Dec 3, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) as they take on the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Bill O’Brien heading to Boston College as head coach

Former Houston Texans and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien and Boston College reportedly are putting the finishing touches on a deal to make him the Eagles’ next football coach.

O’Brien, a Massachusetts native, most recently was the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. He accepted the same position at Ohio State last month.

The 54-year-old O’Brien was hired at Ohio State to take over the play-calling duties from head coach Ryan Day. Presuming O’Brien seals the deal with Boston College, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly reportedly will be named the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator.

O’Brien’s family is rooted in the Boston area and planned to remain there while O’Brien was in Columbus, ESPN reported.

O’Brien will replace Jeff Hafley, who recently was hired as the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.

The Eagles finished 7-6 in 2023 and are getting a coach with a blue-chip pedigree.

O’Brien worked on Bill Belichick’s staff with the Patriots from 2007-11 and was quarterbacks coach to Tom Brady. He left to take over at Penn State in 2012 and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year.

From 2014-20, he led the Texans to the playoffs four times.

As for Ohio State, Kelly and Day have a longstanding relationship that began when Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire with Day as his quarterback there from 1999-2001.

Kelly, 60, led Oregon to three Pac-12 championships as the Ducks head coach from 2009-12 and compiled an 46-7 record. He headed to the NFL in 2013, spending three seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and one at the helm of the San Francisco 49ers with a 28-35 overall record.

He became UCLA’s head coach in 2018 and has a 35-34 record with the Bruins.

–Field Level Media

Aug 25, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: BC set to hire Bill O’Brien as head coach

Boston College is finalizing a deal with Bill O’Brien to make him the next head coach of the Eagles, multiple outlets reported Monday.

The sides are hammering out the final details, according to reports from Sports Illustrated and the Boston Herald. An announcement is expected by Wednesday, per the reports.

O’Brien, 54, a Boston native, would replace Jeff Hafley, who left BC to become the new defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers last week.

O’Brien was offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots last season but was out of a job when Bill Belichick stepped down. O’Brien was hired by Ohio State as OC and quarterbacks coach on Jan. 18.

It would mark O’Brien’s third foray as a head coach. He replaced the legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State, going 15-9 in two seasons before taking the head coaching post with the Houston Texans. He went 52-48 in six-plus seasons before getting fired after an 0-4 start in 2020.

He went on to be the OC at Alabama under Nick Saban, where the Crimson Tide averaged 39.9 and 41.1 points per game in his two seasons.

Hafley was 22-26 in four seasons at Boston College, going 7-6 in 2023, including a win over No. 22 SMU in the Fenway Bowl.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles head coach Jeff Hafley acknowledges the fans during the first half against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Packers hire Boston College’s Jeff Hafley as defensive coordinator

The Green Bay Packers hired Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley as defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Hafley, 44, was a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13), Cleveland Browns (2014-15) and San Francisco 49ers (2016-18) before his second stint in the college ranks.

“We are excited to welcome Jeff, his wife, Gina, and their daughters, Hope and Leah, to the Packers and the Green Bay community,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said in a statement. “Jeff has had success at every stop of his coaching career with an impressive track record of developing players at every level. We look forward to him leading our defense.”

Hafley was co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Ohio State in 2019, when the Buckeyes had one of the top defenses in the nation in several statistical categories. He was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award as the top assistant football coach in NCAA Division I.

Hafley was 22-26 in four seasons at Boston College, going 7-6 in 2023, including a win over No. 22 SMU in the Fenway Bowl.

“I loved my four years at Boston College,” Hafley said in a statement released by Boston College. “This is an exceptional place to coach given the caliber of student-athletes we recruit, the facilities, and the support from the University and BC fans. I will miss the players who gave so much of themselves these past four years, and my wife Gina and I will certainly miss the BC community and the many friends we have made here.”

Hafley coached at the college level from 2001-11 before his NFL coaching experience.

In replacing the fired Joe Barry, Hafley becomes the third different defensive coordinator as LaFleur enters his sixth season as Packers head coach.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) throws the football against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami, Boston College seeking to snap slumps

Boston College and Miami will look to cap the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season on a high note in their first meeting since 2018 on Friday afternoon in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Eagles (6-5, 3-4) moved from 1-3 to bowl eligible during a five-game winning streak, but last week’s 24-16 setback at Pitt was their second straight loss to a sub-.500 team.

Despite Thomas Castellanos’ 14th touchdown pass and Kye Robichaux’s third 100-yard rushing game this season, coach Jeff Hafley’s team gave up 404 yards, committed two turnovers and settled for field goals on three scoring drives.

