Coming off a season-opening loss to Rutgers, the Boston College football team entered a Week 2 showdown with Virginia Tech hoping to get on track and find consistency and an identity.
Instead, the Eagles left Blacksburg, Va., in worse shape than when they arrived.
Boston College turned in a woeful first half Saturday night and couldn’t recover en route to a 27-10 loss at Lane Stadium.
“I know we have a lot of talent, so we’ve just got to live up to that potential,” strong safety Jaiden Woodbey said. “I don’t think we’re doing that right now.”
The game began in disastrous fashion for the Eagles (0-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), as Virginia Tech defensive back Armani Chatman intercepted Phil Jurkovec’s first throw of the night. Jalen Holston scored from 1 yard out three-plus minutes later, helping the Hokies (1-1, 1-0 ACC) take a 7-0 lead with 11:04 left in the first quarter.
William Ross drilled a 49-yard field goal with 48 seconds left in the quarter to make it 10-0, then Keshawn King broke free for a 65-yard rushing touchdown with 14:01 remaining in the half.
The Eagles had minus-6 total yards and minus-14 rushing yards with 4:48 left in the half.
“They were trying to pressure us every chance they could get,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “We didn’t have much time.”
They finally picked up a first down with 4:08 remaining, as Zay Flowers (four catches, 79 yards) fueled a necessary drive late in the quarter. The Hokies denied Flowers early, but eventually he broke free and helped keep BC afloat.
BC’s Connor Lytton nailed a 30-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining to slice Virginia Tech’s lead to 17-3 at the half. The Eagles finished the first half 0 for 8 on third down and had 9 rushing yards and 54 total yards. Their young offensive line struggled once again, and BC looked outmatched in every facet.
Jurkovec said he has faith in the linemen and expects them to improve, but he acknowledged popping up each time after a sack or hit isn’t easy.
“It’s frustrating taking shots, taking hits,” Jurkovec said. “That’s obviously their game plan. It’s what they’re trying to do. You’ve just got to keep moving forward, onto the next play.”
With the disheartening first half behind them, the Eagles responded in the second half to make it a game.
Jurkovec hit Flowers for a 50-yard reception and Jaden Williams for a 17-yard score to trim the deficit to 17-10 with 5:18 left in the third. BC finally had momentum on its side, but it didn’t last long.
Virginia Tech answered with a nine-play, 78-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard TD pass from Grant Wells to Kaleb Smith with 1:23 remaining to extend the margin to 24-10 through three. Ross added a 38-yard field goal with 4:20 to go to seal it.
“We cut the game to a possession, and then we gave it right back,” Hafley said.
The Eagles punted 10 times on the night and finished with 4 rushing yards and 155 total yards.
They played without starting left tackle Ozzy Trapilo and lost right tackle Kevin Cline midway through the game, which made an already bleak situation worse. Several new linemen adjusted as quickly as they could, but it was a daunting task against a stout defensive line.
Pat Garwo, a second-team all-ACC selection who had more than 1,000 yards rushing a season ago, has just 40 through two games. The Hokies sacked Jurkovec five times, and the Eagles consistently found themselves in third-and-long situations. Hafley said it’s on everyone to ensure Jurkovec stays upright.
“We can’t get him hit like that. The ball’s got to come out,” Hafley said. “We have to find a way to run the football. We cannot get Phil hit like that. Cannot. Can’t happen.”
Hafley and his players emphasized the importance of staying united and continuing to improve. It certainly hasn’t been the start they envisioned, but a chance to get back on track at home against Maine next Saturday awaits.
“As a team, we’ve just got to come together,” linebacker Kam Arnold said. “We can’t split off and go separate ways, with everyone pointing fingers. We have to understand this was a team loss.”
Trevor Hass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.