Quarterback Phil Jurkovec aims to help Boston College end its season on a high note and build momentum for the future as the Eagles take on East Carolina in the Military Bowl on Monday afternoon in Annapolis, Md.
Boston College (6-6) limped to the finish line with two wins in its final eight games following a 4-0 start. However, the unexpected late-season return of Jurkovec helped the Eagles steady the ship while splitting their last four games.
BC's starting quarterback missed half the season after undergoing hand surgery, but returned to lead the Eagles to back-to-back wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech on Nov. 5 and Nov. 13, respectively.
The Eagles won four of their six games with Jurkovec under center, but went 2-4 without him.
Jurkovec made waves when he announced in early December that he would return for his senior season at BC.
"I have to come back -- it's the right decision," Jurkovec said. "I'm on a mission to win this game. Really, 6-6 isn't good enough for us. It's been like that way too long here. So we're on a mission here to get that better."
Boston College's offense ranked 12th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference while averaging 24.7 points per game. However, the Eagles' defense ranked third best in the conference with 22.2 points allowed per game.
East Carolina (7-5) won four of its final five games to conclude the regular season and become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014.
Dual-threat quarterback Holton Ahlers is at the center of the Pirates' offense. The junior put together one of his better games of the season down the stretch, passing for a season-high 405 yards and three TDs in a Nov. 20 win at Navy.
Ahlers' 3,126 passing yards ranked sixth in the American Athletic Conference. The Pirates ranked fourth in the conference generating 433.8 total yards per game, while their defense ranked fourth, allowing 26.3 points per contest.
It was the first winning season at the FBS level for third-year East Carolina coach Mike Houston, who was rewarded with a five-year contract extension in December. A win would give the Pirates their first eight-win season since going 8-5 in 2014.
"It's been a good year," Houston said. "(We are) very excited about where the program is right now, where it's headed. (We're) excited about the bowl preparations and the matchup against Boston College."
East Carolina went to eight bowl games in nine seasons from 2006 to 2014 (2-6). The Pirates own a 9-11 record all-time in bowl games.
Boston College is 14-13 all-time in bowl games. The Eagles were bowl eligible at 6-6 one season ago, but opted to end the pandemic-altered season early.
--Field Level Media