The Boston College Eagles (2-0) took to the road for the first time this season. The short bus trip across the state of Massachusetts took them to Amherst and a date with the UMass Minutemen (0-2). For the second straight week, the offense was in mid-season form racking up 471 yards of total offense. However, a key injury changed who was at the controls of this onslaught. Backup quarterback Dennis Grosel came off the bench late in the first quarter and ran the attack very well. He would throw for 199 yards on 11-of-14 passing, with one TD pass and no interceptions. He got help from a running game that went for 221 yards as a team with Pat Garwo accounting for 160 yards on 15 carries. The Eagles were very good on third down going 10-for-13 and in the red zone, they were effective going 3-for-5.
What the coaching staff is not going to like is 11 penalties that resulted in 98 yards. BC took a 14-0 lead with them to the half only to take their collective foot off the gas pedal and barely outscored UMass by a 31-28 margin. The defense, which was strong in their season-opening win against Colegate, was not so much vs the Minutemen. They allowed 335 yards of total offense, 20 first downs, with ten of them through the air. Yes, the defense did get themselves two interceptions but they were unable to get to the quarterback, registering zero sacks for the game. UMass signal-caller Brady Olsen went 14-for-28, 214 yards, and three scores to go along with another 121 yards on the ground. Had the Minutemen played like this for four quarters instead of just two, the outcome could have been very different.
The Eagles also received strong special teams play in this game. Travis Levy returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 96 yards to the house. Jaiden Woobey scooped up a UMass fumble on a punt return and returned it 41 yards for a score late in the third quarter. Being able to score points on special teams can become a big plus for this team going forward. In the end, the pluses outweighed the minuses, and for a team playing on the road for the first time this season, it was not perfect but it was good enough.
The big minus on Saturday was the injury to starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec who left the game late in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury. His status for next week’s game at Temple is up in the air. The good news for the Eagles is they have a capable backup in Grosel who knows the system and how to run it. Still, as this team looks ahead to their road trip to Philadelphia, playing four good quarters will be a requirement if this team is to be 3-0 when next weekend is over. Temple at (1-1), is coming off a 45-24 win vs Arkon. A game where they outscored the Zips 45-10 after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter. WR Randle Jones had a big day with seven catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns. BC’s secondary will need to know where he is at all times. Their attack against Arkon was balanced with 191 yards through the air, and 171 on the ground.
The competition gets a little stiffer for the Eagles, so let’s see how they respond.