No. 22 Eagles Run Past Blue Devils, 28-7
Nov. 11, 2006
BOSTON (AP) - Duke couldn't gain less than a yard on a play that would have kept it in the game. Boston College wouldn't give the Blue Devils another shot to hang around.
The Blue Devils failed to get a first down on fourth down from the BC 2 when a touchdown would have tied the game early in the third quarter. The Eagles then marched 97 yards on the ensuing drive, scoring on Andre Callender's 26-yard run that sparked them to a 28-7 win Saturday night over winless Duke.
"When they went for it on fourth, I knew we were going to have to make a play," said linebacker Jolonn Dunbar, who went over the top to throw Thaddeus Lewis for a 1-yard loss. "To see the offense go 97 yards, that was icing on the cake."
No. 22 BC (8-2, 4-2) remained one game behind Maryland and Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division. To reach the ACC championship game Dec. 2 against Coastal Division winner Georgia Tech, BC must win its last two games against Maryland and Miami, while Wake Forest must lose its remaining games against Virginia Tech and Maryland. Wake Forest would win the tiebreaker over the Eagles because it beat them.
L.V. Whitworth and Callender each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown and Matt Ryan threw for the other two scores. The victory came one week after a 21-14 loss to Wake Forest in which the Eagles ran for just 28 yards.
"Today couldn't come fast enough for us to get the bad taste out of our mouths," Whitworth said. "It was a point of emphasis to get the running game going."
But BC didn't take control until it stopped Duke (0-10, 0-6) at the goal line then couldn't be stopped going the other way.
"You'd have to think we can get six inches, but we didn't," Blue Devils coach Ted Roof said. "Then they take it the length of the field. That was the biggest exchange of the game."
"I got a good hole, but the dude jumped up and grabbed me," Lewis said. "I didn't slip."
After that play, the Eagles found their offensive footing and pulled away.
"That play really got us rolling again," BC linebacker Brian Toal said.
Duke stayed surprisingly close for half the game before reverting to its customary form and dropped its 18th straight game, the longest current losing streak in Division I-A. The Blue Devils also lost their 22nd consecutive ACC game and their 28th in the conference on the road.
"After that TD (by Whitworth), I think it switched our momentum," said Duke's Clifford Harris, whose 1-yard run tied the game 7-7 in the second quarter. "You're never happy with a loss. We know we can beat teams like BC, Maryland and Florida State. It used to be like, `Boston College, Whoa!' But we know we can compete with them."
It was the first football game between the teams since 1929 and the result was the opposite of last season's meeting for the ACC basketball tournament title, won by Duke 78-76 eight months earlier.
Like that game, the teams were within one possession of a tie when BC led 14-7 late in the first half. Then Toal intercepted a pass by Lewis 21 seconds before intermission.
Duke wasted an excellent opportunity on the first play of the 97-yard drive when it nearly tackled Callender for a safety, but the ball was placed at the 1. Callender had 55 yards on six carries on the drive.
"When you take a lot of chances on defense, which they do, sometimes then they get you," BC coach Tom O'Brien said. "But if you execute well enough, you're going to get them. We were able to get a lot of big runs because of some of the chances they took trying to stop the run."
The rout was on when Whitworth ran for a 7-yard score for the final touchdown just 1:18 into the third quarter, ending a 62-yard drive.
Whitworth finished with 118 yards on 13 carries and Callender gained 105 on 15 runs. Ryan completed 23 of 37 passes for 219 yards.
BC did score on its first possession of the game when Ryan threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Challenger. Duke tied it early in the second on Harris' run early. It stayed that way until Ryan hit Jon Loyte with a 1-yard scoring pass 31 seconds before intermission.
After facing Maryland, BC finishes the regular season the following Thursday at Miami. Duke has two chances to avoid its first winless season since 2001 with games at Georgia Tech and at home against North Carolina. The Blue Devils are 9-69 starting in 2000, when they also were winless.