Nov. 24, 2007
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BOSTON (AP) - Boston College ended a 15-game losing streak against Miami to head into the Atlantic Coast Conference title game with a victory.
And the 15th-ranked Eagles didn't even need Doug Flutie to do it.
Matt Ryan threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns Saturday to lead BC to a 28-14 win, BC's first victory over Miami since the 1984 "Hail Flutie" pass that ended one of the greatest games in college football history.
"What Doug did ... and all that, that was great," BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "Now they're going to talk about what Ryan did and what (safety Jamie) Silva did and what (defensive lineman) Nick Larkin did. We've done something special up to this point, and it's a good thing to keep building on the tradition."
Boston College (10-2, 6-2 ACC) will play for the conference championship in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 1 against Virginia Tech, which beat Virginia 33-21 Saturday for the Coastal Division title. BC already clinched the Atlantic Division with last week's victory over Clemson.
But they wanted the win, anyway.
"Coach was telling us we didn't want to go in with a flat tire, with a setback," said receiver Rich Gunnell, who caught nine passes for a career-high 135 yards. "We want to go in with all the momentum we can."
The Hurricanes (5-7, 2-6) failed to qualify for a bowl game for the first time in 10 years.
"Very disappointing," coach Randy Shannon said. "A lot of guys' expectations when they come to the University of Miami is to win."
The Eagles beat the Hokies on Oct. 25 when Ryan threw a 24-yard touchdown pass across the field with 11 seconds left. The victory propelled him into the race for the Heisman Trophy, an award no BC player has won since Flutie did following the 48-yard pass to Gerard Phelan as time expired that beat Miami on Thanksgiving weekend in 1984.
But Ryan fell back out of the race with the Eagles' back-to-back losses to Florida State and Maryland, which dropped them from No. 2 in The Associated Press rankings down to No. 18. Virginia Tech has won four in a row since losing to BC, including the winner-take-all matchup against Virginia.
"We knew the other team was going to come in with a win," Ryan said. "We wanted to match their momentum."
Ryan completed 26 of 43 passes and finished with 28 touchdowns for the season to break the school record Flutie set in '84. Andre Callender ran 15 times for 96 yards and a 45-yard touchdown that made it 28-14 after Miami hung close for most of the game.
The Eagles won 10 regular-season games for the second consecutive season. With a victory next Saturday, they would play in the Orange Bowl - their first-ever appearance in a Bowl Championship Series game.
Kyle Wright completed 23 of 42 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, finishing his college career with 478 completions to pass Bernie Kosar and move into third on Miami's all-time list. But Wright also threw an interception and lost a fumble.
BC's turnovers kept it close, and the Hurricanes cut the deficit to 14-7 early in the third on a 23-yard pass to Ryan Hill, one play after Glenn Sharpe intercepted Ryan. Near the end of the quarter, BC got the ball on Wright's fumble, then Ryan fumbled it back two plays later.
Wright led the Hurricanes on an eight-play, 41-yard drive, hitting Sam Shields from the 2 to tie it with 11:44 left in the game.
That's when BC took over the game.
Ryan hit Gunnell on the right sideline and he broke free for a 49-yard gain, then Clarence Megwa laid out for a 22-yard touchdown pass to complete the two-play, 16-second drive that made it 21-14. After Miami went three-and-out, Callender broke through the middle and went 45 yards to the end zone.
"We had some momentum coming back, then they come back and score," Wright said, his eyes watery as he spoke. "Two plays, they take the lead back. It felt like we were going to win. It hurts that we lost."