Chestnut Hill, Mass. – Anybody that knows anything about Greg Schiano’s teams, they will fight to the very end. The “CHOP” is real.
The Scarlet Knights football (1-0) opened the 2022 season on a very high note with a come-from-behind 22-21 victory over Boston College Eagles (0-1) on Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts in front of a announced crowd of 35,048.
It was the Scarlet Knights’ first visit to Alumni Stadium since 2004, the seventh win over BC and first since 1991.
The win marked the 14th fourth-quarter comeback win under head coach Greg Schiano, with the most recent previously being 2021 at Illinois. It was also the second time in the last three seasons overcoming a nine-point deficit in the second half (2020 at Purdue).
“They’re a young team and started the game with some young team mistakes and made some nervous errors, I guess,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “It was a great lesson that if you can stay in the moment; that was the whole thing, trying to keep them in the moment. Eventually, we got there.”
The Scarlet Knights lost the last 11 contests against the Eagles, which holds a 20-7-1 edge in the series. Rutgers found a way to get out their own way in which it started with first-and-goal at the 10 only to end the drive with a punt on fourth-and-goal from the 43.
Despite playing from behind most of the contest, Rutgers went on a 12-play, 96-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth to seal the game against an quality opponent such as Boston College.
The Scarlet Knights rushed the ball 11 times on the drive, capping it off by a 22-yard touchdown scamper by RB Al-Shadee Salaam, his first-career rushing touchdown.
“We practice this a lot,” said quarterback Gavin Wimsatt, who played the final drive. “We’ve been through it a lot. We feel like we were focused on it.”
Phil Jurkovec fumbled away a low snap that led to a TD by the Scarlet Knights, the redshirt senior found Jaden Williams in the left corner of the end zone, making it 21-12 lead halfway through the third quarter before the Scarlet Knights came storming back.
Jurkovec, who transferred from Notre Dame before the 2020 season, went 23 of 41 for 283 yards with two picks. Flowers had 10 catches for 125 yards.
Aron Cruickshank had a 26-yard TD run and Kyle Monangai a 1-yard touchdown for the Knights.
Jude McAtamney’s 33-yard field goal trimmed BC’s lead to 21-15.
“That’s probably the most disheartening part is that they were able to run for 90-something yards and not throw the ball and score,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said.
Monangai’s score had sliced the Eagles lead to 14-12 before Rutgers failed on the 2-point attempt.
“This is a hard one,” Hafley said. “I felt like we had every opportunity to take the game over. I feel like every opportunity we had to put them away, we let them back into it.”
Jurkovec’s first TD to Flowers was an 11-yard, back-shoulder pass into the right corner of the end zone, making it 7-0 halfway into the opening quarter. His second gave BC a 14-6 lead late in the second when the receiver caught the ball over the middle and darted into the end zone near the right pylon for a 26-yard score.
“I felt like we had every opportunity to take the game over,” said Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley. “Every opportunity we had to put them away, we let them back into it. Usually when you do that, you lose the game.”
Rutgers: They struggled most of the day on offense, rotating two QBs and threw for just 110 yards. It’s something they’ll need to figure if they want to have a successful season in the BIG10.
Boston College: The play of Jurkovec and the speedy Flowers will go a long way if the Eagles are to have their first season with more than seven victories since 2009. When they get into Atlantic Coast Conference play, teams are likely going to double up coverage against Flowers.