No surprise: Jurkovec’s return has Boston College rolling
BOSTON (AP) — There’s no excuse anymore for being surprised by Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec.
The Notre Dame transfer made a last-minute return from a wrist injury to help the Eagles beat Virginia Tech on Nov. 5. Then, with a full week of practice to get ready for Georgia Tech, he accounted for five touchdowns and led BC to a second straight win.
As they head into Saturday’s game against Florida State, the Eagles (6-4, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) are riding a two-game winning streak and they are 4-0 this season with Jurkovec at quarterback.
“We have a big challenge,” Seminoles coach Mike Norvell. “You turn on film, and you know that is there.”
With off an emotional comeback victory over rival Miami, Florida State (4-6, 3-4), kept itself alive for a bowl berth. But the Seminoles will have to beat BC and then Florida to finish the season.
“They understand what’s ahead,” Norvell said. “You win a rivalry game, and that’s big. But to be able to take the step afterwards is something that’s critical for us. We know the opportunity that’s in front of us, we need to go seize that.”
After four straight losses, Jurkovec appeared to turn things around for the Eagles with a 17-3 victory over the Hokies, when he played for the first time since he was injured in Week 2 with what the team called a potential season-ending injury.
Against the Yellow Jackets last week, he ran for three touchdowns and threw for three more.
“We’re excited about Phil,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “He’s not just a big guy who can throw. He can run. He makes defenses think. You’ve got to stop him from running, and then he can throw the ball 55 yards down the field, so it opens stuff up.”
Here are some other things to look for in Saturday’s game:
Florida State opened the season with four straight losses before recovering to win three in a row. Then came two more losses before the Seminoles rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final five minutes to beat Miami 31-28 last week.
It was their first victory over a rival — Miami, Florida or Clemson — since a 2017 win over the Gators.
“They won a big game against Miami, a big rivalry, they had lost two in a row. You respect that they came back,” Hafley said. “I’m sure they’re feeling really good right now. They should be.”
Florida State has converted 25 consecutive trips to the Red Zone — the longest active streak in the ACC and the third-longest in the nation. The Seminoles rank first in the conference and 18th nationally, scoring on 25 of 35 trips inside the 20.
“You want to get points. You want to be efficient. When you do have to kick, you want to finish the job,” Norvell said. “It’s understanding that it’s a huge swing of the game to settle for 3 when you’re in position to score a touchdown.”
Seminoles back Jordan Travis has 16 career touchdowns, including two at BC late in the Seminoles’ 2019 win — just one part of an FSU ground game that has been its strength.
Jashaun Corbin has 815 rushing yards and is seventh in the nation with a 6.57 yards per carry average. He has had four 100-yard games, though he has not had one against a Power 5 team since a loss to Louisville on Sept. 25.
The Seminoles have recorded at least one interception in six straight games, their longest streak since 2014. Their season total of 16 takeaways ranks second in the ACC and their 10 interceptions is more than they had in all nine games in 2020.
Jurkovec was named the ACC quarterback of the week for the second time in the 41-30 victory over Georgia Tech that made the Eagles bowl-eligible.
Jurkovec averaged 23.9 yards per completion against Georgia Tech. That was the fourth-best number for an ACC quarterback since 1996.
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