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Boston College 51, Colgate 0: The Key Play

What was the most important play of game one?

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

That was about all you could hope to see out of Boston College in game one against an FCS opponent. A big number on offense, a shutout on defense, and there’s your successful scrimmage. Certainly not a perfect day, but not one you’re going to find too much to complain about.

Nonetheless, after a dominating opening drive to go up 7-0, the Eagles kind of sputtered a bit for the rest of the first quarter and into the second. Back to back BC punts after just 4 and 3 plays respectively kept the Raiders in it down a score, and Colgate’s stifling of the much-ballyhooed Boson College offense started to raise an eyebrow or two. The Eagles needed A Moment to get back on track, and boy did they ever get it.

10:50 to play in the 2nd quarter
2nd and 9 at the Boston College 49 yard line
Phil Jurkovec pass 49 yds to Trae Barry — TOUCHDOWN

BC 14, Colgate 0

The point of this column isn’t to ID the “best play” of the game, but the one the was most important to determining the outcome of the game (based on, well, whatever I want). In this case, it just so happens that the best play of the game was also the most important.

The Eagles really needed some kind of spark to get the offense clicking after the two punts, and Trae Barry’s electric hurdle of a defender for the touchdown definitely qualified as one. Aside from the BC O-Line giving the QB all day to throw (a theme throughout the game), the play started with the Colgate defender tasked with tracking Barry getting totally frozen by the eyes of Jurkovec looking downfield.

Number 31 for Colgate above, linebacker Blane Briggs, is playing zone here, and while Barry’s tight end crossing route is coming across mighty quick (it’s kind of hard to catch him come into the frame with the video at full speed), Briggs is still decently reasonably positioned to take care of the play. He might be out of position enough where the catch is still going to be made, but he is at least there to close any lost ground to make some kind of loss-mitigating tackle.

But the problem is that Jurkovec’s not staring down his receiver, so there’s a split second where Briggs has some uncertainty on where the ball is going and it causes him to ever-so-briefly plant his right foot:

It’s truly just a split second, but in that window, Barry just puts him totally dead to rights. Literally just 15 frames later in the video — I counted — Barry finds himself in his own time zone:

Once Barry hauls in the pass, he’s free to roll out a nice tight end rumble downfield until the cornerbacks can close in. From there it’s just your classic DB-goes-low, runner-sees-it-coming clean hurdle of the defender to get to the end zone for the score:

Just well executed all around, especially with the pizzazz at the end, and that put the Eagles up 14-0 and ended any “Why you doing this, BC??” thoughts around Alumni Stadium. The two punts prior to this drive ended up being the Eagles’ only ones of the entire matchup, as BC earned points on every possession for the rest of the game, save for taking a knee in the final seconds.

For sure, the game was never even slightly in doubt. But this was easily the moment where any sort of concern melted away, and we all got the relaxing and enjoyable return to college football we expected to see in this warmup contest.