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November 11, 2006

No. 22 Boston College runs over winless Duke

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BOSTON - L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender each rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown and Boston College took charge after a close first half to beat winless Duke 28-7 Saturday night and retain a realistic shot at the Atlantic Coast Conference title.

The 22nd-ranked Eagles (8-2, 4-2) remained one game behind Maryland in the Atlantic Division going into their meeting next Saturday in Boston. Wake Forest, which played Saturday night, started the day tied with Maryland for the division lead. The winners of each division meet Dec. 2 in Jacksonville for the ACC championship.

Duke (0-10, 0-6) stayed surprisingly close for half the game before reverting to its customary form and dropped its 18th straight game, the longest current losing streak in Division I-A. The Blue Devils also lost their 22nd consecutive ACC game and their 28th in the conference on the road.

It was the first football game between the teams since 1929 and the result was the opposite of last season's meeting for the ACC basketball tournament title, won by Duke 78-76 eight months earlier.

Like that game, the teams were within one possession of a tie when BC led 14-7 late in the first half. Then Brian Toal intercepted a pass by Duke's Thaddeus Lewis 21 seconds before intermission.

The momentum shifted for good when the Eagles threw Lewis for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 at their 2-yard line on Duke's first possession of the second half. Instead of going in for a tying touchdown, the Blue Devils gave up the ensuing 97-yard drive capped by Callender's 26-yard run as BC went up 21-7.

Duke also wasted an excellent opportunity on the first play of that series when it nearly tackled Callender for a safety, but the ball was placed at the 1. Callender had 55 yards on six carries on the drive.

The rout was on when Whitworth ran for a 7-yard score just 1:18 into the third quarter, ending a 62-yard drive.

Whitworth finished with 118 yards on 13 carries and Callender gained 105 on 15 runs. Matt Ryan completed 23 of 37 passes for 219 yards and one interception.

BC did score on its first possession of the game when Ryan threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Challenger. Duke tied it early in the second on Clifford Harris' 1-yard run early in the second. It stayed that way until the last minute of the first half when Ryan hit Jon Loyte with a 1-yard scoring pass 31 seconds before intermission. Ryan completed seven of eight passes for 58 yards on the 60-yard drive.

After facing Maryland, BC finishes the regular season the following Thursday at Miami. Duke has two chances to avoid its first winless season since 2001 with games at Georgia Tech and at home against North Carolina. The Blue Devils are 9-69 starting in 2000, when they also were winless.

For more coverage of the Boston College Eagles, check out EagleAction.com; for more coverage of the Duke Blue Devils, check out DevilsIllustrated.com.

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