Virginia Tech falls 31-21 to No. 24 Boston College
Virginia Tech offense, defense remain in disrepair in loss to Boston College
BLACKSBURG — Somebody in Blacksburg better call a plumber, because — for the second straight week — the valve on the Virginia Tech offense abruptly shut off, while the battered defense remains leaky.
Just over a week after coach Justin Fuente compared the Hokies’ offensive struggles to a valve shutting off, the unit sputtered again.
Boston College junior running back AJ Dillon ran for 96 yards and a touchdown and sophomore running back Travis Levy scored twice as the No. 24 Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak to Virginia Tech with a 28-21 win Saturday at Lane Stadium.
“It’s definitely frustrating, because I think we all know how good we can be,” sophomore wide receiver Damon Hazelton said. “But we kind of get tired of hearing how good we can be and want to go make it happen.”
It didn’t happen Saturday — at least not for the home team.
The Eagles (7-2, 4-1 ACC), who had scored just 20 combined points over their past three games against Tech, ran for three touchdowns and threw for a fourth in handing the Hokies (4-4, 3-2) their first three-game home losing streak since the end of the 1994 season, into the beginning of the 1995 season.
Boston College’s win gave Pittsburgh — which beat Virginia, 23-13 on Friday night — sole possession of first place in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Virginia Tech plays at Pittsburgh next weekend.
The Hokies are guaranteed to finish with their worst record under Fuente and the team’s streak of 25 bowl appearances is in jeopardy.
“Disappointed we didn’t find a way to get this one done,” Fuente said. “We made enough plays to keep us in the game and give us a chance and didn’t make enough to kind of get over the hump.”
Ryan Willis went 25 for 42 for 281 yards and three touchdowns for Tech, but the Hokies could not get anything going in the run game. They finished with 111 yards on 36 rushes.
Willis took so many hits — including twice exiting the game with injuries — he was in the trainer’s room during postgame interviews and unavailable to the media.
Asked about the prospect of making a change at quarterback — both redshirt freshman Hendon Hooker and true freshman Quincy Patterson took snaps in the game Saturday — Fuente offered a generic response that all positions are constantly being evaluated.
But when asked if he would consider taking play-calling duties away from offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen and assuming that role himself, Fuente was firm.
“Play-calling [has] nothing to do with it,” Fuente said. “Play execution has 100 percent to do with it.”
Fuente said that falls on the players and the coaching staff.
Saturday, like last Thursday against Georgia Tech, the Hokies’ offense looked fairly sharp early on. Tech scored touchdowns on two of its first four drives, getting scoring passes from Willis to Damon Hazelton and Eric Kumah. Both receivers went up and won contested balls against Boston College defensive backs.
Those plays sent the
Hokies to the locker room up 14-7, but the margin could have been wider. Tech had the ball in Eagles territory on its final two drives of the first half. The first possession was derailed by a personal foul called on tight end Chris Cunningham and the second ended with a Hooker fumble.
The Hokies got nothing out of those drives and ended up losing after leading at halftime for the first time in 21 tries under Fuente.
The Hokies’ defense, which allowed 465 yards in the loss to the Yellow Jackets, played Saturday with a host of injured players, including defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt and linebackers Rayshard Ashby (L.C. Bird High School) and Dylan Rivers.
During the game, cornerback Bryce Watts suffered a fractured forearm and defensive tackle Xavier Burke injured his Achilles. Cornerback
Caleb Farley also had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter. Boston College took full advantage of the beat-up unit.
It tied the game 14-14 when Travis Levy broke free for a 29-yard touchdown with 7:37 left in the third quarter, then went up 21-14 when Tech’s coverage miscue left
Korab Idrizi free for a 22yard score less than four minutes later.
A 1-yard scoring run by Levy put the Eagles up 28-14 with 8:51 left.
“I thought we fought hard,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “… We’ve got to execute and be more consistent on a regular basis, but I will take that kind of effort and competiveness.”
Redshirt freshman linebacker Rico Kearney started and recorded a team-high 18 tackles. True freshman Dax Hollifield filled the other linebacker position and made 10 stops.
Safety Divine Deablo moved to the whip position this week, lining up closer to the line of scrimmage, and finished with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Korab Idrizi of Boston College escapes the grasp of Virginia Tech defender Tyree Rodgers for a22- yard touchdown in the second half of the Eagles’ 28-21 ACC victory in Blacksburg.