|BC running back Andre Williams has nowhere to run with Eddie Whitley wrapped around him. (Don petersen/Associated Press)|
Eagles fizzle out after solid start
Virginia Tech gets going in 2d half
BLACKSBURG, Va. - They have tried so many things to change the flow of games that they’ve let slip away.
And they have made progress fixing some things.
Yesterday, in a game in which few people gave Boston College much of a chance against Virginia Tech - especially on homecoming day at Lane Stadium - coach Frank Spaziani’s team started off in good form and put together some highlight film plays in the fourth quarter.
But once again, it was not enough and the result was another loss for the Eagles, who dropped a 30-14 decision to the No. 16 Hokies in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest.
BC is now 0-4 and 1-6 overall, while Tech is 7-1 and 3-1. The Hokies seem to be on course for a rematch against Clemson in the ACC title game in December. The difference between the Eagles and Hokies was clearly evident in the third quarter when Tech scored a pair of touchdowns to turn a 7-6 halftime deficit into a 20-7 edge and pretty much secured the outcome.
Spaziani, who has tweaked his lineup throughout the season, could only shake his head in frustration at another loss.
“I can’t be negative’’ said Spaziani, whose pregame speech appeared to inspire the Eagles and translated into an opening-drive touchdown. “There was some positive stuff, two quick three-and-out stops on Virginia Tech’s first two possessions. But we just need to win games. There are a couple of things that we need to do to get it across the line and we’re not doing that right now. It’s encouraging that we are getting better, but we need to get better faster.’’
What the Eagles needed was a quick start.
And that’s what they got. After stopping Tech on three downs on its first series, punter Michael Branthover squibbed a kick only 9 yards, giving BC the ball at the Tech 35.
BC quarterback Chase Rettig wasted no time establishing control. On a second and 12, Rettig scrambled out of the pocket and found wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr open on the 25. Larmond scooted to the 2. On the next play, Rettig rolled into the end zone for the TD and 7-0 lead with 12:01 left in the first period.
“The first drive was encouraging, defense was playing well,’’ said Rettig, who completed 13 of 30 passes for 181 yards and one TD.
The Eagles maintained their positive mode the rest of the quarter, which ended with BC holding a lead and moving the ball.
The trend continued and BC took a 7-6 lead into the half. Now all they had to do was hold the lead.
But Tech took control, finding ways for quarterback Logan Thomas (22 of 36 268 yards, 1 TD) and running back David Wilson (17 carries, 134 yards, including a 42-yard TD run) to get more involved.
BC, conversely, came out flat in the third quarter.
“We like to think we get better as the day goes along,’’ said Tech coach Frank Beamer, who watched his team force BC into a quick three-and-out on its first series.
The Hokies took advantage of the three-and-out and quickly converted it into a 60-yard, five-play drive highlighted by Wilson’s TD run.
“We played well in the first half, and then like we said the whole year, big plays hurt us,’’ said BC middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who again led the way with 19 tackles. “We have to [be alert] every play, every time. That’s how it’s got to be. We played well on defense, but we have to play a complete game.’’
After Wilson’s TD run, BC was again in the catch-up mode, which it has been all season.
The Eagles seemed like they were headed in that direction, but after reaching the Virginia Tech 22, BC committed its first turnover on a Rettig interception over the middle. Starting from their own 11, Tech grinded away, using the talents of Wilson to march down the field.
The Hokies soon scored again as Thomas connected with flanker Marcus Davis on a 20-yard TD pass that increased the lead to 20-7 and put them in control.
When Thomas went in for another TD from the 1 in the first minute of the fourth quarter for a 27-7 lead, the Hokies had sewed up their fourth consecutive victory over BC.
But the Eagles and Rettig were not quite finished as Rettig (one interception, four sacks) finished an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Chris Pantale to cut the Hokies’ lead to 27-14 with 9:08 left.
If there was going to be a miracle finish similar to the one four years ago when Matt Ryan rallied the Eagles in the final seconds, BC needed some defensive stops and some Hokie mistakes.
Neither happened as BC went into next week’s game at Maryland still looking for its second victory of the season.
“Once again there were a lot of things out there that we did and we just need to keep going forward,’’ said Spaziani. “They wore us down a bit and made some big plays and we just didn’t make the big plays when we had the chance.’’
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at email@example.com.