No. 12 Boston College Remains Undefeated with a 24-14 Win Over UMass
Sept. 29, 2007
BOSTON (AP) - Matt Ryan led Boston College on a 96-yard drive to give the Eagles a 17-point lead over Massachusetts.
Then after UMass surprisingly cut the lead to a field goal, Ryan got BC moving again.
"We put together some nice drives when we needed to," Ryan said Saturday after throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 12 BC to a 24-14 victory over UMass. "I think that's the sign of a championship team: when you get scored on, you answer."
Andre Callender ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 32 carries, and Rich Gunnell caught six passes for 97 yards as the Eagles improved to 5-0 - their best start since 1954. Ryan was sacked once, roughed once illegally, forced to scramble three times and knocked down on a half-dozen or more other plays, but he picked apart the UMass defense when he needed to.
The BC quarterback completed 24-of-42 passes in all, going 7-for-8 on the 96-yard drive that made it 17-0 with just over 2:00 left in the first half. (Another completion was waved off because of a UMass penalty.) And, after the Minutemen made it 17-14, Ryan was 5-for-7 with a 14-yard scramble for a first down on a 61-yard drive that put the game away.
"I don't know what you do against a guy like that," UMass coach Don Brown said.
The Minutemen hadn't lost since falling to Appalachian State in the Division I-AA championship game last season; Appalachian State is better known as the team that beat Michigan 34-32 in the season opener - one of the biggest upsets in college football history.
But UMass, ranked No. 2 in the division formerly known as I-AA, couldn't pull off an upset to match its Championship Subdivision rival.
"That team has a lot of I-A transfers in it. They have (16) of them," BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "So, they're a lot better than a I-AA team and they showed it. There's a reason those guys were in the championship game last year."
Liam Coen went 12-for-21 for 151 yards and two touchdowns for the Minutemen before leaving the game with a sprained left knee early in the fourth quarter. Scott Woodward led UMass from its own 6 - scrambling for a key first down on a third-and-7 from the BC 41 - before Chris Koepplin missed a 46-yard field goal that would have pulled the Minutemen within one score.
Coen re-injured the same knee he hurt two weeks ago against Towson, but said it wasn't serious. Brown said he didn't know his quarterback's status for next week's game against Villanova.
"All I know is, I wouldn't trade that guy (Coen) for anybody in the country. If he can play, I know he will play," Brown said. "He's gotten off the turf for us once already this year."
Rasheed Rancher caught four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown for UMass.
BC opened a 17-0 halftime lead on a 37-yard field goal, Callender's 1-yard run and a 9-yard pass to Justin Jarvis that capped a drive that started on the Eagles 4. But BC's lackluster play began to cost it in the second half.
While the Eagles went three-and-out on their first three possessions of the third quarter, UMass made it 17-7 on its first play of the half when Coen found Rancher streaking down the right sideline for a 41-yard touchdown. After two more fruitless BC possessions, the Minutemen took over at the BC 38 with 6:45 left in the third quarter.
On their second play Coen hit Jeremy Horne on a short slant pattern. He broke free and raced into the end zone to cut BC's lead to 17-14.