The 2022 season will be a long one for the Boston College Eagles.
Namely, getting an inexperienced young offensive line to gel. And to be healthy.
The Eagles (0-2) fell apart easily on that side of the ball, falling to the Virginia Tech Hokies 27-10 on Saturday night in Biscburg.
A week after a tough loss to Rutgers, offense is the name of the game for Boston College this week. And found from the entrance.
Boston College Eagles: There are no easy answers
The preview of the night happened immediately on the second play of the game.
Looking for Jaden Williams — locked on him, really — Phil Jurkovec threw an interception. The play never really stood a chance as Williams was forced out of bounds on the way.
Life hasn’t gotten much better since then. Many can point to an inconsistent offensive line, which already featured starter Ozzie Trapillo. The room, if anyone was in there, had very little pressure in the running game. Even when Pat Garrow III picked up a few yards, he did most of the work himself.
The pass defense was good in the first half. There was some pushback, but even as Jurkovec had time to progress, Virginia Tech’s (1-1) secondary was doing a good job of keeping Boston College’s receivers from getting open.
The last two seasons, Boston College has fallen in love with its downfield offense. While Jurkovec is an important part of the game, linemen can benefit from finding shortcuts as they learn. If anything, as they’ve proven on scoring drives, playing in tempo has benefited this team. And the best way to do that is through a series of good runs and finishes.
The problem was, the Eagles played most of the game behind the sticks, often leading to nine 3-and-outs in third-and-long situations. Things went from bad to worse when another offensive lineman, Kevin Klein, went down with an injury in the second half.
In all, Jurkovec was sacked six times, contributing to the team’s four yards on the ground. He finished 15-28 for 135 yards and one touchdown along with an interception.
The Eagles didn’t take a first down until Zay Flowers finally got involved on their 8th drive of the game.
Flowers picked up a first down on a seven-yard fly sweep and then had two receptions for 26 yards on the drive. This reaffirmed how important the receiver is to this offense.
Flowers finished with 4 receptions for 79 yards, while Williams had three catches for 37 yards and the Eagles’ lone touchdown.
The ineffectiveness on offense is troubling, but a stellar effort by the defense kept Boston College in this game.
The Boston College Eagles ‘D’ rose to the occasion
Aside from two big plays, Boston College’s defense played well for most of the game.
The first score for Virginia Tech was a short field goal, though the Eagles couldn’t stop the Hokies on two fourth down conversions.
The first really big play was a 65-yard touchdown run by Keshaun King. In addition, Boston College has shown improvement in their run defense. The Hokies were able to pick up two good runs at key times. But Virginia Tech carried that big run 44 times for 79 yards.
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Virginia Tech’s third touchdown was a 43-yard completion as part of the drive, the only time the Eagles were hurt through the air all night. That drive saw a late fumble on Cam Arnold on a play that forced a Virginia Tech punt.
Still, Boston College’s defense was forced to spend more time on the field. It’s one thing if the reason is because the damage is so fast. It’s another when you get a minute of game time to rest between series.
But for that, the class performed admirably. And as long as he stays healthy, this team is capable of a win or two this season.
Arnold had 12 tackles and Jaylen Blackwell had eight tackles and a sack. Sophomore Bryce Steele added five tackles and a sack.
There is much left to be desired for Boston College in two games this season. The attack seemed to be on the verge of making things happen last week and was crammed with changes. This week was a step back, but all it took was one good game to get things rolling. Hopefully, that’s next week, and the Eagles can turn that into a special run as the season progresses.