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Boston College missed a good chance to go above .500 with a poor showing against North Carolina (2-5) at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels hadn’t won since September 7 against Middle Tennessee, and the win was their first in Atlantic Coast Conference play. On Saturday, they outgained the Eagles 392 yards to 261, and their passing defense was especially dominant.
Things started going badly for BC from the very start, when running back Andre Williams lost a fumble in Eagles territory on just the second play from scrimmage. The Tar Heels immediately capitalized, with quarterback Bryn Renner finding wide receiver Ryan Switzer for a 13-yard touchdown. They failed on a two-point conversion attempt, and Williams redeemed himself later in the first quarter with a 56-yard TD run to put Boston College on top 7-6.
Early in the second period, UNC RB A. J. Blue capped off a 15-play, 81-yard drive with a one-yard TD run, and the Heels finished the first half with another great scoring drive, going 90 yards on 11 plays, Renner hitting WR Bug Howard for a 10-yard score and a 20-7 halftime lead.
In the second half, the teams exchanged punts until Howard recorded his second TD of the game, a 17-yard reception from backup QB Marquise Williams late in the third quarter. After the Eagles turned the ball over on downs, Williams led another scoring drive, taking the ball in himself from four yards out and giving the Tar Heels an insurmountable 34-7 lead. A 38-yard field goal by BC kicker Nate Freese with 2:04 to play got BC into the double figures.
Renner was nearly perfect at 18-for-21 passing for 227 yards and two TDs. On the Eagles’ side, Andre Williams was, despite his early fumble, the lone bright spot, gaining 172 yards on 26 carries. The loss dropped Boston College to 3-4 and 1-3 in conference play, leaving the Eagles in sixth place in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, 3.5 games behind #3 Florida State. They will still have a chance to get to .500, with two of their next three games coming against teams with losing records.
Next Eagles game: November 2 vs. Virginia Tech (6-2), Noon ET
Gillette Stadium was witness to Western Michigan’s first victory of the season, as the Broncos defeated UMass in a game that came down to the wire between two of the Mid-American Conference’s worst teams.
Things could not have started any better for the Minutemen, as defensive back Khary Bailey-Smith returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. On their first offensive drive, the Broncos converted three times on fourth down before kicker Andrew Haldeman hit a 36-yard field goal. On the next drive, UMass kicker Blake Lucas missed from 40 yards, and the score remained 7-3.
The Minutemen opened the second quarter with a three-yard TD run by running back Jamal Wilson, but WMU responded with a TD of its own, on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Zach Terrell to RB Antoin Scriven. Massachusetts again found the end zone on the next drive, with a six-yard pass from QB A. J. Doyle to tight end Rob Blanchflower, but the defense again could not stop the Broncos’ O on its next possession. Terrell hit WR Kendrick Roberts for a five-yard score and UMass took a 21-17 lead into the half.
The Broncos retook the lead on the first drive of the second half, as Terrell threw his third TD pass of the game, a 14-yarder to WR Corey Davis, but Lucas tied the game up at 24 with a 37-yard FG. He failed to convert, however, on what should have been an easy 22-yard attempt later in the quarter.
In the fourth, Terrell again connected with Davis for what would prove to be the go-ahead 54-yard TD pass. The UMass offense responded admirably, putting together a 13-play, 68-yard drive that RB Lorenzo Woodley capped off with a two-yard TD run with just 31 seconds remaining. But rather than send the game to overtime with the extra point, head coach Charley Molnar made the call to go for the win, but the two-point attempt failed. Molnar explained that his controversial decision was due to a lack of confidence in Lucas’s ability to win the game in OT after his two misses in regulation.
Terrell led the Broncos with a 275-yard, four-TD performance on 23-for-36 passing, while Davis had 10 catches for 154 yards. Doyle was 15-for-24 for 194 passing yards, with Blanchflower recording 131 of those on seven receptions.
With the loss, UMass fell to 1-7, 1-3 in the conference, and is fourth in the MAC’s weak East Division, three games behind Buffalo. Two of its last four games will be against losing teams, so there’s still hope that the Minutemen could surpass last year’s win total of one.
Next Minutemen game: November 2 vs. Northern Illinois (8-0), Noon ET
Tags: A. J. Doyle, Andre Williams, Blake Lucas, Boston College, Bryn Renner, Bug Howard, Corey Davis, Marquise Williams, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rob Blanchflower, Western Michigan, Zach Terrell