On Saturday night, the Boston College Eagles hosted the Maine Black Bears in Alumni Stadium for a game that was expected to go hugely in favor of Boston College. Both football teams came into the contest at 0-2, looking for their first win of the 2022 season. Boston College defended their home turf and came out with the 38-17 victory over Maine. But an expected blowout turned into a showcase of struggle for BC.
The game started slow, with both teams needing to punt multiple times and struggling to move up field. But Maine capitalized on a shanked BC punt to score the first points to take a 3-0 lead, and BC quickly followed it up with a deep 51-yard bomb to Zay Flowers to make it 7-3. Another pair of TDs by either side quickly turned the first quarter into a shootout, and the Eagles started to take over from there as they scored again to start the 2nd quarter to make it 21-10. BC would never lead by less than 2 scores again.
Despite the solid margin of victory, though, the Eagles struggled to put together any sort of running game and had to resort to deep passes caught by star WR Zay Flowers, WR Jaden Williams, TE George Takacs, and others. Their lead was in question at times, leading by only 14 points for most of the game, and came nowhere near the FCS drubbings of Colgate (51-0) or Richmond (45-13) of recent years. A lack of running game contributed to their inability to run out the clock effectively.
Yikes, this game should not have been so closely contested at times. Some very bad special teams mistakes (a shanked punt and allowing a 75-yard kick return) let Maine be competitive early. Then the BC offense couldn’t get anything going in the second half and let Maine hang around, at one point with the Black Bears driving in the BC redzone while only down 14 points. The game ended with a BC win, which is all that really matters, but the team did absolutely nothing to calm fears that they could finish as badly as 2-10.
The running game and pass protection from the offensive line is still struggling badly. They did a better job against the Black Bears than they did against Rutgers or Virginia Tech, but that’s not saying much. Barely 100 team rushing yards? Against Maine? Phil Jurkovec was also sacked multiple times, including on the first play from scrimmage, and it’s tough to foresee them improving much once competition gets even tougher. FSU, who the Eagles face next weekend, have a better defensive line than any opponent they’ve faced so far. Not to beat a dead horse, but the OL is so obviously this team’s kryptonite. BC can’t compete at a high level as long as the OL is playing this badly.
Despite a few completed long passes, Phil Jurkovec is struggling with placing his deep balls. Deep passes to Jaden Williams in the 1st and 3rd quarters were well underthrown and easily could’ve been picked off by an ACC defense. And multiple times he missed Zay Flowers by several feet over his head. This has been a trend we’ve seen with Jurk since his hand surgery last season as he’s lost a lot of accuracy and control passing downfield. Last season, we thought he was rushed back from injury and would eventually heal up. 3 games into 2022, though, it’s a lot more worrying. It’s a clear deficiency in his game that we’ve seen against Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and now Maine. The top-tier QB play we were expecting this season may not be coming, no matter how good or bad the offensive line is.
Finally, what happened to kicker Connor Lytton? After a very impressive 2021 campaign, he continues to miss easy FGs this season. Just add it to the laundry list of struggles.
Florida State (3-0) is up next week. Boston College (1-2) hasn’t shown much evidence that they’re capable of staying competitive with one of the ACC’s rising teams. With even more injuries to an already depleted offensive line, Phil Jurkovec will be running for his life and the BC running backs won’t fare much better. It may be a very long road before Boston College finds itself in another winnable game.