Sept. 13, 1997
BC Rallies for Win Over No. 24 West Virginia
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Mike Cloud, playing for an injured Omari Walker, broke a tie early in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard scoring run as Boston College rallied for a 31-24 victory over 24th-ranked West Virginia.
The win was the first after one loss for Eagles coach Tom O'Brien and Boston College's first at home over the Mountaineers since a 14-3 victory in 1976.
The game was tied 17-17 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter when Boston College took possession on its own 49-yard line. The Eagles were in the end zone 2:30 later when Cloud burst straight through the line for the score, capping the six-play, 51-yard drive.
The Eagles (1-1, 1-1 Big East) trailed 17-3 until late in the second half when Matt Hasselback connected with Derrick Crittenden on a nine-yard score. They tied the game less than a minute into the fourth quarter when Hasselback found Anthony DiCosmo for a 12-yard score.
Cloud completed the 28-point onslaught when he took Hasselback's pitch and raced 66 yards down the right sideline for a 31-17 lead.
"When Omari (Walker) went down, he's our starting running back, I just wanted to go in and get my opportunities," said Cloud. "Coach (Tom O'Brien) had been talking all week about, you'll get your opportunities, and when you do you need to step up and that's what I did today."
The 66-yard touchdown run was the longest for the Eagles in two years. Cloud also had the longest for the Eagles last season, 26 yards against Rutgers.
Cloud carried 24 times for 211 yards, the most for a Boston College back since Chuckie Dukes had 201 on November 11th, 1991 at Syracuse. It is the sixth highest total in school history.
"It just goes to show you I need to get more of my players in," said O'Brien about Cloud's performance. "I was thinking about this last week, if we get an injury, someone would have to come in and pick it up.'
Walker left the game with 33 seconds remaining in the first half when he sprained his left knee blocking on a passing play. He finished with 76 yards on 18 carries.
The Mountaineers (2-1, 0-1) took the lead early in the first quarter on Jay Taylor's 36-yard field goal and made in 10-0 two minutes later on a one-yard TD run by Amos Zereoue. The Eagles cut the deficit to seven midway through the second on John Matich's 19-yard field goal.
West Virginia went up 17-3 just before halftime when Marc Bulger hit Shawn Foreman with a six-yard scoring strike. The score was set up when Mountaineer defensive end Bob Baum intercepted Hasselback in Boston College territory.
Bulger found Foreman again for a 38-yard score to cut the lead to 17-10 with four minutes left in the game. Foreman finished with nine catches for 146 yards. Bulger was 17-of-27 for 227 yards.
West Virginia had a chance to tie the game when, on the ensuing kickoff, Jermaine Walker let the ball bounce and it was recovered by David Richardson. Boston College sealed the win three plays later when cornerback Markell Blount intercepted Foreman.
"We didn't really have many problems in the first half," said Bolger. "We came out and executed. Our game plan worked real well. Then they (Boston College) started playing the run and playing it real well. There's not much we can do when our running game's not going. It just came down to we couldn't run the ball."
"The game was simple. They beat the devil out of us on the offensive line and they beat the devil out of us on the defensive line," said West Virginia head coach Don Nehlan. " They wanted it more. They just outplayed us. They're offense was almost 80% more than it was against Temple."
The win was Boston College's first over West Virginia since 1990, snapping an 0-5-1 slide. Nehlan had been 8-0 at Chestnut Hill with the Mountaineers.
"Today was my first shot against him (Nehlan) so I guess it (losing streak) really didn't mean much," said O'Brien. "I didn't come into this game thinking about losing to West Virginia eight straight times."