Hafley, who called the loss to Pitt “a missed opportunity,” knows that goals remain as the postseason nears.

“There’s a lot to play for,” Hafley said. “We need to improve on a lot of things. We’ve got some new guys who have stepped up and want to get better, and then you get those bowl practices in. We still have a chance to win eight games. There’s a lot of pride in these guys.”

Robichaux returned from an injury against Pitt, but the Eagles remain banged up with several players out for the season.

Miami (6-5, 2-5) is on a three-game skid that began with losses at North Carolina State and Florida State before continuing in a 38-31 Saturday setback to a Louisville team that is bound for the ACC title game.

Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, who has dealt with a leg injury this season, threw for 327 yards and a touchdown while connecting with Xavier Restrepo eight times for a career-high 193 yards.

“He was very determined. It carried over to (the Louisville week),” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said of his quarterback, who did not start the previous game against Florida State. “He was very urgent if you watch the way he was moving around in the pocket. His feet were quick. He’s healthy now, too, almost completely.”

However, the Hurricanes fell just short of the upset after surrendering two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Miami leads the all-time series 24-6, but Boston College has won two of the three matchups between the former Big East rivals since 2011.

–Field Level Media

Nov 16, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Nate Yarnell (19) carries the ball against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Cam Horsley (96) during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Yarnell leads Pitt to surprising win over Boston College

Rodney Hammond Jr. unleashed a 66-yard touchdown run in the waning minutes Thursday to seal Pittsburgh’s 24-16 home victory over Boston College.

Having won just once since their season opener, the Panthers (3-8, 2-5 ACC) opted to change quarterbacks in this one, pegging Nate Yarnell to make his second career start instead of the struggling Christian Veilleux.

Yarnell delivered with a passing touchdown and a rushing score, but it was Hammond who came up huge in the clutch. With Pitt clinging to a one-point lead with under five minutes to go, the junior running back made two defenders miss en route to his game-clinching touchdown run. He finished with 145 yards on 15 carries.

Meanwhile, the Eagles (6-5, 3-4) lost their second straight game following a five-game winning streak. Thomas Castellanos went 13 of 25 for 171 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Kye Robichaux contributed 118 yards on 24 carries.

BC took the game’s opening possession and drove down the field before settling for a 42-yard field goal by Liam Connor. Castellanos’ 25-yard pass to Thomas Bond was the key play on the drive.

Pitt then responded with a 42-yard field goal of its own, as Ben Sauls delivered to forge a 3-3 tie after one quarter.

Yarnell scored the game’s first touchdown with just over nine minutes left in the first half, as he scampered in from 4 yards out. Connor’s 45-yard field goal in the final minute drew the Eagles within 10-6 at the break.

Following a quick three-and-out by Pitt to open the third quarter, BC took the lead on Castellanos’ 24-yard TD pass to Bond. However, the Panthers regained the lead less than two minutes later, as Yarnell found Konata Mumpfield for completions of 12 and 18 yards before connecting with a wide-open Bub Means for a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Now trailing 17-13 in the fourth, the Eagles drove to the Pitt 9 before settling for a 33-yard field goal by Connor, drawing the visitors within 17-16 with 5:19 to play.

–Field Level Media

Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi erupts after an interception during the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV on September 16, 2023.

Woebegone Pitt wobbles into Thursday night tilt with Syracuse

Boston College brings the baggage of its first loss in six games to Pitt on Thursday night, but the Panthers are unpacking much bigger problems.

The Eagles (6-4, 3-3 ACC) had a five-game winning streak snapped last week when Virginia Tech scored 35 straight points en route to a 48-22 victory. BC was outgained 600-262 (including 363-124 on the ground) in suffering its first defeat since Sept. 23.

“We didn’t play like we have for the last six weeks,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “We got beat up pretty good.”

The Panthers (2-8, 1-5) have mustered only a solitary victory since a win in the season opener. The Panthers are coming off a 28-13 loss to Syracuse, a team that essentially operated without a viable quarterback. The banged-up Orange attempted only eight passes, ran the ball 66 times, leaving coach Pat Narduzzi with plenty of questions to answer.

Among the issues facing the team: Who starts at quarterback against Boston College?

“I don’t know,” Narduzzi said of whether struggling incumbent Christian Veilleux or seldom-used backup Nate Yarnell would get the call. “We’ll see Thursday night.”

Things are so bleak for Pitt at the moment that the university’s athletic director put out a statement to the Post-Gazzette on Monday saying, in part, that “this season is not up to Coach Narduzzi’s or Pitt’s standards” before indicating that Narduzzi will be back in 2024 to help turn around the program he helped resurrect with an ACC championship and consecutive Top 25 finishes the past two seasons.

