Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy scampered around Gillette Stadium in his debut with the Eagles and eventually helped them run away from Massachusetts.
Murphy ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, carrying Boston College to a 30-7 victory over the in-state rival Minutemen on Saturday in the season opener for both schools.
Murphy, a graduate transfer who played nine games for Florida last season before missing the final three with a sprained throwing shoulder, also completed 17 of 24 passes for 173 yards and threw for a TD and an interception.
“That’s what the quarterback does,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “You watch the games throughout the weekend; they make plays and put the team on their back. That’s what the quarterbacks do. You saw a little glimpse of that today.”
The game was billed as the “Battle of the Bay State” and played at the home of the New England Patriots, where Massachusetts will play half of its home schedule this season.
Unlike the NFL team that relies mostly on the arm of QB Tom Brady for its offense, the Eagles pounded the ball on the ground most of the day, rushing for 338 of their 511 total yards.
“We could start to feel they were tired,” Murphy said “We kept pounding at them and they eventually cracked.”
Blake Frohnapfel completed 9 of 22 passes for 147 yards for the Minutemen, including a 77-yard scoring toss to Tajae Sharpe.
It was coach Mark Whipple’s first game of his second stint at UMass. He coached the Minutemen from 1998-2003 and won a Division 1-AA title his first season.
“I think our defense just wore down.” Whipple said. “Their quarterback was better than ours. He was the player of the game and we didn’t tackle him very well.”
The Eagles broke it open with two long drives on their first two possessions of the second half.
“The message at halftime was to `keep pounding, the rock will crack,”‘ Addazio said. “They did exactly what they needed to do in the second half.”
Leading 6-0, BC took the ball to start the second half and marched 75 yards in 13 plays, with Myles Willis’ 1-yard touchdown run capping the drive. Two plays before the run, UMass’ defensive back Jackson Porter was flagged for pass interference in the end zone. The Eagles had five different ball carriers combine for 48 yards.
Midway into the third quarter, BC had a 302-0 edge in net rushing.
Murphy’s 1-yard scoring run capped a 10-play, 52-yard drive that made it 20-0. He connected with Josh Bordner, a QB who was converted to receiver this spring, with a 43-yard score on the first play of the fourth.
The Eagles led 6-0 at halftime after field goals from two different kickers. Alex Howell nailed a 44-yarder early in the second quarter and Mike Knoll had a 28-yarder.
Behind Murphy’s nine carries for 92 yards, the Eagles outgained the Minutemen 211-22 on the ground in the opening half.
Neither team had much success through the air in the opening half. BC, which relied on the play of graduated running back Andre Williams — a Heisman Trophy finalist — last season, seemed intent to pound the ball from the start.
The Eagles carried seven times for 51 yards on their opening drive that stalled at UMass’ 29 when Murphy threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-5.
UMass’ best scoring bid in the first came late when Blake Lewis missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
BC opens Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday night when it hosts Pittsburgh. The Minutemen host Colorado on Saturday.