for this game

Ryan rescues Boston College with fourth-quarter rally

Oct 26, 2007 - 5:31 AM BLACKSBURG, Virginia (Ticker) -- Matt Ryan has been talked about as a Heisman Trophy Candidate for much of the season. He played like one just in time for Boston College on Thursday.

After struggling miserably with the rain and Virginia Tech's defense all night, Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final two minutes as the second-ranked Eagles rallied for a 14-10 victory over the No. 8 Hokies in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

Virginia Tech's second shot at the No. 2 team in the country this season was going a lot better than the first for the first 58 minutes in this one. Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1 ACC Coastal) had won five straight games since getting crushed at then second-ranked Louisiana State, 48-7, on September 8.

But Ryan made the plays down the stretch and kept the Eagles' national title hopes alive for at least another week.

"I mentioned earlier on in the week that the mark of a good quarterback is winning," Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "Matt Ryan, what he did tonight, along with the receivers and the whole crew there in the last three minutes of the game, that was special."

Virginia Tech had a 7-0 lead at the half and Jud Dunlevy kicked a 44-yard field goal to extend it to 10-0 with 5:33 left in the third.

The Hokies were unable to do much themselves in the rain, as the Eagles' defense kept things close until Ryan and the offense finally did their part.

"This is a tough one to handle," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "They made the plays at the end. We just didn't quite get it done."

The first 12 times Boston College (8-0, 4-0 Atlantic) had the ball, Ryan threw for only 128 yards and was intercepted twice. He came alive the last two times the Eagles had possession, throwing for 157 yards and two TDs.

Ryan, who completed 25-of-52 passes for 285 yards, hit Rich Gunnell for a 16-yard TD with 2:11 to go. Gunnell just got his right foot down before going out of bounds, and a replay confirmed the score.

"Guys just stepped up and made plays," Ryan said. "We stayed confident and made plays, it's just a (heck) of a win. When there is still time left on the clock, you still have a chance to win, and we were prepared."

With two timeouts left, Boston College had the option of kicking deep and trying to force a quick punt. Instead, Jagodzinski decided on an onside kick, and the Eagles recovered at their 34 with 2:07 remaining.

Ryan made plays with his arm and legs, scrambling for a first down on the drive and capping the march with a 24-yard scoring strike to Andre Callender that gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead with 11 seconds to play.

"It was tough sledding the whole game, but at the end of the game, we just started clicking," Jagodzinski said. "We just started completing some balls down field, and we hadn't done that the whole game."

Ryan started clicking down the stretch and was 5-of-7 for 76 yards on the game-winning drive. He was sacked three times but faced pressure all night from Virginia Tech's front four but was able to buy himself the time he needed to pull out the win.

"He made some great throws and people sometimes just get on a run," Beamer said. "They got on a good run in the last six minutes. Sometimes it happens."