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Boston College improved to 5-4 on the season with a shootout win, its first road victory of the year, over New Mexico State (1-9) at Aggie Memorial Stadium in a game that was probably closer than it should have been given the rival’s record. In the end, the Eagles overcame their usual away-game jitters thanks to a powerful run game, outgaining the Aggies 320 yards to 159 on the ground.
The home team took the first lead of the game with a 43-yard field goal by kicker Maxwell Johnson, but Nate Freese tied it up with a 51-yarder of his own, then connected from 39 yards to put the Eagles ahead. Late in the first quarter, quarterback Chase Rettig hit tight end Mike Naples for a 69-yard touchdown and a 13-3 lead, but the Aggies were not about to go away.
With 8:30 to go in the second period, QB Andrew McDonald scored on a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Austin Franklin, but BC bounced right back with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Rettig’s second TD pass of the day, to WR Harrison Jackson from seven yards out. With just one second remaining, NM State running back Xavier Hall found the end zone on a 10-yard run, trimming the Eagles’ lead to 20-17 at halftime.
On the first drive of the second half, Rettig scored again on a 30-yard pass to WR Alex Amidon. Halfway through the third quarter, it was WR Jerrel Brown‘s turn to catch a 16-yard TD pass from McDonald. No team would score again in the period, and Boston College took a 27-24 lead into the fourth.
Johnson tied the game up with a 32-yard FG, but on the ensuing kickoff, Eagles RB Myles Willis took the ball 98 yards to the house. The Aggies weren’t done yet, though, and on the next drive McDonald again made it a tie game with a 49-yard TD pass to Franklin. New Mexico State looked like it could come all the way back to win it when Amidon fumbled the ball at the Aggies’ 38-yard line after making a third-down catch, but the BC defense forced a three-and-out. On the next drive, RB Andre Williams broke through the defensive line untouched and cruised to an 80-yard score. The Aggies’ last comeback bid was stopped by linebacker Steven Daniels‘s interception of McDonald, which he returned eight yards to the 50 with 3:29 on the clock, and Williams iced the win with a 47-yard TD run.
Rettig finished the game 17-for-25 passing for 230 yards and three TDs, while Williams, the unqualified star of the Eagles’ season, set a new Boston College record with 295 rushing yards on 30 carries. For the Aggies, McDonald posted a spectacular 41-for-55 passing line, totaling 384 yards with three scores and an INT. Franklin had 145 receiving yards and two TDs on 10 catches.
In Steve Addazio’s first season as head coach, the Eagles are now one win away from tripling their victory total from last year. More importantly, a 6-6 finish (or better) would make BC bowl-eligible, something that would have been nearly unthinkable at the beginning of the season. At 2-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, BC is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, four games behind #2 Florida State.
Next Eagles game: November 16 vs. North Carolina State (3-6), 12:30 pm ET