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October 19, 2008

Eagles Hold Off Hokies 28-23

BOSTON(AP) Chris Crane didn't wait until the last 3 minutes of the game, like his award-winning predecessor did. He led Boston College on a comeback before the first half was over.

Crane threw an interception for a touchdown on his first pass of the game as Virginia Tech took an early 10-point lead, then the Eagles scored 21 consecutive points to beat the 17th-ranked Hokies 28-23 on Saturday night.

Crane threw three interceptions - two of them returned for touchdowns - and also had a fumble. But he also led the Eagles to a touchdown on a 13-play drive and set up two other TDs with long passes to give BC (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the win.

``I'll tell you what: he's a winner,'' coach Jeff Jagodzinski said, noting that Crane is 6-1 in his career as a starter - most of it since replacing ACC player of the year Matt Ryan. ``What's he as a starter right now? He's a winner.''

BC beat Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-2) in the regular season last year when Ryan led the Eagles back from a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes. But the Hokies won the rematch in the ACC championship game, beating BC 30-16 to earn the conference's berth in the Orange Bowl.

Ryan went on to the NFL as the No. 3 overall draft pick, by the Atlanta Falcons. But he was watching from the stands on Saturday night when Crane nearly threw the game away - and then grabbed it back.

One game after throwing for 428 yards to beat North Carolina State, Crane was 16-for-32 for 218 yards. Rich Gunnell returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, Brandon Robinson caught four passes for 97 yards and Ifeanyi Momah caught three for 57 yards and a TD.

Montel Harris ran 15 times for 61 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles, whose fans inexplicably stormed the field after the game.

``With all the mistakes we made, we still won the game,'' Crane said. ``It feels good.''

Brett Warren intercepted Crane's first pass of the game 36 yards and returned it for a touchdown, and Victor Harris picked off another of Crane's attempt and ran it 55 yards for a TD. The Hokies also blocked Steve Aponavicius' 39-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter.

``We had too many missed opportunities,'' Tech coach Frank Beamer said. ``There were too many chances for us to come back that we didn't take advantage of.''

BC came up with some big plays, too.

Gunnell's punt return gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead with 9:08 left in the second quarter, and they never trailed again. And though Crane had his troubles, he connected on a 48-yarder to Robinson to set up one touchdown and a 41-yarder to Momah to set up another.

In all, Boston College scored 21 straight points after falling behind 10-0 on Warren's interception and, after Jeff Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Dustin Keys' 30-yard field goal with 9:31 left in the quarter.

Crane then led BC on a 13-play, 83-yard drive, hitting Clarence Megwa for 14 yards on a third-and-9 to reach the Tech 23.

Harris ran twice from the 11 to score and make it 10-7. The teams traded punts before BC stopped the Hokies again and Gunnell cut through the middle to go 65 yards ant put the Eagles ahead 14-10.

After another Tech three-and-out, Crane hit Momah for 41 yards to the 10, then the two connected again for a 10-yard touchdown play that made it 21-10. Victor Harris' 55-yard interception return cut it to 21-17.

Boston College linebacker Brian Toal, who was redshirted because of a shoulder injury last season so he could come back for a fifth year, left near the end of the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Toal was also used as a goal-line and short-yardage running back.



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