Ryan Leads BC Back To 14-10 Victory Over Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Matt Ryan bought some time, scrambling to his left away from the Virginia Tech rush while searching for an open receiver.
He found just what he was looking for, fired a pass all the way across the field and kept No. 2 Boston College perfect.
Call it Ryan's Heisman moment.
The senior quarterback threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Andre Callender with 11 seconds left and the Eagles validated themselves as national title contenders with an improbable 14-10 victory over No. 8 Virginia Tech on Thursday night.
Boston College avoided becoming the fourth second-ranked team to lose in the last four weeks, with Ryan throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:11 after doing little for the first 55 minutes against the Hokies' swarming defense.
"Well, you know there's still time left on the clock," Ryan said. "You know you still have a shot and you still got a chance. We've been in this situation so many times through the course of the year in practice and we've prepared ourselves really well."
Boston College (4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), second in the BCS standings this week, improved to 8-0 for the first time since 1942. Despite the fast start, some were skeptical of the Eagles, who had only played one ranked team before Virginia Tech.
Ryan finished 25-for-52 for 285 yards with two interceptions, but the final numbers hardly told the story.
"That's what Heisman's do," Hokies defensive end Chris Ellis said. "They don't ever give up. We beat the O-line, put licks on him and he came through at the end. He had a 2-minute drill -- two of them. He did what he had to do."
With the Hokies (6-2, 3-1) leading 10-0 late in the fourth and the Eagles backed up against their own goal line, Ryan finally found a rhythm. He led a 91-yard scoring drive, capped by a 16-yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell with 2:11 left.
"Matt Ryan, what he did tonight, along with the receivers and the whole crew there in the last three minutes of the game, that was special," first-year coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "There wasn't one bit of panic -- nothing -- with those kids, especially that guy."
Jagodzinski was pointing to Ryan.
After BC recovered an onside kick at its own 34, Ryan went back to work. Three times he scrambled away from pressure to complete passes, showing off the powerful right arm NFL scouts love and some nimble feet, too.
On the deciding play, he slid to his left and spotted Callender drifting back into the end zone away from the defense. Ryan let loose, and Callender cradled in the winning score.
Sean Glennon, making his first start for the Hokies since being benched after the 48-7 loss to LSU early in the second week of the season, played steady on a soggy night at Lane Stadium. He was 15-for-25 for 149 yards with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal in the second quarter. Glennon's 41-yard hook up with Royal in the third set up Jud Dunlevy's 44-yard field goal that made it 10-0.
Glennon was replacing injured freshman Tyrod Taylor.
Virginia Tech, eighth in the BCS standings, appeared to be on its way to sneaking back into the national title race after D.J. Parker picked off Ryan's pass at Eagles 31 with 6:01 left in the fourth quarter.
The Hokies couldn't convert the interception into points.
"You think back to several times during the game where you have an opportunity to go ahead and win it," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "We just didn't quite get it done."
Ryan went 9-for-15 on the final two drives, keeping BC's high hopes from being washed away on a windy and rainy night.
The first half was played in a steady, soaking rain and neither team could get much going. The Hokies and Eagles combined for seven fumbles, though only one turnover.
The turnover set up BC at the Virginia Tech 19. The Eagles could only move backward and gave the ball back when Ryan threw incomplete under pressure on fourth-and-24.
"I told our guys at halftime don't you dare look up until the end of the game and we'll go on to win this thing," Jagodzinski said.
Hokies defensive lineman Ellis and Barry Booker harassed Ryan constantly and the Hokies sacked the BC passer three times, half as many as the Eagles had allowed in their first seven games.
Branden Ore rushed for 97 yards on 20 carries for the Hokies against BC's top-ranked run defense, which came in allowing 46 yards per game.
The Eagles' biggest win in years was far more about grit than flash, and who knows how many back in Boston even saw it with the Red Sox playing Game 2 of World Series.
As for all that Heisman stuff, Ryan shrugged it off.
"I'm happy we moved to 8-0," he said. "That's all I care about."