Just Desserts

West Virginia sent Boston College another message about Big East football with a wildly swinging 35-28 win on Saturday.

Cheered on by chants of "ACC", the Mountaineers rallied from an early 14-0 deficit, then held on against a spirited Boston College rally to grab an important conference win.

The Eagles dominated play early, keeping the ball for more than ten minutes in the opening quarter as they piled up a 14-0 lead. Two Eagle drives were built in classic BC fashion, by pounding the ball inside on the ground, then throwing play action passes with heavy doses of plays designed for tight ends. Sean Ryan snared a nine-yard pass and Horace Dodd plowed in from the one to give the Eagles the lead.

Adding insult to injury for the Mountaineers was the fact that both drives were directed by backup quarterback Paul Peterson. Peterson came on in relief of Quinton Porter, who was knocked out of the game on the opening play from scrimmage with a cut on his hand.

BC appeared ready to take control of the contest after stopping the Mountaineers again in the second quarter, but WVU's beleaguered defense stemmed the tide by picking off a Peterson pass and returning it to the Eagles' 39-yard line. From there, Charles Hales found Chris Henry down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown to cut the deficit in half.

The Mountaineer defense really came up big on the next possession, as Adam "Pac Man" Jones stepped in front of a Peterson toss and returned it 49 yards for a game tying touchdown.

Although the Mountaineers were outgained by almost 80 yards in the half, the two big plays resulted in a 14-14 tie at the half and new life for West Virginia as the second half opened.

WVU continued to build on their momentum in the third quarter, as the Mountaineers drove 65 yards and scored their third touchdown to take the lead at 21-14. Again, the Hales to Henry combination was lethal, as the duo hooked up on a 32-yard scoring strike.

The Mountaineers now seemed fully in control of the game. The defense shut down the Eagles twice, and even the return of Quinton Porter to the game did nothing to stem the tide. West Virginia then put together their longest drive of the game, This time, it was an 85-yard, nine-play masterpeice that culminated in Hales' third scoring pass of the day, this time to Tory Johnson in the middle of the end zone.

After that score, Boston College rallied despite the departure of thousands of fair-weather fans. The Eagles passed the ball down the field and into the end zone, with tight end Ryan grabbing his second scoring reception of the day to cut the WVU lead to 28-21.

The momentum, which had swung back and forth several times, now began spinning like Gene DeFilippo in a press conference. Jones came up with his second big return on the ensuing kickoff - this one an 87 yard speed run around the corner of the Eagle coverage unit that put the Mountaineers back in front at 35-21.

Boston College still wasn't finished, however. After a 47-yard Brad Cooper field goal narrowly missed, the Eagles reinserted Peterson into the game, and the substitute rediscovered the magic that he had exhibited early in the game. Peterson engineered a 69-yard scoring drive to cut WVU's lead to seven with 3:15 to play.

After a squib kickoff that was cleanly fielded by Brian King (who had two interceptions on the afternoon), WVU gained nine yards on two plays and appeared ready to salt the contest away. But a bad exchange on a third down and one snap squelced WVU's hopes, and although Hales made a great recovery, the momentum was clearly back on the Eagles' side.

Boston College then drove from their own 25 to West Virginia's seven, aided by a questionable pass interference call, a ticky-tack personal foul, and two missed interceptions, but once again WVU's defense came up big in the clutch. The Mountaineers batted away two Peterson passes, the last with no time left on the clock, to snare the important Big East win.

West Virginia (5-4, 3-1) returns home to host Pitt next Saturday, while the Eagles (5-5, 1-4), in addition to smarting from yet another defeat to a Big East team, travel to Rutgers.

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