On Saturday night, Boston College and Virginia Tech opened their ACC schedules against each other at Lane Stadium, both trying to avoid a rough 0-2 start. After a game that featured some of BC’s most torturous running offense since 2015, Virginia Tech prevailed by a final score of 27-10.
The game started about as horribly as it could for BC as QB Phil Jurkovec threw an INT on the second play of the game, leading to a Virginia Tech punt. The BC offense continued to sputter after the costly turnover and couldn’t even get a first down until less than 4 minutes remained in the first half. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech did enough to move the ball down the field against the Eagles’ defense and extended their lead to 10-0, then 17-0. BC finally got something going on their final drive of the half, converting a couple of first downs and eventually settling for a FG to make it 17-3 at the half.
BC continued that momentum in the second half, making it 17-10 with their first TD score, but Virginia Tech quickly answered to make it 24-10 on the ensuing drive. The remainder of the game didn’t see much action, with each offense trading lost possessions. After Virginia Tech made it 27-10 with about 4 minutes left, it was all over.
Problems on offense
Boston College’s offense just looked desperately lost. Their #1 weakness was an inability to establish the run. Downfield, they would send Pat Garwo all the way to the gut only to be met right back by Virginia Tech’s defensive linemen. Garwo, their primary RB, was only able to pick up 4 yards on the ground. FOUR! Their leading rusher for the game was Zay Flowers with 7 yards. Nothing wrong with Garwo’s own running necessarily, BC’s inexperienced offensive line just couldn’t create any room to run all night. The terrible running game affected the passing game as well, as BC’s receivers were covered all game and struggled to get open.
Even Phil Jurkovec looked bad. Repeatedly, Jurkovec lasered in on his first read, threw shaky passes, knocked open receivers downfield and made decisions 1 or 2 seconds too late. The offense can’t function at its full capacity if the QB is underperforming so drastically compared to the level we’ve seen before. Zay Flowers and company can get open all they want, but Jurkovec just hasn’t been able to get them the ball. Even on a long pass of the day, 50 yards to Zay Flowers, the ball dropped too far and Flowers had to stop dead in his tracks to catch it.
Elastic but inconsistent protection
What might get lost in the shuffle of this game is Boston College’s defense and its resilience in the face of lopsided odds. They got constant pressure in the VT backfield, forcing numerous key sacks and generally kept Virginia Tech’s offense in check while their offense couldn’t get anything going. After the score jumped to 17-0, they went on six straight drives holding the Hokies scoreless. And the points they dropped were often the result of poor field position thanks to a terrible attack.
Now there’s only so much they can do when the BC offense repeatedly starts outfield, forcing the BC defense to defend a short field with limited rest. Boston College’s front 7 was overwhelmed by the Hokies’ running scheme repeatedly, allowing numerous big runs that included a 55-yard run by Keshawn King.
Excluding the first drive that saw VT start at the BC 5-yard line after an INT, Boston College’s defense managed 20 total points. Against a bad VT offense, that’s not an amazing number. But considering the circumstances the defense was repeatedly thrown into, it’s pretty respectable for a win if the BC offense was anywhere near competent.
Let’s not mince words. This Boston College team doesn’t look like it will reach bowl eligibility. 5-7 is probably an optimistic forecast. Those 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 teams left on BC’s schedule are Duke and Syracuse, and even those 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 won’t even come close to a winning record. Really, BC OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo should be fired and left in Blacksburg. Even with BC’s OL losses this offseason, this level of play is unacceptable. It’s so bad.
As always, though, roll Eags.