Quick thoughts on Boston College's loss to Clemson

For a while, it appeared that Boston College would go on the road and shock top-ranked Clemson. In fact, pretty much the entire first half had that feel, as the Eagles led at one point 28-10 before the host Tigers booted a field goal before the break. It was not to be, though, as backup quarterback DJ Uiagalelei led Clemson to a quick and decisive second-half rally. In the end, the Tigers came away with the 34-28 win, and BC's upset hopes were dashed. That said, for BC to even be in a position — like they were — to take the lead late in the fourth quarter showed just how much the Eagles felt they could compete here. It was a tremendous effort by BC, and even though the Eagles didn't win, they threw a massive scare into the nation's top-ranked team. Here are a few other things that stood out:

— BC had an aggressive game plan and almost followed it to victory. Listen, BC came into this game as an almost 30-point underdog. Not many thought the Eagles would win, or even really keep it close. Even with Uaigalelei starting for Trevor Lawrence, who missed the game with a positive Covid-19 test, Clemson had a lot more talent on the field than BC. But what Eagles coach Jeff Hafley did was go on the attack immediately. Early and often, BC went deep with quarterback Phil Jurkovec, with varying degrees of success. As BC built its early lead, Jurkovec was on point, and he finished with touchdown passes to Zay Flowers and CJ Lewis. On fourth down near the end of the half, Hafley had field goal holder John Tessitore come up behind center and draw the Clemson defense offsides with a hard count. That led to the Lewis touchdown. There was no way BC was going to go to Death Valley and win by playing conservative. Hafley and the Eagles went for the throat the entire game and it nearly paid off.

— Penalties were a killer for BC, and that continues to be a problem for the Eagles. BC came into this game ranked 81st in the country in penalty yards per game with 73.17. That number will continue to go up, as BC finished with 92 yards on 11 penalties against Clemson. The Eagles had one penalty-filled drive in the third quarter where an illegal procedure helped push the offense back to a third and long and eventual punting situation. Twice, the ensuing punts that were downed inside the Clemson 5-yard line had to be taken back with more penalties. It was just a comedy of errors. Maybe you can look at it and say, well, the Eagles probably don't win anyway if they play a cleaner game. That said, you want to give yourself a chance, and the Eagles didn't really do that. It was an opportunity missed.

— Despite this loss, BC has to feel very good about the direction of its season. We know. BC lost this game and is now 4-3, not 7-0. Still, we feel like this is a program trending in the right direction. Of those three losses, two were to North Carolina and Clemson by one score against teams that were both in the top 10 at the time. The Virginia Tech setback was the only real blowout loss, and even that game, BC had its moments. Clemson is as good as anyone in the country, and BC forced a four-quarter game on the Tigers. Efforts like that are becoming common with this Eagles team. Hafley is competing both on the field and in the recruiting trail, and you just get the feeling that the best is yet to come. Sure, lament the fact that the upset didn't take place. But know Hafley has the Eagles steered in the right direction.

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