Boston College Eagles: Comeback season in Massachusetts

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jaden Williams #80 of the Boston College Eagles during the game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field on September 18, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jaden Williams #80 of the Boston College Eagles during the game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field on September 18, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images) /

Three games into the 2021 season, the Boston College Eagles had plenty of reasons to be proud. They were undefeated, yet hadn’t really been tested or had to respond with their backs against the wall.

Go ahead and check both those items off the list after Saturday’s game.

A back-and-forth affair with the Missouri Tigers (2-2) made for an exhilarating game on Saturday. A 56-yard field goal by Missouri at the end of regulation to tie things up could have been demoralizing.

Instead, the Eagles scored first in overtime and, on Missouri’s first play, Brandon Sebastian intercepted the pass to seal a 41-34 overtime victory for Boston College.

For the first time since 2007, the Eagles are 4-0. Sebastian’s interception was one of the few bright spots on defense but the offense more than made up for it with a balanced performance that should not be overlooked.

Boston College Eagles running game back at it

Entering the season, success for Boston College was going to be predicated on a superb passing attack. It was the running game that was going to be needed to make this a complete team.

An injury to quarterback Phil Jurkovec derailed plans slightly but the Eagles have adjusted. As a result — thanks in part to a bruising, talented offensive line — a rejuvenated ground game has emerged.

And Patrick Garwo III has taken full advantage.

Two games after rumbling his way to 160 rushing yards against UMass, Garwo delivered yet again. In a steady performance from the onset, Garwo finished with a career-best 175 yards and two touchdowns.

The first was on a 67-yard run, Garwo’s second touch of the day. His second was on Boston College’s first drive of the second half. The drive took up nearly seven minutes and gave the Eagles their first lead of the day at 24-17.

It was all part of rushing performance that saw Boston College produce 275 yards on the ground. Travis Levy and Alec Sinkfield combined for 68, with Levy scoring the touchdown that put the Eagles up 34-31 with 25 seconds left.

Quarterback Dennis Grosel also had some nice runs, totaling 35 yards on the ground. He was also more efficient this week, completing 18-29 for 175 yards and two scores. Grosel also threw an interception on Boston College’s first play from scrimmage. He had a couple of risky passes later in the game, too, but overall played well.

Zay Flowers had the game-winning score in overtime, finishing with eight catches and 62 yards. True freshman Jaden Williams scored his third touchdown of the season with a seven-yard catch in the second quarter.

The offense wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders, but they controlled the clock and played (mostly) smart football. The defense, however, had its struggles throughout.

A so-so day for Boston College Eagles defense

Missouri came out passing from the get-go, with Tiger quarterback Connor Bazelak completing his first eight passes.

That was the story of the first-half, with Bazelak going 20-26 for 182 yards and a touchdown pass.

Boston College really had no answer for Missouri’s passing game as Bazelak finished with 303 passing yards.  But the secondary also had two huge plays. Along with Sebastian’s overtime pick, an interception was also had by Josh DeBerry, who intercepted Bazelak on Missouri’s first-lay of the second-half.

Sebastian tied for the team lead with seven tackles.

The Eagles were solid against the run, however, allowing Missouri only 88 yards (24 of which came on one carry). The Tigers didn’t run a whole lot — 23 carries — yet Boston College did a nice job in not letting the ground game hurt them.

All told, the defense has room for improvement but when forcing turnovers at key moments happens, some of that other stuff can be forgiven.

Next. Boston College Eagles: 3 players primed for a breakout season. dark

Boston College is off to an outstanding start and can get even better next week. ACC play begins for the Eagles with a much-anticipated matchup at Clemson, who is coming off a loss to N.C. State in two overtimes. Not only is it a statement game for Boston College but a victory could possibly — and hopefully — set them on a path to even better things. Namely, an ACC crown.