The eight and final group in our Ultimate Boston College Football Game contest is Pool H. A TOB beatdown, inaugural ACC Championship Game appearance, a top 5 upset victory on the road and a road victory in Tallahassee are all vying for the final two spots in the Round of 16.
2009: Boston College 52, N.C. State 20
Running back Montel Harris set the school record for yards in a game (264) and rushing touchdowns (5) in a 52-10 dismantling of Tom O'Brien and the visiting N.C. State Wolfpack. This was actually a close game, with N.C. State hanging with the Eagles for a half before this got downright silly.
After taking a 24-13 lead into the locker room at half, the BC offense came out blazing with Harris scoring three rushing touchdowns on four third quarter possessions, including drives of 72 yards (8 plays), 53 yards (3 plays) and 29 yards (1 play).
Dave Shinskie added a 6-yard TD pass to Billy Flutie on 4th and 6 early in the fourth quarter for good measure, giving the Eagles a whopping 52 points. Earlier in the year, BC dropped 54 on the hapless Northeastern Huskies in the season opener. Before that game, you had to go back to the first half of the 2007 season to find a game where BC dropped 50+ on an opponent (55 on Bowling Green). Man, I miss the days when BC could hang 50+ on a I-A opponent.
The Eagles went to the Wildcat / Bazooka several times in this one, with Harris busting a 70 yard game on the second series of the game to go ahead 7-0 early.
2007: Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 16 (ACC Championship Game)
One of the few losses to make the Ultimate Boston College football game series. This was actually an exciting game for much of it and came down to a bunch of blown opportunities for BC.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the first quarter after Jamie Silva returned a Tyrod Taylor fumble 52 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Boston College would hold a 7-0 lead after the first quarter, but the advantage could have been much greater. On the game's opening drive, Matt Ryan drove the BC offense to the Hokies 18 yard line, only to see a 36-yard Steve Aponavicius field goal attempt blocked. On the following offensive possession, Jags gambled on 4th and 6 from the VT 28 only for Ryan's pass to fall incomplete.
Aponavicius recovered early in the second quarter to give BC a 10-0 lead. VIrginia Tech finally got on the board on the following possession, as Sean Glennon threw a 5-yard fade pass to Josh Morgan for a TD to cut the lead to three. Ryan came right back, engineering a 74 yard, seven play drive that was capped by the rare 14 yard scramble into the end zone. But then, the Eagles luck ran out.
On the PAT attempt, Brandon Flowers returned the blocked kick all the way back for a three-point Hokie swing which seemingly took the wind out of the Eagles sails.
Remember that whole business about missed opportunities? The Eagles offense finished the first half with 277 yards and 20 first downs, managing just 10 offensive points. The rest of the way, the Hokies D effectively shut down Ryan, limiting BC to 112 yards and four first downs in the second half.
I chuckled a bit when I read LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar's post game quote in the AP writeup.
"It's hard to put this one in words," BC linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said. "We wanted to go to the Orange Bowl as bad as we wanted the ACC title. It's a setback in terms of this program, our team goals and our personal goals."
2002: Boston College 14, @ Notre Dame 7
The Eagles ruined Notre Dame's perfect season, upsetting the green jersey-clad Fighting Irish 14-7 in South Bend. The win was Boston College's first win over an AP Top 10 team since beating the same Notre Dame team in 1994 (ranked 8th at the time).
Backup Irish QB Pat Dillingham threw two interceptions, including one shovel pass right to Josh Ott, who took the gift and returned the ball untouched 71 yards for a touchdown.
BC spoiled the Irish's hopes of an undefeated regular season, handing Tyrone Willingham and the Irish their first loss of the year (8-1). Notre Dame would finish the regular season with a record of 10-2, getting crushed in the regular season finale against USC (44-13) before losing to Phillip Rivers and N.C. State in the Gator Bowl, 28-6. BC would go on to finish with a 9-4 record and a Motor City Bowl, though no win that year was bigger than the upset over a Top 5 Irish team.
2008: Boston College 27, @ Florida State 17
In another "chip on his shoulder"-type performance, running back and Jacksonville native Montel Harris rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Eagles upset #19 Florida State 27-17. The win pushed the Eagles' record to 7-3 overall and just 3-3 in ACC play. Despite the .500 conference record, the Eagles still controlled its ACC Championship Game destiny - needing wins over Wake Forest and Maryland in the final two weeks of the regular season to clinch a second straight Atlantic Division title.
BC did just that, knocking off Wake Forest on the road and Maryland at home before falling to Virginia Tech -- again -- in the ACC Championship Game in Tampa.
Led by Harris and Marcellus Bowman, who returned an interception 87 yards for a TD, the Eagles avenged their loss to the visiting Seminoles the season before on the Heights.
The two games that receive the most votes will advance to the Round of 16. Voting will end next Thursday at noon. Which games will advance?