The Panthers have already clinched the worst finish in Narduzzi’s nine seasons at the helm.

First priority for Pitt on Thursday is finding a way to slow BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos, who ranks second in the country among quarterbacks with 806 rushing yards. He also has 10 rushing touchdowns.

Veilleux, meanwhile, has minus-14 net rushing yards on the season and has more interceptions (eight) than passing touchdowns (seven). Yarnell is just 5 of 8 for 123 yards and a touchdown in limited action.

The Panthers have scored a total of 44 points during their four-game losing streak.

Pitt leads the all-time series 17-15. BC has won the last two matchups.

–Field Level Media

Nov 3, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Boston College Eagles defensive back Elijah Jones (1) intercepts a pass in the end zone in front of Syracuse Orange wide receiver Donovan Brown (87) during the first half at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College wins 5th straight, breaks late tie with Syracuse

Thomas Castellanos passed for a touchdown and ran for another as Boston College knocked off host Syracuse 17-10 in Friday’s Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

Castellanos finished 20 of 37 passing for 165 yards and added a team-high 87 yards on the ground as the Eagles (6-3, 3-2 ACC) won their fifth straight game.

LeQuint Allen rattled off 142 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Orange (4-5, 0-5), who have dropped five in a row.

Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader was a surprise scratch with an undisclosed injury suffered in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. Carlos Del Rio-Wilson started in his place and went 7 of 17 for 37 yards with four interceptions.

With the game tied at 10-10, Castellanos rushed around the left end for a 7-yard touchdown with 2:23 remaining. On the next offensive play, Del Rio-Wilson’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Cole Batson, and the Eagles ran out the clock.

CJ Clinkscales intercepted Del Rio-Wilson near midfield on Syracuse’s first possession of the game, allowing the Eagles to convert that turnover into a 24-yard field goal by Liam Connor.

The Orange got on the board late in the first quarter, covering 65 yards in only four plays. Allen began the possession with a 32-yard scamper and then had a pair of modest runs before Del Rio-Wilson broke free up the middle for a 27-yard score.

The teams then exchanged empty trips until Boston College scored in the final minute of the second quarter.

The possession began when Elijah Jones intercepted Del Rio-Wilson on a deep pass to the end zone for a touchback. The Eagles then marched 80 yards in 18 plays, including two fourth-and-1 conversions. The scoring play was a 2-yard pass from Castellanos to Owen McGowan with 48 seconds left in the half.

There was no scoring in the third quarter. Boston College trekked to the Syracuse 24 late in the period before Castellanos was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.

The Orange began the ensuing possession with Allen’s 56-yard run, leading to Brady Denaburg’s 36-yard kick to forge a 10-10 tie with 14:18 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos (1) throws a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

UConn eyes another upset of Boston College

Boston College looks to continue its recent winning ways Saturday in its nonconference finale against New England rival Connecticut at Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Eagles (4-3) have won three straight games following a dominant finish last week in a 38-23 win at Georgia Tech. Now they aim to offer payback to UConn for handing them a loss for the first time ever in 2022.

“There is zero motivation needed to play this game,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said. “We’ll pour everything into it, just like we have the past few weeks. This is a team with a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum right now.”

At Georgia Tech, quarterback Thomas Castellanos and running back Kye Robichaux each rushed for two touchdowns as Boston College totaled a season-high 563 yards of offense and rode a 21-0, fourth-quarter rally to victory.

Castellanos, Robichaux, offensive lineman Christian Mahogany and defensive back Elijah Jones (two interceptions) were all ACC weekly honorees at their positions.

Boston College has rushed for 300 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 2017.

“It’s how we’re going to win games here,” Hafley said. “If you play good defense and run the ball, you’ll have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. If we can do that, we’ll wear people out.”

Castellanos — the first Power 5 quarterback with multiple 100-yard rushing games this season — has consistently improved every week, and so has the team.

“We’re no longer the laughingstock of college football or the ACC,” Castellanos said. “We’re back, and we’re rolling.”

Ryan O’Keefe (neck) is also getting closer to a return for the Eagles, though Hafley said the wide receiver probably would remain out this week.

The Huskies (1-6) hope to rebound after falling 24-21 to South Florida last week, narrowly missing their second straight win after leading 21-10 in the fourth quarter.

“That was a gut-wrencher there,” UConn coach Jim Mora said. “When you play your ass off, when the players played as hard as they could play, when it came down to it, we did not do enough as a team to win it.”

