With a satisfying win in its last home game of the season, Boston College (6-4, 5-4 ACC) is now only one game away from its first winning record in the ACC since 2009. The Eagles took down Louisville with a 34-27 score.
Louisville (3-7, 2-7 ACC), led by junior quarterback Malik Cunningham, was coming off a 30-0 win against Syracuse last week, despite three first-half turnovers. This Saturday, turnovers continued to be its Achilles heel.
Their first of three came in the first quarter when Tutu Atwell caught a pass down the middle on a post route around the 50-yard line. He was looking at a massive gain, but instead, untouched, he dropped the ball shortly after catching it, and it was recovered by Deon Jones.
BC was able to make it into the endzone following the takeaway. Zay Flowers put the Eagles in the red zone, beating zone coverage on a great diving catch for 21-yards across the middle.
Two plays later, David Bailey scored his first of two touchdowns, an eight-yard run pushed over the endzone by BC’s offensive line.
Louisville was finally able to put something together in the second quarter, when quarterback Malik Cunnigham broke away for a series of 18, 19, and 22-yard runs in short succession, during the last of which he injured his non-throwing hand. He only missed the next snap, however, Jalen Mitchell powered in for a short touchdown run.
Boston College started the third quarter fast, completing a highly efficient 68-yard drive, spanning only six plays, with a one-yard David Bailey rushing touchdown.
The win was only soured by injuries to quarterback Phil Jurkovec and leading-rusher David Bailey in the third quarter. The non-contact injury to Jurkovec’s left knee appeared to occur when he planted his left leg awkwardly on a dropback. He was on his feet on the sidelines after the play, which hopefully indicates that the injury is not severe.
He was replaced by Dennis Grosel, who showed up big-time, closing out the game with two passing touchdowns.
In Grosel’s first full drive of the game, Jeff Hafley took advantage of the quarterback change, apparently surprising the Louisville defense by drawing up a run for the pocket-passer; Grosel picked up 44 yards on the option, juking out a Louisville defensive back to pick up a few extra near the sideline. The drive was capped off with an incredible one-handed touchdown catch by CJ Lewis, falling backwards in the back corner of the endzone.
Louisville answered on its next drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell, beating man coverage on a flat route.
With the ball back, Grosel did it again, hitting Jehlani Galloway over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown, set up by a Travis Levy 43-yard return up the middle and a 22-yard run by Pat Garwo III.
With both teams just trading touchdowns at this point, Louisville only needed one play to bring Boston College’s lead back down to seven. BC’s defense was caught sleeping on a wide receiver screen pass to Dez Fitzpatrick, and he outran everyone along the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown.
Turnovers were ultimately what separated these teams in what was a competitive matchup. The game was finally put on ice with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth when Jahmin Muse deflected a Malik Cunningham pass that was then caught by BC’s Shitta Silah.
Jeff Hafley had nothing but good things to say about Dennis Grosel’s performance in place of Phil Jurkovec. “The starting quarterback [Grosel] gets beat out, yet he comes to work every single day. He’s one of our best leaders, never complains, never says a word. All he does is prepare, and when his time came, he took the game over, and he made huge plays,” stated Hafley.
It remains to be seen who will start the last regular season game next week at Virginia (4-4, 3-4 ACC). The Eagles take on the Cavaliers on Saturday, time still to be determined.
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