offense couldn’t create anything. After the score jumped to 17-0, they went six straight drives keeping the Hokies scoreless. And the points they did give up were often the result of poor field position thanks to the terrible offense.
Now there’s only so much they can do when the BC offense repeatedly gets booted off the field, forcing the BC defense to defend a short field on limited rest. Boston College’s front 7 were outmatched by the Hokies’ running scheme repeatedly, letting up multiple big runs that included a 55-yard dash by Keshawn King.
Excluding the first drive that saw VT starting at the BC 5-yard line after an INT, the Boston College defense let up 20 points in total. Against a bad VT offense, this isn’t an amazing number. But considering the circumstances that the defense was constantly thrown into, it’s respectable enough for a win if the BC offense was anywhere near competent.
Let’s not mince words. This Boston College team does not look like it will reach bowl-eligibility. 5-7 is probably an optimistic prediction. These games against Rutgers and Virginia Tech were supposed to be some of the easiest on their schedule. After what should be a given win against Maine next week, where will the wins come from? The weakest remaining teams on BC’s schedule are UConn, then Duke and Syracuse. Even those ACC teams are at BC’s level or better than the Eagles. Unless there are some drastic, drastic improvements from the offensive line, this BC team will not even approach a winning record. Really, BC OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo should be fired and left in Blacksburg. Even with BC’s OL losses in the offseason, this level of play is unacceptable. It’s that bad.
As always, though, roll Eags.