UConn beats Boston College for first time behind 5 takeaways

Oct 29, 2022, 12:37 AM | Updated: 2:36 pm
Connecticut quarterback Zion Turner (11) drops back to pass during the first half of an NCAA colleg...

Connecticut quarterback Zion Turner (11) drops back to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (Jessica Hill/Hartford Courant via AP)

(Jessica Hill/Hartford Courant via AP)

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Zion Turner threw for a touchdown, the UConn defense forced five turnovers and the Huskies beat Boston College 13-3 on Saturday for their first win in the series dating to 1908.

BC starter Phil Jurkovec and Emmett Morehead combined to throw three interceptions, helping the Huskies get their first win against the Eagles in 15 tries (1-12-2). It was also the school’s first victory over a Power Five program since 2016.

“I know that the University of Connecticut has never beaten Boston College in football except for today,” UConn first-year coach Jim Mora said. “It’s a great feeling. It’s a heck of an accomplishment and we hope it builds hope, we hope it brings people back into the stadium, we hope it shows that we’re on the right trajectory.”

Facing constant pressure behind an inexperienced offensive line, Jurkovec started 12 of 19 for 155 yards with two interceptions before suffering a lower-body injury trying to avoid a tackle midway through the third quarter. He did not return following a brief visit to the sideline medical tent and will be reevaluated Sunday, according to a school spokesperson. Morehead didn’t fare much better, completing 9 of 18 passes for 104 yards.

“Their defense stopped us over and over again,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said. “We had chances, but we need to coach better on offense and make more plays on offense. It’s coaching and playing.”

UConn accounted for five sacks, 2.5 by Pryce Yates.

“We thought they had some guys that could play and some guys that we could take advantage of,” Yates said. “We just got after it like every other week.”

The Huskies, back from their bye week, wasted little time getting on the board as Turner connected with Justin Joly for a 62-yard touchdown on the game’s third play. It was UConn’s longest play from scrimmage this season, and it was also the second score in as many games for Joly, a freshman tight end.

UConn’s defense stepped up moments later, stuffing Jurkovec on a quarterback keeper from the Huskies 34. The Huskies promptly took advantage of the short field by extending their lead to 10-0 on a 31-yard field goal by Noe Ruelas.

Interceptions by Chris Shearin and Durante Jones in the first half helped the Huskies preserve the lead. Jackson Mitchell had a pick of his own in the fourth quarter while adding a game-high 12 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

Now 4-5, the Huskies have their most wins since 2015 when they last reached a bowl.

“Beating a Power Five team, a team we haven’t beaten yet in history, is huge,” Mitchell said. “For this team to really do it, the team that’s trying to flip the switch and change the program, is obviously really exciting.”

Turner finished 11 of 19 for 173 yards and one touchdown. Ruelas’ second field goal, from 43 yards, came off a fumble recovery and gave UConn a 13-3 lead with 6:26 remaining.

THE TAKEAWAY

UConn: A lopsided first quarter helped set the tone early for the Huskies. They outgained the Eagles 136-16 during that stretch in what proved to be a defensive clinic.

Boston College: It was a painful day for the Eagles, who not only lost the game but also their quarterback. They’ve now dropped three straight to fall to 2-6, and it won’t get any easier with a short week ahead.

HOLDING DOWN FLOWERS

Boston College leading receiver Zay Flowers, who entered with three 100-yard receiving games this season, was held to just two catches for 35 yards. Mora said the Huskies’ communication on defense was key to stopping him.

“That allowed us to get in some throwing lanes and make some plays,” Mora said.

UP NEXT

UConn: Northeast rival UMass visits the Huskies on Friday.

Boston College: The Eagles return to ACC play to host Duke on Friday.

___

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UConn beats Boston College for first time behind 5 takeaways