Boston College football scored 31 points across the first two games of the season. It took three quarters against Maine to reach that number thanks to a reignited Phil Jurkovec—who threw for a season-high 320 yards—and an offense that looked the best it has all season.
Both teams entered the night winless, but the Eagles (1–2, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) came out on top in a dominant fashion over Maine (0–3, 0–0 Colonial Athletic) with a 38–17 win.
“I didn’t even know [Jurkovec] threw for over 300 yards until they gave me the stats after the game,” BC head coach Jeff Hafley said. “He just led today. Motivating the O-line, encouraging, … we need that, and that’s the job of a quarterback.”
It took some time to find that offensive rhythm, however. Maine sacked Jurkovec for a seven-yard loss on the very first play of the game, reminding the Eagles of their offensive line struggles. It didn’t help that O-line starters Ozzy Trapilo and Kevin Cline were both out due to injury.
Quick offensive plays were the key in the Eagles’ game plan, taking the pressure off Jurkovec and opening up the field. It worked, as Jurkovec found a darting Zay Flowers in one-on-one coverage for a 51-yard pass, giving the Eagles the first touchdown of the game.
Flowers led BC in receptions and yards, finishing with eight catches for 89 yards, while BC’s offensive line held up better than it has, letting up three sacks compared to last week’s five.
“They played really well and they should be proud of their performance,” Jurkovec said. “It’s something they need to build off, but to feel that taste of glory, … credit to them.”
A big kickoff return from the Black Bears put them on BC’s 35-yard line. A 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Shawn Bowman, who got behind BC’s Jaiden Woodbey in coverage, put the Black Bears ahead 10–7.
With the Eagles down by three, a 53-yard pass to Jaden Williams put the Eagles on Maine’s 2-yard line. Jurkovec found tight end George Takacs wide open on the left side of the end zone to put the Eagles back on top 14–10.
That touchdown gave BC 135 passing yards to finish the first quarter, matching Jurkovec’s total last week against Virginia Tech.
“Me and [Jurkovec] actually worked on the deep ball all practice,” Williams said. “If you saw the first two games, we actually missed them. So for us to get this game, it just shows the progress that we’re making.”
After mustering negative three rushing yards in the first quarter, the Eagles’ run game found a burst of energy when Hafley put freshman running back Alex Broome into the game.
The Eagles totaled 111 net rushing yards—78 more than they had the previous two games combined—on 33 carries with three main rushers: Pat Garwo, Broome, and Cam Barfield.
“I want to be more balanced,” Hafley said. “I want to be able to run the ball, throw the ball, and I want to mix more guys in so they don’t [get] worn out.”
Maine quarterback Joe Fagnano was feeling the Eagles front four all night. Defensive end Marcus Valdez came up big with a sack—the Eagles’ third of the game —late in the second quarter, forcing Maine to punt two plays later.
Garwo punched the ball in from one yard out on the next drive, giving the Eagles a 28–10 lead to end an eight-play, 71-yard drive.
Garwo was the fourth Eagle to reach the end zone, putting on display a far more balanced offense than previous weeks. Seven different Eagles recorded a catch.
“The emphasis for me was getting guys on the field that deserve to play,” Hafley said. “We’ve got good players and if a guy deserves to play we need to get him the ball. I like the way we spread out the ball today.”
Missed opportunities from the Eagles—including a near interception by Elijah Jones and missed field goals from 39 and 28 yards by Connor Lytton—kept Maine within reach down to the wire.
“You go up 21 and make those field goals and you run away with it, and I wish we had been able to do that sooner in the game,” Hafley said. “There were opportunities to put that thing away earlier than we did.”
But the Eagles exhaled in the fourth quarter when their defense stopped Maine on 4th-and-2, forcing a fumble and getting the ball back at their own 9-yard line. A Kam Arnold interception and a 30-yard rushing touchdown from Garwo sealed the win for the Eagles.
“I’m excited to watch the film. It was neat to be around the guys down there in the locker room. They were really excited to get a win, get some confidence and try to get this thing going in the right direction,” Hafley said.