Sophomore Cam Edwards stepped up in the backfield after Victor Rosa went down with an ankle sprain, logging a career-high 149 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown run and a touchdown catch.

Mora said Tuesday that it was too early to determine Rosa’s status against Boston College.

“Victor is going to do everything that he can to be ready to play,” Mora said.

UConn’s Jackson Mitchell is coming off his second 15-tackle effort in three games. The linebacker also led the team with 12 stops in the Huskies’ 13-3 win over Boston College on Oct. 29, 2022. Huskies defensive lineman Eric Watts had 2.5 sacks in that victory over the Eagles, who fell to 12-1-2 in the all-time series.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos (1) runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College runs over Georgia Tech for third straight victory

Thomas Castellanos and Kye Robichaux each rushed for a pair of touchdowns to lift visiting Boston College to a 38-23 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.

Castellanos threw for 255 yards and rushed for 128 more, including a 12-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter and a 43-yard scamper midway into the fourth.

Robichaux scored from 2 and 3 yards out in the fourth quarter to highlight his 165-yard performance.

Amari Jackson returned an interception for a touchdown for the Eagles (4-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who returned from their bye week to win their third straight game. Boston College finished with 563 total yards, including 308 on the ground.

Quarterback Haynes King threw for a touchdown and rushed for another for the Yellow Jackets (3-4, 2-2). He totaled 150 yards on the ground, however he completed just 14 of 32 passes for 204 yards with three interceptions.

Castellanos converted a fourth down with an 11-yard run and then added a 12-yard rush for a touchdown. The latter rush capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive and staked Boston College to a 17-10 lead with 52 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

King scampered 71 yards for a touchdown early in the third before tossing a dart to a cutting Avery Boyd for a 19-yard score later in the quarter. Aidan Birr missed the extra point, however, keeping Georgia Tech’s lead at 23-17.

Robichaux powered his way over right guard and extended the ball over the goal line to give Boston College a 24-23 lead just 36 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Castellanos scored from 43 yards out on a fourth-down play with 8:44 left in the fourth quarter, and Robichaux added his second touchdown just 80 seconds later to seal the win.

Jamal Haynes capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive by rushing 16 yards for a touchdown to stake Georgia Tech to a 7-3 lead at 3:49 of the first quarter.

Boston College failed to respond offensively on its ensuing drive, however Jackson stepped in front of Yellow Jackets wideout Dominick Blaylock and pinned the ball to his hip for his first interception of the season. Jackson, a Georgia native, immediately scooted in for a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; West Point, New York, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Thomas Castellanos (1) carries the ball against the Army Black Knights during the second half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College, Georgia Tech come off bye weeks with momentum

Georgia Tech benefited from an egregious error by its opponent to rally to an improbable victory in its last game.

Fresh off a bye week, the Yellow Jackets (3-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) look to ratchet up the intensity in their return to the gridiron for a clash versus Boston College (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.

Haynes King recorded his sixth multi-touchdown performance after passing for one score and rushing for another in Georgia Tech’s last-second 23-20 win over then-No. 17 Miami on Oct. 7.

While pleased with the result, Yellow Jackets coach Brent Key maintained Tuesday that he is looking ahead — not behind.

“We played for 60 minutes in the last game, but what’s your identity? Your identity is not what you did prior, it’s what you do next and how you can consistently do that,” Key said. “That’s why I talked to the team this week about having a work ethic versus a want ethic. Everyone wants to go do it, but we’ve got to put the work in during the week and then have the right frame of mind and the right mindset that we take the field with.”

Converted wideout Jamal Haynes leads Georgia Tech in rushing (409 yards) and averages a robust 5.7 yards per carry. He also has 12 catches for 112 yards.

Like the Yellow Jackets, Boston College is fresh off its bye week. The Eagles enter Saturday’s contest after posting 27-24 wins over both Virginia (Sept. 30) and Army (Oct. 7).

Sophomore Thomas Castellanos threw for two touchdowns versus the Cavaliers and rushed for four more against the Black Knights to give Boston College its longest winning streak since 2021.

“You have to imagine now teams are going to have to bring an extra guy in the box when you have a quarterback who can run the way he has run,” Eagles coach Jeff Hafley said. “But it’s not like we are playing wildcat. He can throw the ball.

“He can throw it from in the pocket, he can throw it on boot(leg)-type plays and he can sprint out. If you bring guys up, we have guys that can run by you. I think you are going to see him take off throwing the ball in the next weeks.”

Castellanos, a transfer from UCF and native of Waycross, Ga., leads the team in rushing (500 yards) and has seven scores on the ground.

–Field Level Media