By The Associated Press
For The Register-Herald
Virginia Tech dug deep into the playbook and extended its bowl hopes.
Logan Thomas threw for two touchdowns — the second a 7-yarder to Randall Dunn in overtime — and ran for another score to help the Hokies keep their bowl hopes alive with a 30-23 comeback win over Boston College on Saturday.
Facing a third-and-4 at the 7, the Hokies called a play for the first time this season — one saved for two-point conversions.
“Overtime, you’ve got to pull out all the stops. It’s one of our best plays and we pulled it out,” Thomas said. “Randall actually talked to me on Thursday when we practiced it. It’s our two-point play. We pulled it out when we needed it. He said, ‘Go ahead and throw it up there. I can go get it.”’
And with that play, the Hokies ended one streak and may have saved another.
The Hokies (5-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) need to beat rival Virginia at home next Saturday to become bowl-eligible for the 20th straight season.
The victory also snapped Virginia Tech’s seven-game losing streak away from Lane Stadium. It was the longest since nine straight in coach Frank Beamer’s first two seasons — 1987-88.
Thomas, at times looking unsure when to run or throw, completed 16 of 33 passes for 247 yards and added a 1-yard touchdown run.
“I think he’d probably say it was erratic,” Beamer said. “A couple of times receivers weren’t where he needed them to be. But, again, he made some big plays and played tough.”
Thomas ran for 7 yards and completed two passes for 12 yards on the game-winning drive.
“When it doesn’t go right, he doesn’t point at people. It’s ‘let’s get to the next play,”‘ Beamer said. “That’s the type of football team we have.”
The Eagles (2-9, 1-6) look to avoid matching their worst record since 1989 next week at North Carolina State.
“It doesn’t get much worse than that — being the last home game,” said BC linebacker Nick Clancy, one of 15 seniors.
Cody Journell kicked three field goals for Virginia Tech.
Rolandan Finch rushed 26 times for 133 yards and Nate Freese booted three field goals for BC.
Chase Rettig was 13 of 30 for 129 yards and one touchdown for the Eagles.
Boston College won the toss before overtime and elected to play defense first. Virginia Tech scored on its initial possession.
The Hokies then held BC, tackling David Dudeck 5 yards short after he caught a swing pass from Rettig on a fourth-and-11 play.
Retting saw a number of defenders cover his top receiver, Alex Amidon, and elected to throw underneath.
“I felt like since a lot of their guys went to Alex, I thought David had a chance to make it to the first down marker,” Rettig said.
With Virginia Tech holding a 20-16 edge, BC grabbed the lead when Dudeck, a freshman, took a handoff, hesitated at the line and burst through an open hole for his first career a TD run — a 12-yarder with 4:11 to play.
The Hokies then marched 62 yards in 10 plays, with Journell’s third field goal of the game — a 41-yarder — tying it at 23-all with 65 seconds left.
The crowd booed when BC elected to run the ball three times on its next possession, starting at its 17.
“There are a lot of factors that are involved in it,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said before explaining that a first-play run of only 2 yards affected the choice to not take any chances.
Virginia Tech, which trailed by 10 at the half, took a 17-13 lead on Thomas’ 37-yard TD pass to Marcus Davis late in the third quarter. The play came on a third-and-17 after BC elected to accept a holding call and move the Hokies out of field goal range. The Eagles had stopped Thomas on a scramble up the middle on the prior play near the 22.
On the ensuing drive, Freese’s third field goal of the game — a 42-yarder — cut it to 17-16, but Journell’s 42-yard field goal with 6:15 to play restored the Hokies’ four-point lead.
Trailing 13-3, the Hokies’ Demitri Knowles returned the second-half kickoff 75 yards to the Eagles’ 20. Seven plays later, Thomas lunged the ball across the goal line on fourth-and-goal from the 1 after being stopped initially at the line. The play was reviewed and upheld.
BC grabbed a 10-3 lead early into the second quarter when Rettig connected on a well-executed, play-action pass for a 2-yard TD to Amidon, who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone. Finch ran for 38 yards and Rettig hit tight end Chris Pantale for 23 on the 86-yard drive.
Beamer made what ended up being a costly decision late in the half, helping give BC enough time to march down for a 35-yard field goal by Freese with 4 seconds left in the half.
The Hokies elected to go for it on a fourth-and-3 at the Eagles’ 40 and Knowles, after catching a pass, had the ball knocked out of his hands by Clancy on what would have been a first down. Rettig completed consecutive passes for 26 yards total, then connected with Amidon for 16 before the Eagles had to settle for Freese’s kick.
BC had taken a 3-0 lead when Freese kicked a 36-yard field goal at the end of the Eagles’ first drive of the game after Spiffy Evans’ 40-yard punt return gave them the possession at the Hokies’ 29.
Virginia Tech tied it on the next possession on Journell’s 26-yard field. The score was set up by 69-yard pass from Thomas to Corey Fuller deep down the middle on a third-and-19 from the Hokies’ 10.
VIRGINIA TECH 30, BOSTON COLLEGE 23, OT
VT (5-6) 3 0 14 6 7 — 30
BC (2-9) 3 10 0 10 0 — 23
BC: FG Freese 36, 8:17.
VT: FG Journell 26, 3:25.
BC: Amidon 2 pass from Rettig (Freese kick), 13:30.
BC: FG Freese 35, :04.
VT: Thomas 1 run (Journell kick), 11:35.
VT: M.Davis 37 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 1:12.
BC: FG Freese 42, 11:18.
VT: FG Journell 42, 6:14.
BC: Dudeck 12 run (Freese kick), 4:11.
VT: FG Journell 41, 1:05.
VT: Dunn 7 pass from Thomas (Journell kick).
Attendance — 34,266.
First downs 18 20
Rushes-yards 48-154 45-167
Passing 247 129
Comp-Att-Int 16-33-0 13-30-1
Return Yards 32 57
Punts-Avg. 7-39.6 7-38.3
Fumbles-Lost 3-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-67 4-40
Time of Possession 30:04 29:56
RUSHING — VT: Gregory 14-69, Coleman 12-48, Scales 7-27, Thomas 13-7, Knowles 1-6, Roberts 1-(minus 3). BC: Finch 26-138, Dudeck 8-38, Amidon 1-18, Team 1-(minus 2), Rettig 9-(minus 25).
PASSING — VT: Thomas 16-33-0-247. BC: Rettig 13-30-1-129.
RECEIVING — VT: M.Davis 5-104, C.Fuller 2-72, Malleck 2-16, Roberts 2-11, Knowles 2-6, Asante 1-17, Coleman 1-14, Dunn 1-7. BC: Finch 5-53, Pantale 4-36, Amidon 2-18, Coleman 1-15, Dudeck 1-7.