#30 Boston College Football 2021 Preview

Boston College Eagles
Overall Rank: #30
#4 ACC
Boston College Logo
Coach Jeff Hafley quickly changed the culture at Boston College. Many expected the Eagles to finish last in the ACC. Instead, BC went 6-5 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Perhaps the most memorable game of the campaign was not even a win. The team went to Clemson on Halloween and only lost to the Tigers 34-28. With 18 starters returning, the expectations are very quickly rising.
2020 Record: 6-5, 5-5
2020 Bowl: None
Coach: Jeff Hafley (6-5 at Boston College, 6-5 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Cignetti
Defensive Coordinator: Tem Lukabu
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Travis Levy, RB, 321 yards
Passing: Phil Jurkovec, QB, 2,558 yards
Receiving: Zay Flowers, WR, 892 yards
Tackles: Josh DeBerry, DB, 44         
Sacks: Shitta Sillah, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: Jahmin Muse, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Devonte Lee, WR Jaelen Gill, WR CJ Lewis, OL Ben Petrula, OL Zion Johnson, DB Brandon Sebastian, DB Elijah Jones
Key Losses: RB David Bailey, WR Hunter Long, TE Hunter Long, LB Isaiah McDuffie, LB Max Richardson, DE Max Roberts
During his first season as a starter, quarterback Phil Jurkovec completed 61.0 percent of his passes for 2,558 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was intercepted just five times. That was the first season Boston College was a passing team and it clearly worked out very well. Losing tight end Hunter Long means Jurkovec will have to find a new big target underneath, but Zay Flowers, CJ Lewis and Jaelen Gill are proven wideouts. Flowers led the team with 892 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and earned All-ACC first-team accolades in the process. Kobay White will appreciate the new offense after missing the 2020 season with an injury. In 2019 White led the Eagles with 29 receptions. The ground game struggled with the new offense, but with the offensive line returning intact, running backs Travis Levy and Devonte Lee should be more productive in 2021.
Coach Hafley has a defensive history and he started to slowly turn around what was a terrible unit in 2019. In 2020, they were in the middle of the ACC defensively, ranking seventh in total defense and fifth in scoring defense. With plenty of talent coming back and more coming in, the hope is this group can take another step forward in 2021. The biggest issue is at linebacker where both starters departed. The front line did not do a great job of getting to the quarterback and that will likely be where the Eagles could again run into trouble. The secondary did a good job of creating turnovers even without a consistent pass rush. If this group can find a dangerous pass rusher, the secondary could be among the best in the ACC.
The Bottom Line:
The schedule lines up very nicely for Boston College. They hit the road a couple times in non-conference play, but trips to Umass and Temple should not be a problem. The home dates are against Colgate and Missouri. The ACC starts off tough with a trip to Clemson and a home date against NC State, but everybody else on the schedule finished 2020 with a losing record.
Projected Bowl:  Holiday Bowl
2020 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 101.7 (118th in nation, 13th in conference)
Passing Offense: 284.2 (24, 3)
Total Offense: 385.9 (73, 10)
Scoring Offense: 27.8 (68, 10)
Rushing Defense: 171.4 (73, 5)
Pass Defense: 245.5 (82, 6)
Total Defense: 416.8 (73, 7)
Scoring Defense: 28.4 (60, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.64 (24, 3)
Sacks: 2.27 (59, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.55 (88, 6)