Jeff Hafley looks to build on early success as BC hosts Colgate

National Sports

Coach Jeff Hafley hopes to build on an impressive debut season in Chestnut Hill as Boston College hosts Colgate in a nonconference matchup to open the season on Saturday afternoon.

Boston College went 6-5 (5-5 ACC) in Hafley’s first season as a collegiate head coach after serving as co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2019. The Eagles were bowl-eligible but elected to end their pandemic-isolated season early to allow players to go home to their families.

Hafley’s six wins were the most among first-year FBS head coaches last season.

“We’re definitely ready,” Hafley told ACC Network’s Packer & Durham show Monday. “It’s a little weird, last year at this time … we didn’t kick off until about (September) 19th, so (I’m) excited to start a normal year at the normal time with some fans and students, and really, really excited to kick off the college football season.”

Phil Jurkovec, a redshirt-junior quarterback who transferred to BC from Notre Dame for the 2020 season, returns as the starter under center after throwing for 2,558 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions a season ago. BC ranked 24th in the country last season in passing offense, averaging 284.2 yards per game.

Defensively, the Eagles ranked 73rd nationally in total defense with 416.8 yards allowed per game.

The Eagles return 20 starters this season — including all five offensive lineman. The line is anchored by graduate Zion Johnson, who received 2021 Associated Press preseason first-team All-America honors.

With Patriot League athletics canceled last fall due to the pandemic, Colgate played only two games during its spring season. The Raiders lost 24-10 at Lafayette on March 13 and were defeated 40-8 at Fordham on April 3. Colgate went 4-8 in its last full season in 2019 and finished last in the 2021 Patriot League preseason poll.

“We do have to build this program back to a championship level,” said first-year Colgate coach Stan Dakosty, who was promoted from interim status after Dan Hunt stepped down in May. “You’re going to see a team that hates to lose. People ask, do you love to win or do you hate to lose? I hate to lose. That’s going to be evident as well.”

Saturday’s game marks the first-ever meeting between Boston College and Colgate. The Eagles last faced a Patriot League opponent in 2018, when they routed in-state foe Holy Cross 62-14.

–Field Level Media

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