After opting out of bowl selection one year ago, Boston College football will appear in the 2021 postseason. The Eagles were selected to face East Carolina in the Military Bowl Presented by Peraton and accepted their invitation Saturday afternoon. The game is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 at Navy-Marine Corps in Annapolis, Md.
“The Military Bowl is a terrific way for our team to cap off the season,” BC Athletics Director Pat Kraft said in a release. “It will be a great homecoming for our players from the DMV and it is home to so many of our BC alums. We look forward to a great bowl trip to Washington, D.C. and playing in Annapolis.”
BC became bowl eligible with a win over Georgia Tech on Nov. 13, but with two losses to close out the regular season, the Eagles finished with a 6–6 overall record.
In each of his two seasons at the helm, BC head coach Jeff Hafley clinched a postseason berth, and BC Athletics announced on Monday that he would receive a five-year contract extension. Through two seasons, Hafley’s 12 wins tie him with Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker for second-most wins among head coaches hired in 2020.
Because BC opted out of bowl selection at the conclusion of the 2020 season, the last time BC appeared in a bowl game came in the form of a 38–6 loss to then-No. 21 Cincinnati in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 2, 2020.
“This bowl game is a reward for all the hard work they’ve been through in the last two years,” Hafley said in a press conference Sunday. “We’re going to enjoy it and at the same time we’re going to go to work because we’re going to go to win a football game.”
BC has never faced East Carolina, but the two teams experienced similar success during the 2021 season. The Pirates finished their season 7–5 (5–3 American Athletic) and are 0–1 so far when playing on neutral territory.
Quarterback Holton Ahlers stood out for ECU this season with 3,126 passing yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions. He had help offensively from running back Keaton Mitchell, who racked up 1,132 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
“The first thing I look at is what type of quarterback we’re going to play,” Hafley said. “Looks like he likes to throw the ball. … He’s got a running back who’s had over 1,000 yards. They have a head coach who in the last three years has done a heck of a job defensively. … So it’s a coach and a staff and a team that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”
The Military Bowl will serve as a homecoming for the 13 Eagles from the National Capital Region and is a familiar event for Kraft, as Temple played in the 2019 Military Bowl while Kraft was the school’s athletic director.
“I have the opportunity for my friends and my family to come to the game and support me for my last game,” Travis Levy said on Sunday. “The fact that it’s in Maryland is just such a great opportunity.”
East Carolina set the bowl attendance record at the 2010 Military Bowl with 38,060 fans in attendance at its 51–20 loss to Maryland. BC has never appeared in the Military Bowl.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff