Boston College Eagles: Obstacle of Clemson too high to hurdle

Oct 8, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) runs against Clemson Tigers safety Jalyn Phillips (25) during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) runs against Clemson Tigers safety Jalyn Phillips (25) during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

Depleted, emptying everything on the field, the Boston College Eagles simply didn’t have enough answers on Saturday night.

For one half, the Eagles fought power with power and brought energy to Alumni Stadium for the annual Red Bandana Game. In the end, fifth-ranked Clemson wore the Eagles down, with the Tigers picking up a 31-3 victory.

The effort was there for Boston College for the third-straight year against the Clemson Tigers. The end result wasn’t as heartbreaking as the six-point losses in 2021 and ’20 but the Eagles can hold their heads high in defeat.

Shorthanded on both sides of the ball, Boston College couldn’t quite duplicate their efficiency from last week’s victory and head into a bye week looking to regroup.

Boston College Eagles: Offense low on sparks

Finding much success against a talented Clemson (6-0) defense was already a tall task for the Eagles. Toss in a starting tight end and three running backs sidelined, plus a makeshift offensive line, and the ingredients for disaster were present.

All things considering, and only three points to show for it, things could have gone a lot worse for Boston College (2-4). The Eagles actually had some nice drives, mostly in the first half, and had opportunities to make some noise.

A missed field goal and a blocked field goal did not help matters. If these had been hit, Boston College might have only been down 17-9 and brought different momentum to the game.

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Quarterback Phil Jurkovec was under constant pressure all night. He stood tall and even extended multiple plays to find open receivers. A sack and fumble ended his night early in the fourth quarter; likely a culmination of hard hits and head coach Jeff Hafley not wanting to risk injury to his starting quarterback.

Jurkovec missed a few open chances and had a couple of other passes bounce of receivers hands. He finished 19-40 for 188 yards.

My Eagles game MVP goes to Zay Flowers, who continued to make things happen. He was the favorite receiver of Jurkovec, finishing with 8 caches for 75 yards. Flowers had a nice catch-and-run, highlighted by a fancy juke to evade a defender and get a first down.

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One of the things working for Boston College is finding ways in the game plan to get Flowers the ball. It can be easier said than done, especially with a talent like Flowers, but the coaches continue to be creative.

And, even without George Takacs, Jurkovec was able to spread the ball around. An aspect keeps getting better each week, despite the result this week in the win-loss column.

Defense runs out of steam for Boston College Eagles

A hard-hitting effort by the Boston College defense set the tone for the first-half. Their play was a large reason Clemson only held a 10-3 advantage at the half.

The Clemson Tigers pulled away late but the Eagles held an explosive offense in check most of the evening. Boston College did allow three big pass plays, including a touchdown on Clemson’s first-drive of the third quarter. Considering the attrition in the defensive backfield, things could have been worse.

Boston College was already down CJ Burton and Jalen Cheek entering the game. Two of their best, Elijah Jones and Josh DeBerry, went down during the game and did not return.

Jones was having a nice first-half, twice busting up wide receiver screens. And DeBerry, shifted to corner, was beat on the touchdown but was having a decent game with five tackles. He also had an interception in the first quarter.

True freshman Amari Jackson made his first start and had some key pass break-ups.

Kam Arnold was a force most of the first-half, finishing with eight tackles. He also had one of Boston College’s two sacks. The Eagles also held Clemson to 5-14 on third downs and forced six 3-and-outs.

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Defense continues to be an anchor for the Eagles in 2022. A week off will definitely do this team good, with hopes that many of these injured players will return to the field Oct. 22 at Wake Forest. There’s still a chance to play for a .500 season (or better) and we’ve seen what a fully capable offense can do. Growth is happening, and if health returns, a winning back half of the season is entirely possible.