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Va. Tech falls flat at Boston College

Knox Kadum, in for an injured Braxton Burmeister, completed 7 of 16 for 73 yards for the Hokies (4-5, 2-3).
Credit: AP
Boston College running back Travis Levy (23) carries the ball against Virginia Tech safety Tae Daley (17) and defensive back Armani Chatman (27) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON — Phil Jurkovec ran for a touchdown in his surprising return to the starting lineup for Boston College, and the Eagles halted a four-game losing streak with a 17-3 victory over Virginia Tech on Friday night in its annual red bandana game.

Jurkovec, a 6-foot-5 junior who injured his throwing hand in Week 2, was thought to be lost for the season after surgery. He completed just 7-of-13 passes for 112 yards, but gave the Eagles (5-4, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) a spark after the offense sputtered in his absence by recovering a fumble on their first drive and scoring the TD.

"I called him in and I would have said that's a 50-50 chance with the amount of reps he was going to take," BC coach Jeff Hafley said. "I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize or get him hurt. We wanted to guide him and he walked in and said: ‘I'm playing."

Hafley said Jurkovec got cleared to play last Friday.

Pat Garwo rushed for 116 yards on 30 carries and 3-yard score for BC.

Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister left with an undisclosed injury in the first quarter and didn't return. He threw just one incomplete pass before the injury.

Backup Knox Kadum completed 7 of 16 for 73 yards for the Hokies (4-5, 2-3). Malachi Thomas rushed for 70 yards.

"We made basically no plays in the passing game," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "You have to play better on the road in an environment like that to deserve to win the game."

BC wore its special red bandana-trimmed uniforms, continuing a tradition to honor Eagles' graduate Welles Crowther.

A former lacrosse player who was working in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Crowther died helping to rescue people during the attack. Survivors identified him by his signature red bandana.

Jurkovec scrambled for 11 yards on the Eagles' third offensive play, taking a hard hit that sent him sprawling to the ground. He completed his initial pass before getting picked off on his next.

"I knew if I was going to come back that I couldn't play tentatively," Jurkovec said. "I said a few prayers and went out and did it. I ran out like I can. You can't run without confidence."

After picking off Jurkovec, Virginia Tech defensive back Dorian Strong fumbled on the return and Jurkovec recovered it, with the Eagles gaining 22 yards on the possession change when they got the ball back at the Hokies' 13.

Two plays later, Jurkovec scampered around the left side for an 8-yard TD that moved BC ahead 7-0.

Jurkovec, who transferred from Notre Dame before last season and threw for more than 2,558 yards last year, the most ever by a BC QB in his first 10 games.