Vir­ginia Tech falls 31-21 to No. 24 Bos­ton Col­lege

Vir­ginia Tech of­fense, de­fense re­main in dis­re­pair in loss to Bos­ton Col­lege

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIKE BAR­BER

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.”

Ju­nior quar­ter­back

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.

MATT GENTRY/THE ROANOKE TIMES

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.

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