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Boston College 31 Pitt 30

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It was another thrilling win, as Boston College survived Pitt in overtime 31-30. Here are some observations on the Eagles offense. 

* Phil Jurkovec had a good game, especially given the pressure he was facing. Still holds on to the ball just a little too long, and had that strip in the red zone. But other than that threw for 358 yards against a very good Pitt defense. As good as he has looked (he is the first BC quarterback to throw for 300 yards in 3 of 4 first starts), he has tons of room to improve. That should be a very exciting thought for BC fans. 

* Zay Flowers, offensive MVP of the game. Had three touchdowns, but it could have been four if he hadn’t dropped a wide open TD in the end zone. But can’t hate on that, still an incredible game for the sophomore who should be getting his 2nd ACC Wide Receiver of the Week award. 

* The offensive line had a rough game. They allowed five sacks, and BC’s rushing attack averaged 2.5 yards per carry (minus Jurkovec’s stats). This was not a pretty game in terms of pass blocking. Pitt’s pass rush was everything as advertised. The BC front five struggled in that second half

* BC really struggled when Pitt started on sitting on Jurkovec rolling out. This will be one of those things that the Eagles will need to build upon as the year progresses. 

* Not a big fan of Frank Cignetti’s play calling in the second half. I understand what he was going for, he wanted to try and neutralize the Pitt pass rush, but there had to be a play action in there somewhere. It became very predictable: run, run, pass punt. When the run wasn’t happening,

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Five Questions Boston College Has to Answer to Defeat Pitt

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Boston College concludes their three game homestand on Saturday against the Pitt Panthers. Led by quarterback Kenny Pickett and a vicious defense, the Panthers have rolled to a 3-1 start. But what does Boston College have to do to get back into the win column? Let’s explore.

Can the Eagles establish any sort of run?

Boston College is 4th from the bottom in the country in rushing yards this year (70.33 ypg). It seems like every game the offense veers away from the rushing attack as soon as the team falls behind. Jeff Hafley has said that running back David Bailey’s role is going to increase, but wouldn’t say when. It seems like Pitt would be a perfect game to do it. Pitt’s pass rush is relentless, but honestly so is their rush defense. As we saw last year however, their front can be beat up in the trenches, AJ Dillon ran for 178 yards against them last season. Maybe it would just make sense to just do some simple runs with man to man blocking up front, get those four yards a rush which will hopefully open things up for the passing attack.

Can BC stop taking points off the board?

It has been an epidemic for the Eagles, as they have had touchdowns called back in each of the first three games. Hafley has stressed that the team needs to clean up the mental mistakes. That is going to be crucial against a team that is stingy in the red zone, only 42.86% of trips in the red zone end up in touchdowns against the Panthers. BC can ill afford to have touchdowns taken away due to mistakes, and will need to have a cleaner game than the previous three. 

Can the Eagles defense contain Kenny Pickett?

Kenny

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Pitt, Boston College look to rebound from first losses

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With a favorable break or two, the Pittsburgh Panthers and Boston College Eagles could have been meeting this weekend as ranked teams. Instead both came up short in close home losses a week ago and are now looking for rebound wins.

The former Big East rivals will meet for the third time as Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Saturday afternoon in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Ranked No. 24 last week, the Panthers (3-1, 2-1) saw quarterback Kenny Pickett put on a career performance, but Pitt uncharacteristically caved on defense — head coach Pat Narduzzi’s forte — as North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary drove the visitors 79 yards in eight plays and threw a touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in a shocking 30-29 Wolfpack win.

Leary passed for 336 yards and four touchdowns in his first start this season, and his late-game heroics prevented Pitt from starting 4-0 for the first time since 2000.

The Wolfpack generated 398 total yards against Narduzzi’s squad, which entered the game with the nation’s top defense, and were particularly good converting in high-leverage situations — NC State was 7-for-16 on third down and 2-for-2 on fourth down.

“I think Devin Leary, number one,” Narduzzi said of Pitt’s biggest problem. “The guy pulling the trigger obviously had a good game today, and he made the right decisions. He got the ball out pretty quick. We couldn’t get as much pressure as we’d like.”

Pickett posted his seventh career 300-yard passing game by going 22 of 39 for a career-best 411 yards and a touchdown (he also ran for two) as Pitt amassed 503 total yards. But the Wolfpack broke a seven-game losing streak against ranked teams with the last-minute drive.

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec tossed a 6-yard TD pass to CJ Lewis with 45 seconds

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Mutual admiration and improvement society between Boston College and Pitt

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Even though Hafley’s time as an assistant at Pitt from 2006–2010 predates Narduzzi’s run since 2015 as the Panthers head coach, they’ve known each other for years, and have built a respect and a rapport. Over the offseason, when the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches would meet on Zoom, Hafley made a point to be seen and not heard as the youngest of the group. But even though they’re competitors in the ACC, Narduzzi had no problems offering to help Hafley in any way he could.

Pat Narduzzi has been head coach at Pitt since 2015.
Pat Narduzzi has been head coach at Pitt since 2015.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

“I have a ton of respect for him. He’s been really good to me,” Hafley said. “He’s actually a guy that early on, in the Zoom calls, called me after and said, ‘Hey, if you ever need anything, give me a call.’ So I really appreciate him for that.”

This might not be one of the weeks Hafley reaches out. The Eagles (2-1, 1-1 ACC) are coming off a hard-fought loss to North Carolina, and Pitt (3-1, 2-1) is still stinging from a 30-29 loss to N.C. State.

The Eagles have ties to Pitt. Hafley met his wife, Gina, there. Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti served in the same role at Pitt in 2009-10 under Dave Wannstedt. If anything, Narduzzi said those connections will add an extra layer when the teams meet Saturday at Alumni Stadium.

“It’ll be personal to them,” Narduzzi said. “It’ll be personal for us.”

Their teams also have similar identities, which can be traced to the head coaches.

Hafley said of Narduzzi, “He’s a defensive guy. You can see the way his team plays. He keeps them together, they play very hard, they’re very disciplined, they’re very tough, very physical, and that’s a credit to him.”

And in turn,