Football struggles, falling to Boston College, 41-10

Cavaliers unable to clinch bowl berth at home

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A rushing score late in the second quarter by sophomore wide receiver Joe Reed accounted for Virginia's lone touchdown against Boston College. 

Nick Zugris | Cavalier Daily

With a four-game winning streak and a 5-1 record heading into this past Saturday’s matchup against Boston College, the Virginia football team looked to come away with a win and bowl eligibility. 

However, it was not to be, as the Cavaliers (5-2, 2-1 ACC) were dominated by a Boston College (4-4, 2-3 ACC) team that was looking to build on its momentum after a win over Lamar Jackson and Louisville the previous weekend. The Eagles walked away with a 41-10 victory, preventing Virginia from clinching a bowl berth in their stadium during their Homecomings weekend. 

“[Boston College was] very well prepared — they executed very well [and] had an exceptional plan versus us at all phases,” Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

The Cavaliers started off sluggish, going down 24-0 before scoring its first points with under a minute left in the first half, thanks to a one-yard touchdown run by Virginia sophomore wide receiver Joe Reed. It didn’t help that Boston College came out of the gates on fire, as evidenced by their 17-unanswered points in the first quarter. 

“They had a fast start. I give credit to them,” Virginia sophomore inside linebacker Jordan Mack said. “We came out slow and they took advantage of it.” 

The second half wouldn’t be much of a difference, with the Eagles outscoring the Cavaliers, 17-3. Boston College’s ability to convert on third downs was a big reason the Eagles were able to keep Virginia’s defense on the field longer, wearing them down as the game progressed into the afternoon. 

“We were playing man-to-man, so they had quick stuff,” senior linebacker Micah Kiser said. “On the screen, we had a perfect call — we just didn’t execute well. That’s all it is, just executing on third-down.”

Mendenhall said that Boston College effectively carried out its gameplan on offense by running plays that let redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown get rid of the ball quickly, preventing frequent sacks. Brown put together a strong performance, completing 79 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and 275 yards.

“There was no way that they were going to allow sacks, so the ball was coming out very quickly with man-to-man type of beating routes, and he was delivering the ball on time to well-executed routes and consistently,” Mendenhall said. 

With Virginia being on the verge of a top-25 ranking and one win away from a bowl berth, last week was a new experience for this year’s Cavalier team. There was much praise and positivity directed towards Virginia for its fantastic start to the season. Whether that affected them or not, they will have another opportunity next week to clinch a bowl berth. 

After falling flat in Saturday’s game against the Eagles, the Cavaliers are determined to bounce back and showcase the resilience that they have shown countless times this season. 

“This is all about your heart and where you stand,” senior free safety Quin Blanding said. “This is the midway point of our season, and this is what will determine how we finish. This is a gut check, and I told the team it’s a hard check for all of us. If you messed up, you messed up. We have to watch the film, fix it and get back and ready for next week.”

With a matchup against Pittsburgh (3-5, 1-3 ACC) coming up next week on the road, Virginia knows that it will need to be ready for yet another challenge as they continue on in ACC play. 

Virginia senior quarterback Kurt Benkert is aware that every ACC game is a difficult one, and the Cavaliers will need to prepare to execute come gameday and return home with a win. He said that the the loss against Boston College was a great example of how nothing is given in college football, and Virginia is going to have to earn every bit of success they hope to achieve.

“I think it shows that we can’t just show up and expect to win. It’s not just going to happen for us. We have to go take it,” Benkert said. “These teams prepare just like we prepare. No game in the ACC is going to be easy. It really changes that mental approach going into the game that we have to go out and take it. It’s not going to be handed to us.”

Kickoff against Pittsburgh is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pa.  

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