Huge game on a rainy Thursday night in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech playing a bit short-handed, minus All-American linebacker Vince Hall and starting true Freshman QB Tyrod Taylor, although that second part might actually be a good thing for the Hokies, allowing them to start senior QB Sean Glennon, who is definitely a more experienced man at the helm, despite giving up a lot of athleticism.
Boston College on the other hand hadn't played anyone of note in over a month and they looked a little bit rusty in the first half, especially Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Ryan, who was under pressure most of the first half from a heavy duty Virginia Tech defense.
The Hokies got a controversial TD in the first half on a pass from Glennon to wide receiver and special-teamer extraordinaire Eddie Royal to cap a 16 play, 91 yard, seven minute and 13 second drive with a catch on which it appeared he failed to get a foot down in the end zone while maintaining possession of the football. Nevertheless, even after further review, the play stood and the Hokies took a 7-0 lead into the locker room.
The Hokies added a FG in the 3rd quarter to extend their lead to 10, while the Boston College offense looked completely lost under the pressure of the Virginia Tech defense.
However, when the Eagles took over at their own 8 with just over four minutes remaining and began to drive, the game underwent a major change. Ryan hit WR Brandon Robinson for 25 yards on 2nd down, then again for another 22 on the next play. Another 20 or so to TE Ryan Purivs, 10 more on a scramble by Ryan and finally a beautiful throw and catch from Ryan to WR Rich Gunnell in the front left corner of the end zone for a 16-yard TD to put Boston College on the board for the first time with 2:11 in the 4th.
On the ensuing kickoff, Boston College tried an onside kick, which hit a Virginia Tech player and ricocheted back into the arms of an Eagle at their own 34. At this point, the momentum is clearly in favor of Boston College and Matt Ryan finally looks confident behind center and the Hokie pass rush is no longer as effective as it was for the first 55 minutes of the game. Ryan gets about 20 on a pass to Robinson, into Hokie territory and another 15 to Gunnell gets the Eagles down onto the edge of FG range for their kicker. Another 12 to WR Kevin Challenger after Ryan buys time in the pocket puts BC squarely in range to tie up the game, but a couple plays later, Ryan scrambles around in the pocket a little too long and one of his lineman picks up a hold penalty, pushing the Eagles back to the fringes of FG range. However, on the next play, Ryan again scrambles around for extra time and is rewarded by finding RB Andre Callender wide open on the opposite side of the field in the end zone for the go-ahead TD, giving BC their first lead of the game with just 11 seconds on the clock.
Boston College pulls out a win that looked exeedingly improbably 55 minutes into the game, and in doing so, Matt Ryan, despite unimpressive numbers overall (25-52, 285 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) remains one of the favorites in the race for the Heisman Trophy. But, much more importantly to Ryan and his BC teammates, the Eagles remain in strong contention for a National Championship.
Elsewhere tonight, Air Force turned the ball over five times en route to giving the game away to a New Mexico Lobo team that probably was nowhere as good as the Air Force squad. However, give credit to Rocky Long's squad for forcing those turnovers and for getting just enough offense out of RB Rodney Ferguson (146 yards on 41 whopping carries) to win in Albequerque and gain a bit of an advantage over Air Force in the race for the Mountain West.
Boise State at Fresno State tomorrow night; not an uninteresting game at all. Wouldn't amaze me to see the Bulldogs pull that one out as Boise tends to have trouble away from the blue turf.