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BC 45, UMass 28 — The Key Play: Searching For Jurkovec’s Injury

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When did BC’s star QB tweak his throwing hand?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Colgate at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One thing and one thing only matters from this week’s game against UMass: The brutal, heartbreaking, season-altering injury to Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

The win is important, if only to save face since losing to the Minutemen would be an embarrassment we would never get over. But production-wise, score-wise, technique-wise... there’s no getting into the nitty-gritty of the performance. Losing Phil Jurkovec to what looks to possibly be the entire season with a right hand/wrist injury is pretty much all we can take out of this game.

Jurkovec played the entire opening drive for BC and didn’t have a “left the game” moment, so it makes it kind of difficult to pinpoint exactly where he got hurt. There appear to be one of two or three opportunities where his hand may have gotten injured. Let’s take a look.

(Apologies for the videos below that look like they were clipped with a potato, “FloFootball” or whatever it is didn’t have the best stream we’ve ever seen)

1st & 10 at the Boston College 47 yard line
12:03 to play in the 1st quarter

Phil Jurkovec pass complete to Trae Barry for 4 yards to the UMass 49 yard line

This is the third play of the drive and the first one where Jurkovec doesn’t just hand the ball off in the backfield. It looks like this could be where the injury could have happened, or at least where it started.

Jukovec dropped back for a play action and dumped the short pass off quickly to Trae Barry with the UMass blitz on its way. It was a nice play call with Barry wide open in the flat, and while Jurkovec got the pass off quickly, a UMass defender came in down low on the tackle causing Jurkovec to land awkwardly on his upper body. The camera angle isn’t great and neither is the replay (shocker), but you can tell it’s not the nicest fall. And as someone who has personally experienced three broken elbows (Three! I don’t even have three elbows!) from falling on my hands, it’s definitely in the realm of possibility that this is where the initial issue happened.

From that point through the next couple plays, when the camera was on Jurkovec, you kinda-sorta saw him keeping his right hand a little limp, but it could also just have been seeing what you expect to see. Later in the drive it seems like the injury may have been exacerbated.

2nd & 9 at the UMass 41 yard line
9:38 to play in the 1st quarter

Phil Jurkovec pass incomplete to Alec Sinkfield

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3rd & 9 at the UMass 41 yard line
9:32 to play in the 1st quarter

Phil Jurkovec pass complete to Trae Barry for 17 yards to the UMass 24 yard line

After two straight running plays, Jurkovec went back to the pocket on these two plays, and you can see a lot more going on. On the first play, you see that Jurkovec’s hand may have gone into the helmet of the UMass defender on the follow through. This time, you can see Jurkovec flexing his hand much more noticeably between plays.

But he stayed on and dropped back again on the following snap. This time he scrambled right and got off a pass, but again he was hit as he threw and while the camera angle again makes it hard to tell, there was a defender again near the hand as he releases. You do see Jurkovec gripping the football with just his right hand on the scramble before that happens, so that’s what leads me to believe this hit might have been where the injury reached a tipping point.

That was the last dropback Jurkovec had in the drive. The Eagles wrapped things up with six straight rushes from there to find the end zone, taking the ball both literally and figuratively out of Jurkovec’s hands, and Dennis Grosel was under center for the rest of the contest.

I’m sure it’ll probably come out from BC or Phil exactly where and when the hand was injured, but for now this is our best guess. Nonetheless, it’s a crushing blow to the Boston College offense and the team’s hopes for a huge season, and was definitely the only moment that mattered in this matchup.