When Boston College hosts Duke to resume Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday in Chestnut Hill, Mass., one team will hope to stay on its current trajectory and the other will try to reverse course entirely.
Fresh off a bye, Duke (5-3, 2-2 ACC) is looking to build upon its 45-21 win at Miami from Oct. 22. The Blue Devils’ two prior games were three-point losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
First-year coach Mike Elko’s team has been a surprise, as Duke had five wins in 2020 and 2021 combined. Now, bowl eligibility is one win away.
“Let’s go get greedy in November,” Elko said, recalling his postgame speech at Miami. “Let’s see what we can really get done.”
Senior wide receiver Eli Pancol (“probably” out for the season, leg) and redshirt junior kicker Charlie Ham (personal reasons) won’t play this week.
Elko’s team should be energized and focused when Duke plays in Chestnut Hill for the first time since 2011. Still, one bye week doesn’t cure everything.
“I told the kids, ‘You’ll feel 100 percent sometime around February,'” Elko said.
Sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard rushed for three touchdowns as Duke piled up at least 200 rushing yards for the fifth time. It turned Miami over eight times and pitched shutouts in the second and fourth quarters.
BC (2-6, 1-4) looks to curb a three-game skid after falling 13-3 last Saturday at UConn, its first-ever loss to the Huskies and first to any New England opponent since 1978.
The Eagles totaled more yards (335) than their previous two games, but an opening touchdown drive by UConn, five turnovers and the loss of quarterback Phil Jurkovec to a lower-body injury proved to spell their downfall.
“I need to do a better job, we need to play better, and our coaches need to coach better,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “We don’t have much time because we’re playing Friday.”
Jurkovec didn’t practice on Monday. Redshirt freshman Emmett Morehead threw for 104 yards following Jurkovec’s injury.
“We had a bunch of guys that didn’t practice (to start the short week), but I know he’s working hard to get back,” Hafley said.
Injuries have especially hurt BC’s offensive line. Redshirt junior Jack Conley has played every game, doing so at four different positions. –Field Level Media