Special Teams Guide Eagles to Victory
Oct. 19, 2008
BOSTON, Mass. (AP) - Rich Gunnell returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown and Boston College overcame an off-night by quarterback Chris Crane to beat No. 17 Virginia Tech 28-23 on Saturday.
Crane threw three interceptions - two of them returned for touchdowns - and fumbled away another turnover. But BC (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) stayed in the game with its defense, which limited the Hokies (5-2, 2-2) to a season-low 240 total yards.
The Eagles overcame a 10-point deficit last year in the final 3 minutes to beat the Hokies in the regular season, but Virginia Tech won the rematch in the ACC championship game. Former BC quarterback Matt Ryan, the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons, was in the stands Saturday night to watch his understudy struggle but come out with the victory.
One game after throwing for 428 yards to beat North Carolina State, Crane was 16-for-32 for 218 yards and four turnovers; he fumbled another that was recovered in the BC backfield. But he led the Eagles on a 13-play drive after the Eagles fell behind 10-0 in the opening minutes, then burned most of the last 7 minutes off the clock to seal the victory.
Brandon Robinson caught four passes for 97 yards and Ifeanyi Momah caught three for 57 yards and a TD. Montel Harris ran 15 times for 61 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles, whose fans inexplicably stormed the field after the game.
Brett Warren intercepted Crane's first pass of the game 36 yards for a touchdown, and Victor Harris picked off another Crane attempt and ran it 55 yards for a TD. The Hokies also blocked Steve Aponavicius' 39-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter.
But BC came up with some big plays, too.
Gunnell's punt return gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead with 9:08 left in the second quarter, and they never trailed again. And though Crane had his troubles, he connected on a 48-yarder to Robinson to set up one touchdown and a 41-yarder to Momah to set up another.
In all, Boston College scored 21 straight points after falling behind 10-0 on Warren's interception and, after Jeff Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Dustin Keys' 30-yard field goal with 9:31 left in the quarter.
Crane then led BC on a 13-play, 83-yard drive, hitting Clarence Megwa for 14 yards on a third-and-9 to reach the Tech 23.
Harris ran twice from the 11 to score and make it 10-7. The teams traded punts before BC stopped the Hokies again and Gunnell cut through the middle to go 65 yards ant put the Eagles ahead 14-10.
After another Tech three-and-out, Crane hit Momah for 41 yards to the 10, then the two connected again for a 10-yard touchdown play that made it 21-10. Victor Harris' 55-yard interception return cut it to 21-17.
Boston College linebacker Brian Toal, who was redshirted because of a shoulder injury last season so he could come back for a fifth year, left near the end of the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Toal was also used as a goal-line and short-yardage running back.