Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec ran free as a bird to the south end zone of Bobby Dodd Stadium, and with him went another wasted Saturday for Georgia Tech.

Jurkovec’s 31-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left in the game was a piercing blow in Tech’s 41-30 loss to the Eagles, the Jackets’ fourth in a row. With his team leading 31-30, Jurkovec scored on a third-and-4 play, pulling the ball out of a read-option play that the Tech defense bit on, leaving Jurkovec to lumber untouched to the end zone. Earlier in the possession, the Eagles escaped a third-and-13 on their own 7-yard line with a 21-yard pass play.

The failure to account for Jurkovec, who ran for 94 yards against the Jackets in the Eagles’ 48-27 win last year, was the capping error on a day when the Jackets gave themselves a chance to win but again stumbled over their own feet enough times to squander their chance at victory. In Tech’s seven losses, the Jackets have had a possession to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter in six of them.

On a crisp November afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 31,511, the Jackets (3-7, 2-6 ACC) ensured that they will complete a third consecutive season with a losing record, will not go to a bowl game and made very real the possibility that coach Geoff Collins will pilot the Jackets to a third consecutive three-win season, with the final remaining games against No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 1 Georgia. The last time that Tech had fewer wins in a three-year period was the first three seasons of coach Bill Curry’s tenure (1980-82), when the Jackets were 8-24-1, including a 6-5 mark in the third year.

Georgia Tech defensive lineman Kyle Kennard (31) pressures Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec on a pass play during Boston College’s 41-30 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Nov. 13, 2021. (Photo by Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech AThl

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Credit: Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech AThl

Tech’s pass-coverage deficiencies were exploited yet again, this time by Jurkovec. Wide receivers Zay Flowers ran past cornerback Tre Swilling for a 48-yard touchdown pass and later beat safety Juanyeh Thomas on a corner route for a 39-yard scoring pass, both in the first half.

Last in the ACC in passing-efficiency defense, the Jackets were again ineffective in pressuring the quarterback or covering effectively. Jurkovec needed only 13 completions (on 20 attempts) to accumulate 310 passing yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Boston College (6-4, 2-4) finished with 505 yards of total offense, its season high against an FBS opponent. It’s the fourth consecutive game that Tech’s opponent has recorded its season high for total offense against FBS competition or all opponents.

Tackling was another issue that remained problematic. Jurkovec scored on a 14-yard keeper in the second quarter in which he eluded at least three tackle tries on his way to the end zone. The touchdown gave the Eagles a 28-21 halftime lead.

Jordan Yates started in place of Jeff Sims, who was out with an injury and watched from the sidelines with his right foot in a walking boot. Making his fourth start of the season and his career, Yates was his playmaking self. For the first half, at least, he ran the offense efficiently, completed passes to eight different targets and picked up yardage on scrambles and designed keepers. He was 17-for-28 passing for 126 yards with a touchdown and a critical interception in the red zone in the third quarter. He ran 12 times for 47 yards, including a 2-yard keeper for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Another phenomenal performance by running back Jahmyr Gibbs went to waste. Gibbs ran back a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown that tied the score in the first quarter and finished with 223 all-purpose yards, his sixth game in a row with at least 155 all-purpose yards and his third in a row with more than 200.

Penalties also plagued the Jackets again, getting flagged 11 times for 95 yards, both season highs. After being called for 5.3 penalties per game in the first seven games, Tech has been penalized 26 times in the past three.

The most costly may have been on a Tech kickoff early in the second quarter after Yates had scored on a 2-yard keeper that gave the Jackets a 21-7 lead, the third of three consecutive touchdowns after Boston College took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive.

An Eagles player bobbled the ensuing kickoff and fell on it, which would have pinned Boston College inside its 10-yard line and giving Tech a chance to build on momentum. However, the Jackets were called for offside on the kickoff, and on the re-kick, Travis Levy returned the kick to the 40 with a five-yard Tech penalty tacked on, a swing of more than 35 yards. The Eagles turned that gift into a touchdown, the 39-yard pass to Flowers.