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Eagles Win Ugly Against Syracuse as Notre Dame Looms

Phil Jurkovec and the Boston College football offense put together an uneven performance on Saturday after a scoring outburst against Clemson a week prior, but the Eagles came away with a 16-13 win over the Syracuse Orange, who sit in the ACC cellar. The win, while ugly, brings Jeff Hafley’s squad to 5-3 with a home game against No. 2 Notre Dame on deck.

Jurkovec managed a pedestrian 209 passing yards and just one touchdown, but a strong performance on the ground from David Bailey helped the Eagles to possess the ball for nearly 40 minutes. Bailey turned in the team’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, tallying 125 yards on 25 carries. Travis Levy served as a good complementary back throughout, adding 73 yards of his own.

Zay Flowers caught Boston College’s only touchdown of the day just seconds before halftime, dragging his feet on an impressive sideline grab to give the Eagles the lead for good. Flowers was the game’s leading receiver, gaining 64 yards on six receptions.

Special teams ailed the Eagles throughout, however, with kicker Aaron Boumerhi missing two field goals to match his previous season-long total. With the second-ranked Fighting Irish up next, BC fans will need to hope that this is just a blip on the radar for the senior kicker.

Hafley’s defense was spectacular on Saturday after last week’s second-half collapse in Death Valley, with linebacker Max Richardson leading the unit with 10 total tackles. Defensive back Jason Maitre, meanwhile, had the game’s only interception, picking off freshman quarterback JaCobian Morgan early in the fourth quarter.

The Orange would force a three-and-out, but a fumble on their next offensive play gave the ball right back to the Eagles, who took a two-score lead on the ensuing field goal. While Syracuse found the end zone on its next drive, tight end Aaron Hackett’s garbage time score was not enough to turn the tide.

Boston College entered this game as a heavy favorite, and while the victory may not have been flashy, Jurkovec can now turn his attention to Notre Dame, his former school. The transfer quarterback has outperformed Fighting Irish starter Ian Book statistically this season, and Saturday’s game at Alumni Stadium should give him the perfect opportunity to make Brian Kelly’s staff regret letting him go.

With Hafley’s first season in Chestnut Hill winding down, a win over Notre Dame this Saturday is likely the last chance for this young team to make a statement, but taking care of business against Syracuse was essential. Now, sitting in the middle of the ACC standings, Boston College has a prime opportunity to continue to move up and clinch bowl eligibility.

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Born and raised in New Jersey, but I’m a Wisconsinite at heart. I talk way too much about the Green Bay Packers, Bruce Springsteen, and It’s Always Sunny.