With five games down and seven games to go, Boston College is roughly halfway through the 2021 season. And standing at 4-1 there isn't much to complain about, especially given the circumstances around the loss of starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Let's take a look at some of the highs and lows of the (almost) first half of football.
High: The defense has come to play this season. They held Colgate to zero, Temple to 3 and Clemson to 19, with an average points per game allowed of 16.8, down by 12 from 2020. Some of that is due to the opponents, but the play has improved as well. We have seen some strong play out of the linebackers, secondary and even up front. Isaiah Graham Mobley and Kam Arnold have solidified a position that many were worried about heading into this season, Brandon Barlow has had a handful of big plays, and the defensive tackles have looked good.
Low: The injury to Phil Jurkovec. If he remains healthy, there is no limit to what this team could have done this year. They absolutely would have beaten Clemson, and there isn't another game on the schedule that BC wouldn't be either favored or only a slight underdog in.
High: Patrick Garwo has been a revelation at running back this year. After missing chunks of last season with injury, he has helped define the offensive gameplan, giving the Eagles a reliable power back that can give the Eagles 4-5 yards (or more!) every time he touches the ball.
Low: Penalties. This isn't to say that BC has been bit by this every game. In fact the Eagles have played three clean games with only a few penalties given up. That being said, it killed the Eagles against Clemson, and happened far too often against UMass. Against better teams, BC can ill afford to let these mental mistakes happen.
High: Grant Carlson. Honestly, if you are talking about MVP of the season, Carlson should get some votes. He leads in the ACC in punting yards per punt with 47.53, and has been a gamechanger for the Eagles. He flips the field consistently, and has been a rock on special teams. If we are being honest here, most of the special teams should be a "high", as the Eagles found a place kicker in Connor Lytton, they have a blocked punt and a touchdown return as well.
High: Offensive line. It took a little time for this group to gel, but they have played at a high level the past two games. Zion Johnson and Christian Mahogany have been excellent at guard, Vrabel has had his moments but also has been inconsistent. Alec Lindstrom had the moment to end the Clemson game, which at this point could have been partially his fault, but otherwise has been spectacular.
Low: Pass Rush. Part of this seems by design, but BC has more content to try to go with more base packages on defense, and drop extra defenders. This has forced the front four to try and get more of a pass rush, which has and hasn't worked. BC is currently 106th in the country in sacks.
High: Jaden Williams. This isn't a huge surprise after his monster summer, but Williams has come on as one of BC's top receiving targets this season. He already has three touchdown catches, and continues to grow as a receiver game by game. If Zay Flowers leaves for the NFL this season, BC should have his replacement ready to go in 2022.
Low: Grosel's inconsistencies. I am not ready to put Dennis Grosel down as a "low" for the first part of the season, because he has had large chunks of games where he has been an effective game manager. And there have been times where he made plays like his fourth down dive against Mizzou, or the drive before the fumble against Clemson. But his bad moments have been woefully bad. The interceptions were almost constantly balls he should have never thrown, and he needs to work on what to do in the pocket because he hangs on to the ball far too long.
High: Shutting down Temple
Low: Letting up 28 points to UMass and allowing them to stick around for much of the game.
High: The win over Mizzou and the heroics down the stretch.
You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook and following on us on Twitter.