BOSTON—One key running back went down and Boston College just continued to run its way to bowl eligibility.
Montel Harris carried 24 times for 114 yards, including a go-ahead 4-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, to make surging Boston College bowl eligible for the 12th straight season with a 17-13 victory over slumping Virginia on Saturday.
The win was the fourth straight for the Eagles (6-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia (4-7, 1-6) has lost 6 of 8 and dropped 12 consecutive games after November 1, dating to its last November win -- a 48-0 victory over Miami on Nov. 10, 2007.
The loss may have been costly for the Eagles, who lost Harris to a left knee injury a few plays after his go-ahead score. He was taken for an MRI, but the results were not available.
"I say every week Montel works hard and he's a good back," BC coach Frank Spaziani said. "You have to have him exactly right or he slips through there."
When Harris was forced out, reserve Andrew Williams easily took his place, carrying 12 times for 108 yards.
It was the eighth 100-plus yard game of the season for Harris, who moved into second place ahead of Mike Cloud on the school's all-time list with 3,600 yards before the injury. Derrick Knight ('03) is leader with 3,725.
Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig threw a 39-yard scoring strike to Alex Amidon and Nate Freese booted a 23-yard field goal.
Robert Randolph had a pair of field goals for the Cavaliers, Perry Jones had his first career rushing touchdown, a 1-yarder midway into the second quarter, and quarterback Marc Verica completed 31 of 49 passes for 284 yards with one interception.
Harris' score pushed BC ahead 17-13 late in the third quarter, one play after backup Andre Williams busted through the middle for 59 yards on his first carry of the day. The score capped a 96-yard drive.
"They've got the best running back, or one of the best running backs in the conference, statistically, and they did a good job with what they do," Virginia coach Mike London said. "It's disappointing, but, again, no (reason) to hang your head -- gotta look forward and get ready for our final game."
Williams gave his offensive line credit for a good opening.
"The play worked perfectly," he said. "It was a big hole and I just went through it."
Spaziani said he's been telling Williams his chance would come despite being behind one of the team's best players.
"That's why you keep working hard when you're 2 or 3 on the depth chart," Spaziani said. "You keep working hard and sooner or later you'll be in there. He was ready and we needed him."
Rettig was 10-for-19 for 152 yards with one interception.
The game ended when Verica's long desperation pass was knocked down by BC linebacker Luke Kuechly near the 6-yard line.
Kuechly, who entered leading the nation in tackles, had 15 in the game.
"The past couple of games have gone to the wire," he said. "I have been joking with the coaches that we're starting to make them look old."
In last week's 21-16 win at Duke, a BC defensive lineman batted down a pass on fourth-and-goal at the 4.
The Cavaliers nearly took the lead when receiver Dontrelle Inman made a catch at the back of the end zone with just over five minutes left, but he was ruled out of bounds. Replays appeared to show he reached down with his left hand before falling out on the back line, but the ruling on the field stood after a booth review.
"I didn't see the replay. It's convenient when you're away and you're at the other place that they don't show close calls on the jumbo screen," London said. "Dontrelle said he landed on top of the guy with the ball inbounds. That's what he said, but obviously they didn't call it for us."
Randolph then missed a 25-field goal attempt.
Virginia led 13-10 at halftime after Randolph booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired. The Cavaliers took over on their 18 and looked like they were taking a gamble trying to move downfield after Verica fumbled at his 23, but two BC defensive players mishandled it and knocked it out of bounds.
Verica then completed four straight passes for 54 yards, setting up the kick.
The Cavaliers had taken a 10-3 lead on Jones' scoring run. Virginia had its second lengthy drive of the opening half, holding the ball for 13 plays. Jones scored on a fourth-and-1 play, powering up the middle.
The Eagles tied it 10-10 with 1:21 left in the first half on Rettig's 39-yard TD pass down the middle to Amidon, who went up between defenders Rodney McLeod and Mike Parker to come down with the ball. He scampered into the end zone from about 10 yards out after the defensive backs collided and fell.
On its first possession of the game, Virginia controlled the ball for a season-high 16-play drive before Randolph booted a 27-yard field goal to move ahead 3-0.
BC tied it on the ensuing possession when Freese kicked his field goal after the Eagles' drive stalled despite having a first-and-goal at the 9.