Can Boston College football spring a surprise on North Carolina?

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 19: Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5 runs for a first down against the Duke Blue Devils in the fourth quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 19, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina. The Boston College Eagles won 26-6.(Photo by Nell Redmond-Pool/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 19: Boston College Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5 runs for a first down against the Duke Blue Devils in the fourth quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 19, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina. The Boston College Eagles won 26-6.(Photo by Nell Redmond-Pool/Getty Images) /

Boston College football faces North Carolina defending an unbeaten start to the 2020 season. Can the Eagles spring a surprise on Saturday?

For the first time since 2013, Boston College football will face off against North Carolina in a mouth watering All-ACC clash with one team’s unbeaten start to the season on the line.

Although the Tar Heels come into the game as an overwhelming favorite, with Heisman contender Sam Howell under center, can the Eagles shock 12th ranked UNC and come out with a victory on Saturday night?

Written off by almost all media outlets prior to the season as one of the worst teams in the ACC, Boston College has been one of the surprises so far in Jeff Hafley’s first year as head coach. His coaching history is rooted in the defensive side of the ball but it is the changes to the offense that have been most noticeable early in his tenure.

Seemingly gone are the days of power run football that have been familiar to Boston College football fans. They have become accustomed to A.J. Dillon pounding it out on the ground game after game. However, in back to back wins over Duke and Texas State, the Eagles have thrown for an average of 255 yards per game with Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec as the starting quarterback.

There’s no doubt that Boston College football has outplayed the preseason expectation of the national media. Can they parlay that into a win in the early October Chestnut Hill sun on Saturday?

North Carolina come into the game on the back of a four game win streak stretching back to their mid-November overtime defeat to the Pitt Panthers. Despite that momentum, they have had a disrupted start to their campaign. The cancellation of their clash with Charlotte means they haven’t set foot on a field since their opening day win over Syracuse.

Despite beating the Orange 31-6 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina looked rusty in an underwhelming performance. Will they be refreshed after a three week lay off, or will they have to shake that rust off all over again giving Boston College football their opportunity to spring an early season shock?

The Eagles can tie the head to head series between the two programs with a win. Currently North Carolina host a 3-2 advantage, with Boston College football’s last win coming in the Continental Tire Bowl in 2004.

Date: Saturday, Oct. 3
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Venue: Alumni Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN

Keys to the game

Unsurprisingly, the keys to a Boston College football upset lay at the hands of Jurkovec and the Eagles offense. He has completed 71 percent of his passes so far this season, with 510 passing yards at 8.4 yards per attempt. he also rushed for two touchdowns against Texas State.

It has been an impressing start to his Boston College football career but with a three touchdown to two interception ratio, he will need to take better care of the football if Boston College stands any chance of a win on Saturday.

Jurkovec is helped out on offense by two outstanding receiving threats.

Wide receiver Zay Flowers is one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football at the moment and has racked up 182 receiving yards on just seven catches, a remarkable 182 yards per catch.

Tight end Hunter Long is steadily gaining national recognition as one of the top tight ends in the nation. Jurkovec’s favorite target through two games has 174 receiving yards and leads the team with two touchdowns. Look for Boston College to create mismatches using the 6-foot-5, 253-pound playmaker.

When North Carolina struggled and stuttered early on in their season opener against Syracuse, it was their swarming defense that helped keep them in the game. They racked up seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hurries as quarterbacks Tommy DeVito and Rex Culpepper had to scramble for their lives.

The Tar Heels’ defense is led by senior linebacker Chaz Surratt whilst junior linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel was also impressive in the season opener. Boston College football’s offensive line, with Tyler Vrabel, Alec Lindstrom, and Zion Johnson, is one of the best in the country so how they protect Jurkovec against the North Carolina defense will be crucial to their chances of victory.

Can Boston College football hold off an offense that put up 31 points against Syracuse?

UNC quarterback Howell is one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation and is surrounded by an array of offensive weaponry. Against Syracuse, he had six receivers that registered at least one catch whilst five of those registered double digit yardage. Wide receiver Dyami Brown looks to be the main receiving threat leading the way with 94 yards, however Dazz Newsome is a player that can impact a game at any time from anywhere.

Boston College football will rely on linebacker Isaiah McDuffie’s tackling ability to disrupt the Tar Heels offense. leads the teams in total tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks whilst securing his first career interception in the season opening win over Duke.

Although North Carolina scored 21 points on the ground through running back Javonte Williams against Syracuse, and Boston College have given up on average 131 yards per game of the ground, their offense will predominantly go through Howell and the passing game so the performance of the Boston College football secondary will be particularly important.

Watch out for sophomore defensive back Josh DeBerry who broke up two passes against Texas State.


No one would have given the Boston College football Eagles a chance of beating North Carolina before the start of the 2020 season. The Tar Heels are one of the teams expected to challenge Clemson for the ACC conference title and despite their turgid performance against Syracuse, they are still an overwhelming favorite to win on Saturday.

If the Tar Heels come out looking as rusty as they did against Syracuse then Boston College could take advantage early on, and hold out for an unlikely win.

However, despite holding Duke to just six points, the Eagles have allowed an average of 354 yards and 13.5 points per game and this North Carolina offense will probably prove to be the difference maker.

The surprise on Saturday may only be that Boston College football keep it a close game.

Final Score: North Carolina 24, Boston College 20

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