BOSTON (AP) — Montel Harris carried 24 times for 114 yards, including a go-ahead 4-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, to lift surging Boston College to bowl eligibility with a 17-13 victory over slumping Virginia on Saturday.
The win was the fourth straight for the Eagles (6-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) and makes them bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. Virginia (4-7, 1-6) has lost 6 of 8 and dropped 12 consecutive games after November 1, dating to its last win — a 48-0 victory over Miami on Nov. 10, 2007.
It was the eighth 100-plus yard game of the season for Harris, who moved into second place ahead of Mike Cloud on the school’s all-time list with 3,600 yards before leaving with a left knee injury. Derrick Knight (’03) is leader with 3,725.
Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig threw a 39-yard scoring strike to Alex Amidon and Nate Freese booted a 23-yard field goal.
Robert Randolph had a pair of field goals for the Cavaliers, Perry Jones had his first career rushing touchdown, a 1-yarder midway into the second quarter, and quarterback Marc Verica completed 31 of 49 passes for 284 yards with one interception.
Harris’ score pushed B.C. ahead 17-13 late in the third quarter, one play after backup Andre Williams busted through the middle for 59 yards on his first carry of the day. The score capped a 96-yard drive.
Rettig was 10-for-19 for 152 yards with one interception. Williams ran 12 times for 108 yards.
The game ended when Verica’s long desperation pass was knocked down by B.C. linebacker Luke Kuechly near the 6-yard line.
The Cavaliers nearly took the lead when receiver Dontrelle Inman made a catch at the back of the end zone with just over five minutes left, but was ruled out of bounds. Replays appeared to show he reached down with his left hand before falling out on the back line, but the ruling on the field stood after a booth review.
Randolph then missed a 25-field goal attempt.
Virginia led 13-10 at halftime after Randolph booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired. The Cavaliers took over on their 18 and looked like they were taking a gamble trying to move downfield after Verica fumbled at his 23, but two B.C. defensive players mishandled it and knocked it out of bounds.
Verica then completed four straight passes for 54 yards, setting up the kick.
The Cavaliers had taken a 10-3 lead on Jones’ scoring run. Virginia had its second lengthy play drive of the opening half, holding the ball for 13 plays. Jones scored on a fourth-and-1 play, powering up the middle.
The Eagles tied it 10-10 with 1:21 left in the first half on Rettig’s 39-yard TD pass down the middle to Amidon, who went up between defenders Rodney McLeod and Mike Parker to come down with the ball. He scampered into the end zone from about 10 yards out after the defensive backs collided and fell.
On its first possession of the game, Virginia controlled the ball for a season-high 16-play drive before Randolph booted a 27-yard field goal to move ahead 3-0.
B.C. tied it on the ensuing possession when Freese kicked his field goal after the Eagles’ drive stalled despite having a first-and-goal at the 9.