Virginia looks for fourth straight win, hosts Boston College in ACC battle
With everything else turned completely upside-down in 2020, perhaps there’s no better time for Virginia to change its luck against Boston College.
The Cavaliers are 0-6 all-time against the Eagles heading into Saturday’s home finale in Charlottesville, Va., including an 0-2 record at home and an 0-4 mark since Boston College joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005.
Virginia (4-4, 3-4 ACC) brings a three-game winning streak into this one but has only played twice since Halloween. Last Saturday’s game at Florida State was postponed just hours before kickoff due to COVID-19 concerns within the Seminoles’ program.
Boston College (6-4, 5-4) has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games and is coming off a 34-27 victory at home on Saturday against Louisville. This is the Eagles’ final game of the regular season, their first campaign under head coach Jeff Hafley.
Boston College lost starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec (left knee) and No. 1 running back David Bailey (upper body) to injuries in the win against the Cardinals, but both were listed atop the depth chart released this week.
“The quarterback is from my area, so I’ve been watching him a little bit,” said UVA linebacker and Pittsburgh native Zane Zandier, who ranks fifth in the ACC with 8.4 tackles per game.
“He’s been playing pretty well, so it’s been cool to see.”
A Notre Dame transfer, Jurkovec has completed 61.0 percent of his passes for 2,558 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games. Backup Dennis Grosel completed 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the win against Louisville.
“It’s kind of like riding a bike,” said Grosel, who started seven games in 2019. “I did it last year, so I hopped right on and held on for the ride.”
Whoever starts on Saturday will face a Virginia secondary that has been playing without starting safeties Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson since October due to injuries.
“It’s pending,” Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall said when asked if either would return this season.
“Joey is closer than Brenton at this point, and so we remain hopeful, is the best way that I could put it.”
Virginia ranks last in the ACC in pass defense, allowing 289.0 yards per game through the air.
Blount and Nelson are part of the senior class that will be honored Saturday at Scott Stadium, where Virginia is 4-1 in 2020 and has won 16 of its last 18 games dating back to the start of the 2018 season.
A victory against the Cavaliers would give Boston College its sixth win in the ACC this season, tying a school record set back in 2007 when Matt Ryan was their quarterback.
Brennan Armstrong is the starting QB for Virginia. The redshirt sophomore has passed for 1,571 yards with 15 TDs and eight picks, and is also the team’s leading rusher with 399 yards and four scores.
“His confidence levels are through the roof,” Cavaliers guard Chris Glaser said.
“When you have a quarterback like that … you’re like, ‘Why wouldn’t I play my hardest for him? Why wouldn’t I do this and that?’ He’s a fun kid to play for and play with.”
–Field Level Media