BC rallies to stun Virginia Tech
Ryan's two-minute drill adds to his Heisman résumé
BLACKSBURG, Va. - For the first 56 minutes of last night's game at Virginia Tech, it appeared Boston College's dreams of dancing to Bourbon Street for a shot at the national championship were going to die.
Matt Ryan's hopes for the Heisman Trophy looked shot, too.
But, the Eagles persevered through a tough, rainy environment at Lane Stadium and got a little luck in what has become a magical season with an improbable 14-10 victory over the No. 8 Hokies.
Ryan threw for two touchdowns in the final 2:11, including a 24-yarder to running back Andre Callender with 11 seconds left, to silence the sellout crowd.
"I ran my route first and saw Matt scrambling," said Callender, who was held to 29 yards rushing. "I tried to get behind [the defense]. Once I saw Matt and I made eye contact with him, I knew I had to make some room to make a play."
Heading into last night's game, Boston College was arguably the least respected team to hold the nation's No. 2 ranking this season.
But the Eagles (8-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) showed the nation that even when things don't go well, they can find a way to win.
"There wasn't one bit of panic - nothing with those kids, especially that guy [Ryan]," said Eagles coach Jeff Jagodzinski, whose Eagles gained 128 yards on their first 12 drives. "At the end of the end, we pulled together and made plays. It was something else. Probably the best win I've ever been around."
Trailing, 10-0, with 4:11 to go and on their own 8, Ryan led a nine-play drive, completing four passes, including a 16-yard score to wide receiver Rich Gunnell will 2:11 left.
Then the magic came.
Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1), known for its stellar special teams play, watched BC's onside kick bounce off receiver Josh Morgan and into the arms of BC linebacker Tyronne Pruitt with 2:07 left.
"I was the safety on the play, on the opposite side where it was supposed to be kicked," Pruitt said. "There was a lot of fighting for the ball at the bottom of the pile."
Following Pruitt's magic act, Ryan went back to work from BC's 34, completing seven more passes. It appeared the Eagles scored with 36 seconds left when Ryan completed a 14-yard pass to Gunnell. But, the Eagles were called for a holding penalty.
"[Offensive coordinator] Steve [Logan] said to me, 'We will overcome this,' " Jagodzinski said. "Steve Logan did an outstanding job at the end with the play selection and putting those kids in a place to be successful."
Ryan, who looked shaky in the first three quarters after going 14 of 33 for 101 yards and one interception, redeemed himself in the final two drives to keep pace in the Heisman Trophy race.
"The was a pretty good win, especially on the road," said Ryan, who finished the night 25 of 52 for 285 yards with two scores and two picks.
"The defense kept us in the game when the offense couldn't do anything in 55 minutes. We just made plays. The two-minute type of situations, we were hustling. We didn't quit."
The Eagles, though, were not without their chances as drives stalled and they failed to take advantage of great field position provided by the punting of Johnny Ayers, who left the Hokies inside the 10-yard line three times.
It was typical Frank Beamer football - tough defense. And Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon, who started in place of injured freshman Tyrod Taylor, managed the team effectively.
Glennon bought time outside the pocket to throw for an 8-yard touchdown pass to former high school teammate Eddie Royal early in the second quarter.
The Hokies added a field goal to make it 10-0 with 5:33 left in the third quarter. That drive was highlighted by a 41-yard pass from Glennon to Royal and a crucial pass interference call against BC safety Jamie Silva.
The situation appeared to worsen for the Eagles on the ensuing drive as the team lost 23 yards on a sack and penalty. Then on fourth and 31, the Hokies were called for roughing the punter, giving the Eagles another chance.
But the offense would gain only 18 yards before punting again.
The Eagles missed on two opportunities to score late in first half. Ryan completed four passes for 22 yards and L.V. Whitworth rushed for 18. But the drive stalled when Ryan's attempt to Gunnell at the Hokies' 2 was incomplete. On third down, Ryan was sacked for a 13-yard loss by Orion Martin, ending any thought of going for it on fourth down at the Hokies' 42.
On the first play after the Eagles punted, linebacker Matt Herzlich recovered a fumbled snap at the Hokies' 19 with 2:38 left.
Ryan had four incomplete passes, including a fourth-down attempt while he was harassed.
Ryan struggled in the first half, completing just 9 of 21 passes for 54 yards while the Eagles were held to 64 total yards.
Glennon, who lost his starting job in the second half of the Hokies' 48-7 loss at LSU Sept. 8, directed the Hokies on the only score in the first half, a 16-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that ended with a questionable 8-yard touchdown reception by Royal.
Replays appeared to show Royal's foot hit the sideline when he made the grab, however, officials reviewed the play and allowed the score.
Despite all the struggles for most of the game, the Eagles showed they belonged near the top of the rankings.
"I told the kids that things like that will happen to them in special years - and I think that's one of those types of years here," Jagodzinski said.