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VTech keeps bowl hopes alive with OT win

The SportsXchange

CHESTNUT HILL, MA. -- Randall Dunn's career highlight helped Virginia Tech keep its bowl hopes alive.

The senior tight end hauled in the game-winning touchdown in overtime to give the Hokies to a 30-23 win over host Boston College on Saturday at Alumni Stadium.

"With the season on the line, it was about time something goes our way, and I'm so happy and thankful I was put in the situation to make it," said Dunn, who had only one reception in the game in his first career start against the Eagles.

Virginia Tech's defense held on to stop BC, and clinch the Hokies' first road win of the year. The Hokies ended a three-game losing streak, and can extend its 19-year bowl streak with a win over in-state rival Virginia next week in Blacksburg.

On the game-winning play, quarterback Logan Thomas rolled to his left to avoid the pass rush, and waited for Dunn to come into view. When he saw his tight end open in the back of the end zone, he threw a pass just high enough for Dunn to make a leaping grab.

Dunn hauled in the pass just inside the end line for the 7-yard score.

"Randall actually talked to me about it Thursday when we were practicing," said Thomas, who passed for 247 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. "It was our 2-point play, but we pulled it out when we needed to. He said go ahead and throw it up there. I can go get it. I laughed at him, but I guess it came in handy today."

Hokies coach Frank Beamer recorded his 256th career win, moving him past former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and into sole possession of seventh place on the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision all-time wins list. Beamer is one win away from tying former BYU coach LaVell Edwards for sixth place.

It looked like Beamer would be stuck at 255 for another week after Virginia Tech fell behind 13-3 at halftime, but the Hokies didn't lose confidence after a sluggish first half and completed their second second-half comeback of the season.

"We needed this badly," Beamer said. "To come here and play a team that I thought played extremely well, to have some things not go quite right and then overcome it, I know this, I'm really proud of our organization."

Thomas helped lead a second-half surge that allowed the Hokies to that erase that halftime deficit. He scored on a 1-yard run early in the third and passed for two touchdowns.

"He kept battling and playing tough," Beamer said. "That's kind of the story of our day."

Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4 ACC) also benefitted from an ultra-motivated Marcus Davis, who was benched in the first half because of poor play in last Thursday's loss to Florida State. He rebounded to haul in five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

"When my number was called, the first thing that was in my mind was to make an impact," said Davis, whose 37-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to give the Hokies their first lead.

Virginia Tech's defense held BC to only 291 yards and sacked Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig seven times.

The Hokies didn't allow for much during the Eagles' overtime possession. They sacked Rettig on second down, forced an incomplete pass on third down and then stopped BC well short on a 7-yard swing pass from Rettig to freshman tailback David Dudeck on fourth-and-11.

"No doubt at all," Virginia Tech junior linebacker Jack Tyler said about the final defensive series. "Our mentality was, 'We're getting off the field. We're getting this win.'"

Boston College (2-9, 1-6), playing its last home game of the season, was led by junior tailback Rolandan Finch, who rushed for a season-high 138 yards on 26 carries. It was his first 100-yard game since rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns against Maryland last October.

"The offensive line did a great job opening holes, and all I had to do was just hit them," Finch said.

Eagles senior linebacker Nick Clancy recorded 20 tackles only one week after suffering a concussion in the first quarter of BC's home loss to Notre Dame.

"It doesn't get much worse than that, being the last home game, and to fight that hard until the very end only to come up short," Clancy said. "It hurts. We prepare the same for every game, but I really wanted this one bad. I wanted to end on a good note and walk away from my last game at BC with a victory."

NOTES: The Hokies have beaten the Eagles five straight times and two straight times at Alumni Stadium. ... BC coach Frank Spaziani is 0-4 against Virginia Tech. ... Boston College's last nine-loss season came in 1989. ... Virginia Tech broke a seven-game road losing streak dating back to last season. ... Wide receivers Kevin Asante and Demitri Knowles and tight end Randall Dunn made their first career starts for the Hokies against the Eagles. ... Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum recorded his team-leading third interception of the season early in the second quarter. He also leads the ACC with 15 pass breakups. ... Knowles' 75-yard return of opening kickoff set up first touchdown.
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