Sometimes it just isn’t your year. Setbacks outside of your control pile up, while your team fails to make many breaks for itself on the field, and the season spirals. That’s been the story for Jeff Hafley and Boston College in 2022, as the Eagles sit at 2-7, ruined by injuries.
The alarm bells were there in Week 1, when the Eagles dropped a home game to Rutgers. That was a worrying omen for a potentially difficult year ahead, and that was when the team was about as healthy as it was going to get. It’s been almost all bad news since.
Coming into the season, Boston College already had to contend with replacing its entire offensive line; four guys from the 2021 unit graduated and moved on to the NFL, while their top returning lineman, Christian Mahogany, tore an ACL in the spring.
Their opening-week left tackle has missed multiple games with injury. They lost their right tackle for the year in Week 2. Left guard tore a labrum in late September. They’ve had one guy start in four different spots. They’ve got a dude who went from offensive line to defensive line in 2021 and back to offensive line in 2022. Another former defensive lineman has spent time at guard and center. Their center is banged up played with a club on his hand at UConn thanks to an injured wrist. They’ve yet to start the same five linemen more than once.
How does a team overcome this level of attrition up front? It doesn’t. Boston College has allowed 34 sacks this season, fifth-most in FBS. It is averaging 2.3 yards per carry and has 615 total rushing yards on the season—both marks rank last in FBS. It is 118th in third down conversion rate. The Eagles have endured exactly the nightmare you would expect. Phil Jurkovec has been injured again, and didn’t play last week, leaving the Eagles to start freshman Emmett Morehead, who may have the ball again on Saturday.
They have at least been able to make some big plays in the passing game, thanks primarily to the existence of Zay Flowers, who is one of the best receivers in the country. He has 60 grabs for 791 yards and eight scores, ranking first or second among ACC receivers in all three categories. He’s too good to shut down completely despite BC’s myriad issues, and no doubt will make a few plays this week, too.
But with little support elsewhere, his production hasn’t meant much to the bottom line.
Boston College’s defense has been in a difficult position all season, and while the Eagles have done an admirably solid job against the pass, the defense is nonetheless giving up nearly 30 points per game. The team is -8 in turnover margin, which ranks 120th.
The Eagles are left playing out the string with a losing record assured, and it’s fair to wonder just how much effort they’ve got left in them. The offense is facing a particularly tough matchup with week, and NC State will be heavily motivated to send its departing seniors out with a win.
It’s certainly possible BC could hang around in this one, given the inconsistent nature of State’s offense, but suffice it to say the Eagles are unlikely to find enough points to pull off the upset.