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Boston College became bowl-eligible by improving to 6-4 with a comfortable home win over N.C. State (3-7) at Alumni Stadium in which it never trailed. As has often been the case this season, the Eagles got the job done with their run game, gaining 420 rushing yards while the defense held the Wolfpack to just 35 yards on the ground.
BC took the lead with a 25-yard field goal by kicker Nate Freese, then added to that when running back Andre Williams scored on a 17-yard touchdown run, capping off a 10-play, 72-yard drive for a 10-0 edge. N.C. State got on the board in the second quarter, with a nine-yard TD pass from quarterback Pete Thomas to wide receiver Rashard Smith, but RB Myles Willis responded for the Eagles with a 19-yard score of his own. Late in the quarter, Williams lost a fumble on his own 24-yard line, but the Wolfpack couldn’t capitalize as they botched the snap on a late FG attempt, and the score remained 17-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Freese’s second FG, from 39 yards, widened the gap to 13 points. In the fourth, a well-executed reverse play by the Wolfpack resulted in Smith hitting fellow WR Quintin Payton for a 49-yard TD, but the Eagles once again bounced right back. Williams broke out on a 65-yard run and was stripped just before crossing the goal line, but WR Alex Amidon recovered the ball in the end zone for the TD. QB Chase Rettig then took the ball in himself for the two-point conversion. On the next drive, defensive lineman Jaryd Rudolph strip-sacked Thomas, and four plays later Freese kicked a 41-yard FG. N.C. State’s backup QB, Garrett Leatham, scored on a 52-yard pass to WR Jumichael Ramos, but BC recovered the onside kick and Williams added a 34-yard TD run for insurance.
Williams set an Atlantic Coast Conference single-game record with 339 rushing yards and two TDs, prompting Rettig and head coach Steve Addazio to call him a Heisman candidate after the game. For the Wolfpack, Thomas had 207 yards on 22-of-33 passing attempts with one score, and Ramos had 109 yards on five catches.
In Addazio’s first year at the helm, Boston College has returned to bowl eligibility, already winning as many games as it did in the previous two seasons combined. At 3-3 in ACC play, the Eagles are in third place in the Atlantic Division, four games behind #2 Florida State.
Next Eagles game: November 23 @ Maryland (6-4), 3:30 pm ET
UMass put up a fight in a very tight loss to Akron (4-7) at Gillette Stadium. As the score suggests, the defense nearly made up for the lack of offensive power, holding the Zips to 1-for-13 on third downs and forcing turnovers on each of Akron’s first three drives.
The Minutemen’s first fumble recovery came on the first play from scrimmage, when running back Jawon Chisholm was stripped after a 15-yard reception, with the defense recovering at the UMass 38-yard line. On the Zips’ next drive, Chisholm again lost the ball, this time at his own 39, after a 24-yard run. On the ensuing drive, Massachusetts failed to gain a first down on 4th-and-1 and again came up empty. On their third possession, the Zips managed to put together six plays before coughing the ball up, and UMass finally got on the board in the final minute of the first quarter, when kicker Brendon Levengood hit a 37-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl completed three straight passes to get his team into the red zone, then ran the ball in from 10 yards for the touchdown, but Levengood responded with a 33-yard FG to keep it close. Late in the second quarter, QB A. J. Doyle was picked off by cornerback Malachi Freeman at the UMass 40, but the defense kept Akron from advancing and the Minutemen went to the half trailing 7-6.
In the third period, with Mike Wegzyn now under center, UMass gained 91 yards on nine plays, capping the drive off with a two-yard TD pass from Wegzyn to tight end Rob Blanchflower. After the defense forced a three-and-out, Wegzyn threw an interception of his own, to safety Anthony Holmes, who returned it 22 yards to the Minutemen’s 35. The defense again held fast, and UMass led 13-7 after three.
It was early in the fourth quarter that Akron put together a 10-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Pohl finding Chisholm for the go-ahead 17-yard TD pass. After a turnover on downs, the Zips again reached the red zone, where a key penalty on fourth down allowed them to run out the clock.
Pohl completed 20 of 33 passes for 208 yards and a TD in the Zips’ victory. The loss dropped Massachusetts to 1-9 on the season, 1-5 in the Mid-American Conference, with little chance of winning either of its last two games on the road. The Minutemen are in sixth place in the East Divison, four games behind Bowling Green and Buffalo.
Next Minutemen game: November 23 @ Central Michigan (4-6), 1 pm ET
Tags: Akron, Andre Williams, Boston College, Brendon Levengood, Chase Rettig, Jawon Chisholm, Kyle Pohl, Massachusetts, Mike Wegzyn, Nate Freese, North Carolina State, Pete Thomas, Rashard Smith, Steve Addazio