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RECAP: QB Phil Jurkovec hurt, but Boston College Eagles defeat UMass Minutemen

Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles head coach Jeff Hafley along the sidelines during the first half against the Colgate Raiders at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles head coach Jeff Hafley along the sidelines during the first half against the Colgate Raiders at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec and wide receiver Zay Flowers – Boston College’s two biggest stars – were both banged up, but the Eagles still had enough to defeat host Massachusetts, 45-28, on Saturday afternoon.

Flowers, who injured his left leg, returned. But Jurkovec, who left the game with just 4:09 expired in the first quarter due to a right-wrist injury, did not come back. His status is uncertain.

BC scored two special-teams touchdowns, including on Travis Levy’s kickoff return as he atoned for a costly fumble. In addition, BC’s Patrick Garwo rushed 15 times for 160 yards and tight end Trae Barry had five catches for 98 yards and one TD.

Dennis Grosel, who replaced Jurkovec, completed 11 of 14 pass attempts for 199 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for a score.

BC (2-0) has now won 11 consecutive games in its series against the Minutemen (0-2). The last time UMass beat BC was in 1978.

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The Minutemen haven’t won a game since beating Akron 37-29 on Sept. 28, 2019. Since then, they have lost 13 straight games. Last year, Massachusetts went 0-4 and scored a total of just 12 points.

On Saturday, Massachusetts’ Brady Olson, a true freshman, got his first career start, replacing graduate transfer Tyler Lytle, who is injured. Olson completed 14 of 29 pass attempts for 214 yards and three TDs. He was intercepted twice.

Olson was intercepted on his first pass of the day as cornerback Josh DeBerry got the pick. BC converted that into a 14-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Alex Sinkfield’s 6-yard TD run.

On BC’s next drive, Grosel’s two-yard TD run capped a 68-yard drive.

Massachusetts threatened later in the second quarter, getting a first-and-goal at the BC 2-yard line in what became a 14-play, 68-yard drive. However, BC stuffed UMass on four straight running plays that went for 1 yard, minus-1 yard, 1 yard and minus-6 yards.

Each team scored three touchdowns in a wild third quarter.

Olson’s 56-yard bomb to Rico Arnold got UMass on the board.

BC answered on Levy’s 20-yard TD run.

The Eagles struck again on Grosel’s 44-yard TD toss to Barry.

UMass responded with Rutgers transfer Kay’Ron Adams’ 1-yard TD run. The Minutemen converted after Levy fumbled a punt at his own 1-yard line, recovered by Javon Batten.

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BC scored on special teams as Vinny DePalma’s punt-coverage hit jarred the ball loose from Eric Collins, and Florida State transfer Jaiden Lars-Woodbey pounced on it and brought it back for a 41-yard TD.

Collins made amends for his fumble by scoring on a 15-yard pass from Olson, cutting UMass’ deficit to 35-21 with 1:56 left in the third.

The fourth quarter started with a similar scoring spree. After a BC field goal, UMass’ Ellis Merriweather caught a 14-yard TD pass from Olson, cutting the Minutemen deficit to 38-28 with 9:04 left in the fourth.

But Levy’s 96-yard kickoff return gave BC a 45-28 advantage.

–Field Level Media