Josh Bordner created the opening, running from the other side of the formation and cut blocking the last North Carolina State defender with a chance at preventing Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy from breaking free down the right sideline.
Murphy capitalized, eventually outrunning other Wolfpack defenders for a 47-yard touchdown during the Eagles' win over N.C. State on Oct. 11.
"I saw a defender getting ready to tackle me," said Murphy, a transfer from Florida. "The next thing, I see Josh diving at the guy, cutting him, and the next thing I know I see green grass. He sprung me free for the touchdown. And after the play, I just kind of went up to him and said, 'Nice block. Thank you. I wouldn't have done that without you.'"
To Murphy, Bordner is the "heartbeat" of Boston College's offense.
A quarterback his first four years at Boston College, Bordner was not going to be in the mix for the Eagles' starting job after Murphy transferred in January.
Eager to contribute rather than spending his redshirt senior season on the bench, the Century grad and former Carroll County Times Player of the Year met with Eagles coach Steve Addazio to figure out an area he could contribute.
The two decided on wide receiver, although the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Bordner also lines up at tight end and as an H-back in Boston College's run-heavy offense.
After seeing minimal playing time at quarterback in previous years, Bordner has played in all 12 games this season, started nine, and he has a team-high 26 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns heading into the Eagles' Pinstripe Bowl matchup with Penn State on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium.
"It's definitely been a journey," said Bordner, who had not played wide receiver or any other position on offense besides quarterback since his sophomore season at Century. "There have been a lot of ups and downs. I'm just glad I stuck with it, and I'm glad how this last season has turned out. I feel like there were a bunch of times I could've hung up the cleats or gone somewhere else. But I'm glad I stuck with it, and I'm really pleased with how this season has turned out."
Bordner caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' season-opening win over Massachusetts, posted three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against Maine on Sept. 20, and he caught a 6-yard touchdown during Boston College's 17-13 loss to No. 24 Clemson on Oct. 18.
Bordner has also become a presence for the Eagles as a blocker, wide receivers coach Todd Fitch said, and has helped Boston College (7-5, 4-4 ACC) rush for an average of 251.8 yards per game.
"We knew he had good hands and, once he got comfortable running routes, would be able to catch the ball. That wasn't a surprise to us," Fitch said. "But the biggest surprise is how well he's grown as a blocker on the second level, the linebacker level and at the point of attack. He's probably handled that and grown the most there during the course of the season."
A respected team leader, Bordner was selected by his teammates as one of four team captains prior to the season.
"Usually captains come from a guy having a great junior year or being a significant contributor throughout his career here," Fitch said. "But he had the respect of the seniors and the returning upperclassmen that he was elected captain and hadn't really played here.
"I think that tells you what his teammates think about what kind of guy he is behind-the-scenes, his makeup, his leadership capabilities and just the respect the guys on the team have for him. … I think that's probably the best statement you can make about him."
At Boston College football's senior banquet last week, Addazio was seated at the same table as Bordner and told the Sykesville native that he thinks Bordner would make a good coach.
Border is scheduled to finish a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program during the spring. He said he hopes to receive an opportunity in the NFL and could improve his chances with a strong showing against Penn State. Bordner said he is also intrigued about a career in coaching, especially after Addazio's comments at the banquet.
"It kind of made me rethink that again," Bordner said. "I want to do something that I love, and I obviously love and care about football. So I haven't really thought about it. But it's definitely something that I wouldn't mind doing. I just want to do something that I'm passionate about, and I think it would be easy to be passionate about coaching football or scouting or whatever. …
"I don't know. We'll see. I just want to finish my MBA and then go from there."
Latest College Sports
Reach staff writer Matt Zenitz at 410-857-7896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.