The Jeff Hafley era is off to a rousing start as the first-year head coach led Boston College to a 26-6 win at Duke in the Eagles' season opener. A few things really stood out, so let's take a quick look here.
— In our most recent podcast with Matt Feld, one of the main things we're looking to see out of BC this year is a consistent passing game. It just feels like the Eagles have flashed strong games through the air in the past, but has struggled to build off that and maintain it for the course of.a full season. Enter quarterback Phil Jurkovec. The transfer from Notre Dame was terrific for the Eagles on Saturday, as he completed 17-of-23 passes for 300 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He had an excellent second half with touchdown passes of 9 yards to Hunter Long and of 61 yards to Zay Flowers. This was a close game until Jurkovec made those throws, as Hafley trusted Jurkovec to make plays downfield. This offense is aggressive, and wants to take vertical shots when it can. Who knows if the Eagles can continue this success throwing the ball, but we have a feeling this is not the last time Jurkovec will have a big afternoon through the air.
— The same word comes up over and over when evaluating Hafley: aggressive. The Eagles were aggressive on both offense and defense in this game, and it paid off. Offensively, the Eagles separated from Duke in the second half by going after Duke in the air. Following a missed field goal in the third quarter, Hafley went right after the defense through the air, culminating in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Long. Hafley was not going to sit on the lead and just run the ball. Defensively, the Eagles were an attacking unit, bringing pressure when they could. It was just an attitude that seemed to permeate the team. The players responded to it, and it just looked like they were having fun out there.
— This goes a little to that last point, but the defense earned its accolades with five forced turnovers. A few of them came to stop otherwise promising Duke drives into BC territory. But overall, you had to like what that side of the ball was able to accomplish for BC. The Eagles went after the ball all game, and who knows what the score of the game is if BC doesn't come away with those takeaways. Defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu deserves a lot of credit to have this unit flying around and making plays like it did. Duke was able to move the ball well at times, but did not really capitalize as much as it could have.
— Negatives? Well, the offensive line allowed a few sacks and the running game did not produce huge numbers. That said, most of those sacks came in the first half, and the running game was still effective at times. But you look at what BC did over the course of the game, and you have to feel positive about what Hafley produced against an ACC opponent. I'm not sure you could ask for much more in an opening game for the new BC coach.