(U-WIRE) BOSTON – Virginia Tech’s football team was far from perfect Thursday on the road against the Boston College Eagles. The only thing that was perfect for the Hokies at the end of the game was the only thing that matters – the team’s record.
Tech moved up to 6-0 with a 28-23 win over the Eagles Thursday night, but committed enough mistakes to keep head coach Frank Beamer and his coaching staff plenty busy for the next week.
“We know we’re fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Beamer said. “But we’ll take it and go back to Blacksburg.”
The Hokies finished with 15 penalties for 96 yards, and allowed 279 return yards, none bigger than an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jamal Burke to make the halftime lead 14-7 in Tech’s favor. Fortunately for the Hokies, there was enough good to outweigh the bad.
Perhaps the brightest spot was in the offense’s backfield, with “The Untouchables” return to the big screen. The duo shook off consecutive lackluster performances, rushing for over 300 combined yards and three scores. Suggs finished the game with 156 yards and two touchdowns, while Jones finished with 145 yards and a score.
“Our offense feeds off the running game,” said quarterback Bryan Randall. “That’s no surprise to anybody. When those guys are back there working and having great days, nine out of 10 times our offense is going to be consistent.”
Suggs’ two scores gave him 40 rushing touchdowns for his career, breaking the previous Big East record of 38.
Tech didn’t use much of an aerial attack against the Eagles, with Randall finishing with four completions on a mere seven attempts, for a total of 86 yards. One of those completions was big though.
On the first drive of the game, the Hokies were faced with a second-and-23 when Randall dropped back in the pocket and was given all night to throw the ball. With the excellent protection, Randall found Wilford waving his arm for the ball streaking down the right sideline.
Randall threw the ball up, which was tipped by Boston College safety Ralph Parent, then batted up by Wilford before he used his right arm to pull the ball in for the catch. He then stepped the last yard into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown reception.
“It’s just like we work on in practice,” Wilford said. “Just concentrate on the pass and watch the ball come in.”
The defensive side of the ball was its usual self, again making big plays to stop Eagles’ scoring opportunities and causing turnovers. Twice the Hokies intercepted Boston College inside the 5-yard-line. The first was by Willie Pile, who had a 43-yard return, and then later when Vincent Fuller picked off another pass to stop a scoring drive.
A third Eagles scoring drive was halted when linebacker Mike Daniels stripped Eagles running back Derrick Knight and the loose ball was recovered by Hokies cornerback Garnell Wilds in the end zone.
“We practice that every day,” Pile said. “In critical situations with our backs against the wall, we practice being playmakers out there. We practice getting the ball back to the offense.”
In the end, it was the Tech rushing attack that put the game out of reach for the Eagles. After Boston College tied the score at 14, the Hokies came out and put together a 14-play, 74-yard drive capped Jones’ touchdown from four yards out. Twelve of the plays were on the ground.
Then after an Eagles field goal, Tech’s offense again ground out the ball and the clock. This time it was eight plays and 75 yards, and this time a running play called all eight times.
“The last couple of weeks, the defense has been holding us up,” Suggs said. “This week we wanted to do the same for them.”
Boston College scored a late touchdown – but it was too little, too late.