CHESTNUT HILL — Coming into Saturday night's game with Texas State, the expectation was that Boston College would have little trouble with the visiting Bobcats.
After all, Texas St. lost two of its three games in this early season, and had not looked all that special in any of them. A BC victory by two, maybe three touchdowns seemed to be a logical conclusion.
As it turned out, this was not a game won with style points, as Texas St. had the Eagles on upset alert at Alumni Stadium all night.
But even though Texas St. looked like the better team for much of the game, BC made enough plays late to come away with the 24-21 win as the Eagles improved to 2-0.
Now, North Carolina comes to Chestnut Hill next weekend in what should be BC's toughest test to date.
While conventional wisdom had BC as a big favorite, Eagles coach Jeff Hafley expected a dogfight.
"They have a ton of players on that offense who would start in the ACC," Hafley said of the Bobcats.
"When we threw the film on, we knew they had athletes on the outside," said BC defensive back Mike Palmer.
Down 21-14 with 3:15 to go in the fourth quarter, BC took over at the Texas St. 48-yard line following a targeting penalty on Jarron Morris. The Eagles offense had not shown much life to that point and had gone three and out on its previous possession.
But Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec caught fire with five straight completions. Two of them went to Hunter Long, and one each to Travis Levy, Zay Flowers, and Jaelen Gill. Texas St. was called for roughing the passer deep in its own territory, and Jurkovec followed with two completions, one to Levy and the second to Long in the back of the end zone with 1:11 to play.
That helped tie it at 21, and the game looked destined for overtime. But the BC defense forced a punt, and the Eagles took over at their own 32 with 47 seconds left.
Jurkovec stayed hot and was clutch on that last drive. He hit on five straight completions, two to Levy, two to Long, and one to Flowers. The second to Long, a 4-yarder, got the ball to the Texas St. 19.
For the game, Jurkovec completed 26-of-38 passes for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"We had guys open and we didn't get it to them," Hafley said. "In the end, (Jurkovec) did."
With seven seconds left, BC brought out the field goal team to have kicker Aaron Boumerhi attempt a 36-yard game-winner.
Texas St. did everything in its power to ice him. The Bobcats called not one, not two, but three timeouts. Boumerhi called the tactic "unique," but he said he was not surprised by it.
In the end, it didn't matter. With a nice hold by John Tessitore, Boumerhi was true on his kick to give BC the 24-21 lead with three seconds left. That held up as the final as Texas St. could not get off a good kick return.
Hafley maintained that he was not using coach speak earlier in the week when he said Texas St. would present problems. He said he told the team that the game would be won in the fourth quarter, and he was exactly right.
And even though the offense looked out of synch for most of the night, it performed when it needed to.
"We were out of our rhythm for a while there, but we never lost confidence," said Long, who caught nine passes for 81 yards.
"I'm really proud of everyone on this team, and I love this team," Jurkovec said.
Texas St., from the beginning, was not intimidated. The Bobcats scored first with a 1-yard run by Calvin Hill.
BC evened it up in the second quarter with an assist from its defense. Palmer corralled a deflection and found open space up the sideline for a 71-yard return. The offense punched it in on a 2-yard sneak from Jurkovec to tie it at 7 with 13:28 left before the half.
That did not deter Texas St., though, as the Bobcats took the lead right back with a 6-yard scoring toss from Brady McBride to Marcell Barbee. Barbee fought off a defensive pass interference on the play to make the catch. That 14-7 lead held up to the break.
It went from bad to worse in the third quarter, as the Eagles received the kick but could do nothing with it, going three and out. Texas St. took the ball and went 87 yards on 13 plays, culminating in another Barbee touchdown reception, this time from 9 yards out.
BC answered with its best drive of the game. Jurkovec made some nice throws and capped the 12-play, 72-yard drive with a 3-yard sneak to pull the Eagles to within 21-14 with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
It looked like it would stay that way, but BC finally made enough plays in the final quarter to win it.