BC 37, N.C. State 17: Eagles take win away from 'Pack

Eric Avidon

Boston College owes a debt of gratitude to N.C. State.

For starters, just about every player who took the field for the Eagles was recruited on Tom O'Brien's watch, and O'Brien, the former BC coach, is now the head coach of the Wolfpack. But it goes well beyond that.

Every one of BC's first 23 points came after an N.C. State giveaway, and three other Wolfpack drives were halted thanks to a turnover during the Eagles' 37-17 win over their ACC rivals yesterday at Alumni Stadium, where the field measured 126 degrees at kickoff.

In all, BC (2-0, 2-0 ACC) picked off five passes by Harrison Beck - one that was returned for a score - and recovered two N.C. State fumbles.

``That was a great win for our program, and our second ACC win,'' said BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski. ``The turnover thing really helped us again. Our kids just keep getting turnovers. ... We had a bunch of guys step up and make plays.''

``Any time you turn the ball over seven times you don't give yourself a chance to win,'' said O'Brien. ``We really didn't give ourselves a chance to win and we turned it over against a good football team.''

The charity started right away.

After BC deferred, N.C. State converted a quick first down, but on third-and-10 Beck (36-for-50, 321 yards) threw toward the right sideline. Senior safety Jamie Silva picked off the pass, then electrified the crowd with a whirling 36-yard return to the N.C. State 30. It took senior quarterback Matt Ryan seven plays to get the Eagles into the end zone, the drive ending on a 15-yard pass to senior Kevin Challenger, the sixth TD pass of the season for Ryan (15-for-34, 142 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT).

The Wolfpack answered with 10 points and were up by three points with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.

But two more N.C. State turnovers led to 10 BC points in the second quarter, including a pick by linebacker Jolonn Dunbar, who ran the ball into the end zone from 14 yards. The Eagles extended their lead to 23-10 midway through the third quarter - Steve Aponavicius missed the extra point attempt - after Brad Newman recovered a fumbled snap on a punt and Andre Callender (18 rushes, 158 yards, 2 TDs) ended a three-play, 13-yard drive with a 4-yard run.

The Eagles added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter without benefit of a turnover, pushing their lead to 37-10. Senior running back L.V. Whitworth scored on a plunge from inside the 1 with 10:46 remaining, then Callender ripped off a career-best 69-yard run with 3:29 left.

N.C. State scored with 1:31 left to round out the scoring.

``Playing against an offensive coordinator that we played against in previous springs (Dana Bible, who went to N.C. State with O'Brien) and summer scrimmages, we were noticing things and expecting things,'' said Silva.

BC's run defense was stout, allowing just 56 yards. But N.C. State got 351 yards through the air, and actually outgained the Eagles, 407 yards to 373. The turnovers, however, more than negated the yards.

``It's points that matters, not yards,'' said Jagodzniski.

The victory for BC avenges a heartbreaking loss in Raleigh last year.

The Eagles were 3-0 at the time and led 15-10 late in the fourth quarter. But then BC turned the ball over on downs after a couple of miscues with less than a minute remaining. N.C State moved the ball to the BC 38, then quarterback Daniel Evans hit John Dunlap on a Hail Mary with eight seconds remaining, and the Wolpack had the win.

``I definitely think we got a measure of revenge,'' said Dunbar. ``Last year is last year and this year is this year ... but we wanted to play one of our best games because they took one from us last year.''