At 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, the anticipated season opener between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Boston College Eagles kicked off in BC’s Alumni Stadium. After 60 minutes of attention-grabbing football, the Scarlet Knights came up on top by just one point, despite being on the losing side of the scoreboard for nearly the entire game.
Just three hours before kickoff, USA Today reporter Chris Iseman tweeted that Rutgers’ star quarterback Noah Vedrel would be unavailable after suffering an undisclosed injury earlier this week. This adds to Rutgers’ already extensive injury list, including starting RB Aaron Young who remains questionable with an undisclosed injury.
Rutgers QB Noah Vedral is unavailable today vs. Boston College because of an undisclosed injury, per sources. He is considered week to week.
— Chris Iseman (@ChrisIseman) September 3, 2022
The Eagles opted to defer after winning the coin toss, placing the opening kickoff of the season in the hands of their starting kicker and TikTok star Danny Longman. Rutgers’ kick returner Joshua Youngblood carried the ball from his own two-yard line for a 26-yard gain to the 28. After tight end Johnny Lagman ran for four yards, he was quickly replaced by true freshman Gavin Wismat, who was then replaced by Adam Simon, who finished the drive with a three and out that led to the first of many punts from Rutgers’ Adam Korsak.
On his first play of the season, Boston College’s star Quarterback Phil Jurkovec was sacked but managed to fall back onto the ball before Rutgers’ defensive line could sweep it up. Finally, after three straight punts, the Eagles had their first big play of the game; a 43-yard catch and run by former Notre Dame tight end George Takacs in the fifth minute. This huge play set Jurkovec up for a clean loft up and into the end zone to star wide receiver, Zay Flowers, who made a spectacular catch despite being under tight coverage. This touchdown drive would be the last score of the quarter, despite several massive plays by Rutgers, including a 47-yard run by Gavin Wimsatt.
After just over a minute of play in the second quarter, Aron Cruikshank caught a shovel pass from Kyle Monangai at Boston College’s 33-yard line, where he would start a run all the way to the end zone, giving the Scarlet Knights their first touchdown of the game. Kicker Jude McAtamney failed to tie up the game after sending the extra point far right of the goalpost.
The Eagles started a new drive 31-yard catch and run by Zay Flowers, which set up for a 79-yard drive of nothing but highlights for Flowers. After crawling up the field through short running and passing plays, Jurkovec completed a 25-yard throw to a slanting Zay Flowers, who took the ball in for his second touchdown of the afternoon. Connor Lytton topped off the drive with the extra point to put Boston College up 14-6, which would end up being the final score of the half.
Rutgers seemed to finally get started on their comeback in the early stages of the second half. After two straight tackles for losses, the Scarlet Knights’ defensive line pounced on a low snap from center Kendall Drew, giving the offensive a golden opportunity to score from the seven-yard line. Rutgers capitalized with a handoff to Kyle Monongai, who took the ball in from the one-yard line for his first touchdown of the season on second down. The Knights went for a two-point conversion to tie the game, but failed to convert and remained at 14-12.
A 29-yard kick return by the Eagles wide receiver Jaden Williams set up the Eagles’ third and final scoring drive of the game. After a second down throw to Zay Flowers brought the Eagles into enemy territory, Jurkovec seemed to hit his stride again after the fumble earlier in the quarter. On second and nine, he completed a 26-yard throw to George Takacs, bringing the Eagles just one yard short of the red zone. After a first-down sack, Jurkovec completed another throw to Zay Flowers, which set up Jurkovec for an easy lob to Jaden Williams to score the Eagles’ final touchdown of the day. Once again, Lytton converted the extra point, finishing three for three on the day.
Despite being down by nine points late in the second half, Rutgers still managed to put up one last scoring drive before the final quarter of play. After BC was forced to punt due to a penalty, the Knights were set up at the 43-yard line by Cruikshank. After this came a 13-yard second-down run by Evan Simon. On top of the big gain, a late hit by Eagle defensive back Josh DeBerry gave Rutgers another 15 yards to set them up at the 30-yard line. A first down by Monangai brought the Knights into the red zone, but three straight incompletions forced Rutgers to settle for a field goal.
Quarter four was a tough one to watch for Boston College fans. After an incredible drive to the Knights’ 30-yard line, Jurkovec threw an interception. Two straight drives fizzled out into punt from both teams, but finally, Rutgers began their game-winning drive from their own four-yard line. After a slow crawl into Eagles territory, Al-Shadee Salaam made a 27-yard run to put the Knights just 22 yards away from victory. On the next play, he took another handoff, this time topping off the drive with the 22-yard run that Rutgers needed. Jude McAtamney delivered on the extra point, to put Rutgers on top.
The 2:33 left on the clock after this drive may have been enough for the Boston College Eagles to take back their lead, but the tough defensive line of Rutgers made the rest of Jurkovec’s afternoon a nightmare, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated Boston College 22-21 in a well-fought battle of strength, speed, and wit.