• Phil Houk

Boston College 101

After a 6-7 campaign a year ago, BC cut loose of head coach Steve Addazio and brought in Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. So far in 2020, Hafley has the Eagles at 5-3. Their losses have been to #12 North Carolina, #23 Virginia Tech and three weeks ago in a close one to Clemson. Last week the Eagles outlasted Syracuse 16-13.

The big story here of course is their transfer Quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Yep, that Phil Jurkovec. A highly regarded high school prospect out of Pittsburgh, Jurkovec struggled to find playing time at ND and after two years at ND, when Ian Book decided to came back for a 5th year, he moved on to perceived greener pastures at BC.

Jurkovec quickly earned a starting job and through 8 games he is completing 62% of his passes, averages 260 yards per game and has thrown 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also is an effective runner (last season at ND he carried 22 times for 130 yards) but has taken a lot of sacks at nearly 3 per game.

While Jurkovec has been good at passing the ball, especially to his top receiver 5-11 Zay Flowers who has caught 38 balls good for 600 yards and 6 TDs, the running game has struggled. 110th out of 117 nationally, good for just 106 yards per game. 6-0, 236 pound David Bailey is a big back who leads the team with 429 yards a 3.9 average and 4 TDs.

BC’s play action pro style attack is 85th in the country in scoring and 91st in total defense.

After a tough 2019, on the defensive side of the ball the Eagles are improved to 38th in the nation in points allowed at 24.6 per game and in total defense at 373 yards. Key players include linebacker Max Richardson who leads the team in tackles and has 3 ½ sacks. Defensive end Maximillian Roberts is a disruptive player with 4.5 sacks and Junior Cornerback Brandon Sebastian leads a talented secondary and has something in common with Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah because against Clemson, he also picked up a Travis Etienne fumble and returned it nearly the length of the field for a score.

BC is one of the leading teams in the nation at forcing turnovers. They have picked off 7 passes, and picked up 7 fumbles. The Eagles also have defended well in the red zone.

Overall, Boston College is one of the worst teams in the nation when it comes to committing penalties, averaging 74.5 negative yards per game.

At 5-3 the Eagles cannot be ignored, they have a history of playing spoiler to the Irish and took Clemson to the mat 2 weeks ago. Jeff Hafley’s defensive background as a coach seems to have had a positive influence on one side of the ball and Phil Jurkovec on the other. The lack of a running game is an obvious factor however which should give Clark Lea an opportunity to effectively scheme against the Eagles.

Vegas Favors the Irish by 13.5, over/under is 49.5. TV coverage on ABC starts at 3:30 South Bend time.

FIP pick: ND 37 Boston College 14

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