Sports, Football, Top Story, Fall

Virginia Tech Trounces BC As Offensive Line Struggles Persist

There was only so much damage control Boston College football could do after a nightmare first quarter in which the Eagles registered zero points, zero first downs, and just five total yards. 

It didn’t get much better from there. 

While both teams entered Saturday’s matchup coming off tough Week One losses, BC (0–2, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) failed to put the pieces together in Week Two and fell 27–10 to Virginia Tech (1–1, 1–0). With the loss, the Eagles start the season 0–2 for the first time since 2011.

“I don’t want to make this about offense and defense,” head coach Jeff Hafley said. “This isn’t ‘Oh, look at the offense. Oh, look at the defense.’ The defense had good stops, and I thought they fought all the way to the end.” 

After three drives, quarterback Phil Jurkovec had recorded an interception and just five yards on 2-for-6 passing. Jurkovec finished with 135 passing yards and an interception on 53.6 percent passing in the loss.

Even when he had a clean pocket, Jurkovec misread his deep shots, and the game looked more difficult than it had to be. Zay Flowers, who broke 2,000 career receiving yards in Week One, had zero targets until 10 minutes into the second quarter. 

BC’s offensive line struggles continued from Week One. The Hokies’ defense combined for five sacks and 10 total tackles for loss in their trouncing of the Eagles’ inexperienced O-line, which was without left tackle Ozzy Trapilo and right guard Kevin Cline. Trapilo did not appear, and Cline exited before the second half after sustaining an injury. 

“The ball’s gotta come out, or we need to find a way to run the ball and not let Phil get hit like that,” Hafley said. “It can’t happen. I just think it was the time he had, I think guys were in his face. Every time he threw the ball there was a shoulder pad in his chest.” 

BC’s failure to generate offense started on the first drive. Following a Pat Garwo III rush that went for no gain, quarterback Phil Jurkovec threw the ball into tight coverage on the second snap of the game. While Jurkovec intended for the ball to go to Jaden Williams streaking down the right sideline, the ball filtered into the hands of Virginia Tech’s Armani Chatman for an interception. 

Jurkovec said after the game that he saw Williams get jammed at the line of scrimmage, making the pass more difficult to complete, but he decided to give his receiver a chance anyway. 

With the Hokies in prime scoring position after Jurkovec tossed the interception, Virginia Tech transitioned to the run game with Connor Blumrick and Grant Wells for a gain of four yards in two plays, setting up fourth-and-1.

But with the chance to make a stop, Jaiden Woodbey committed a costly error, planting his hands into the neutral zone. Officials called him offsides, handing the Hokies a first-and-goal. 

Then came a domino effect. Between Jurkovec’s interception and Woodbey’s penalty, the Eagles fell into a downward spiral. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, running back Jalen Holston plunged into the end zone behind a heap of linemen, putting the Hokies up 7–0. 

After a 3-and-out on the next offensive drive for the Eagles, Bryce Steele brought the offense back out onto the field after recording a sack.

“We saw everything that we’ve seen in film,” linebacker Kam Arnold said. “We prepare this week for everything that we see on film in the previous game and I thought we were well prepared. I think Bryce [Steele] took a big step today, and we played at a level that we need him to play at. We’ve got good linebackers, and we feel that we all can make a big impact and contribute.”  

The Hokies worked the air through receiver Stephen Gosnell, and Wells finished the game 16-of-25 for 140 yards and a passing touchdown. Virginia Tech running backs Keshawn King and Jalen Holston were just as dominant, working in tandem for 117 yards and a rushing touchdown.

“These guys will fight,” Hafley said. “They’re going through a tough time right now. I don’t think this group’s gonna lay it down. We have a lot of football left to play.”

September 11, 2022