A year removed from a disappointing 2-10 campaign, the Boston College football team completed an improbable turnaround by becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2010, recording its sixth victory of the season in Saturday’s 38-21 win over ACC foe North Carolina State.
The victory assured the Eagles (6-4, 3-3) of no worse than a .500 finish with two games remaining, at Maryland next week and at Syracuse Nov. 30.
An Alumni Stadium crowd of 31,262 turned out for one last hurrah from BC’s senior class and running back Andre Williams, the nation’s leading rusher, did not disappoint in his final home game.
Williams, who set BC’s single-game rushing record with 295 yards in last week’s victory at New Mexico State, broke it Saturday when he when rushed 42 times (tying his own school record) for a career-high 339 yards. It was the best rushing total in an FBS game this season and set an ACC record. Williams also became BC’s single-season rushing leader with 1,810 yards, blowing past Mike Cloud (1,726 yards in 1998).
A Doak Walker Award semifinalist, Williams needs 190 yards to become the first running back in BC history to rush for 2,000 in a season.
Senior kicker Nate Freese converted field goals of 25, 39, and 41 yards and had three successful PATs to become BC’s all-time scoring leader with 299 points, supplanting Steve Aponavicius, who had 290 points from 2006-09.
With 2:39 left in the game, Williams’s record was acknowledged over the public address system, prompting BC’s offensive linemen to mob the star running back on the sideline. Williams stepped onto the field and took a deep bow, acknowledging the applause from the crowd.
But his work wasn’t done. With 1:43 remaining, Williams ripped off a 34-yard touchdown run on his 42d carry.
Needing 256 yards to break Cloud’s record, Williams got it when he ripped off a 65-yard run in the fourth quarter, breaking four tackles along the way. Williams, however, was prevented from scoring when he was stripped from behind by N.C. State’s Juston Burris as Williams was steps from crossing the goal line.
Alex Amidon, who last week became BC’s career leader in receiving yards, pounced on the loose ball in the end zone, giving the Eagles a 28-14 lead. It was the buffer BC needed to cement its sixth victory of the season.