On a resplendent November afternoon in which the Red Sox and their rolling rally took center stage, the Boston College football team quietly went about its quest to project Boston strength on the gridiron in an Atlantic Coast Conference game against Virginia Tech.
Just like their bearded brethren from the Fens, the Eagles proved Boston was strongest yet again, rallying from a 17-10 deficit with 6:13 left in the third quarter, outscoring the Hokies, 24-10, the remainder of the second half to claim a 34-27 triumph before an Alumni Stadium crowd of 30,127.
Andre Williams exemplified BC’s strength — its running attack — by rushing 33 times for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a game-clinching 62-yard jaunt off right tackle. The Eagles (4-4, 2-3) forced four turnovers, and scored 17 points off the first three, and remained on track for bowl eligibility, needing to win two of their last four games.
Williams, who last week eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, emphatically scored BC’s first touchdown, running off right tackle on a counter and shedding three would-be tacklers on a 19-yard run to cap a 10-play, 69-yard drive that gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
Williams’s ninth rushing touchdown of the season was set up by Chase Rettig’s surprising 19-yard run on a quarterback draw, which converted a third-and-10 from the Tech 39.
After going punt, punt, punt on their first three possessions, the Hokies responded when Trey Edmunds scored on 1-yard TD to cap a nine-play, 76-yard march that enabled Virginia Tech to tie it, 7-7.
Virginia Tech senior Cody Journell, who missed a pair of field goals in last week’s 13-10 loss to Duke, was good on both of his attempts, including a career-long 56-yarder that enabled the Hokies to control a 10-7 lead at halftime.
After Manny Asprilla returned an interception 49 yards to the Tech 15, Nate Freese capped the drive with a 25-yard field goal that tied it, 10-10, with 10:27 left in the third quarter. The Hokies then went 82 yards in eight plays, with Joshua Stanford recording the biggest gain on a 69-yard catch-and-run to the BC 1, where Logan Thomas hit Kalvin Cline with a 1-yard TD toss on fourth and goal.
Trailing 17-10, the Eagles capitalized on Brian Mihalik’s recovery of Kasim Edebali’s strip-sack of Thomas when Jake Sinkovec hauled in a 2-yard TD pass from Rettig to tie it, 17-17, with 1:20 left in the third.
After Journell converted a 47-yarder to give the Hokies a 20-17 lead, Freese answered with a 43-yarder to tie the game yet again, 20-20, with 8:45 to go.
The Eagles blew the game open when Kevin Pierre-Louis returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown that made it 27-20 with 7:00 left. Then, after BC’s defense was spurred by a fortuitous reversal of a pass-interference call, the Eagles took over on downs at their 38, where Williams punctuated the triumph with his 62-yard TD.
It provided the buffer the Eagles would need to withstand a final score by the Hokies on Trey Edmunds’s 22-yard TD off a screen pass from Thomas with 2:54 left.