September 8, 2007
BC thumps NC State 37-17
BOSTON(AP) Tom O'Brien's players gave Boston College another victory Saturday. Only this time he was coaching the other team.
The winningest coach in Eagles history watched his new North Carolina State team turn the ball over seven times then heard boos as he left the field after BC's 37-17 win.
He waved both hands and told the fans, ``see ya, I'll be back,'' he said. ``They're good kids.''
On the nine-month anniversary of his departure for North Carolina State, O'Brien led a team that wasn't nearly as good as the one he left. But when he took over BC in 1997, that program was coming off a gambling scandal and heading into two straight losing seasons.
Then O'Brien led the Eagles to eight straight bowl games, including wins in the last six.
``We got pretty beat up today, but there's going to be better days,'' he said. ``I started off in pretty bad shape when I got here, too, so we'll see where it goes.''
Despite his decade at BC, Saturday's game was ``like a regular football game to me.''
Harrison Beck threw five interceptions, and he and Wolfpack punter Nate Franklin each lost a fumble as BC scored 23 points following turnovers. The Eagles (2-0, 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) scored 30 straight points after trailing 10-7.
When O'Brien left, defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani led BC to a 25-24 win over Navy in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. His defense did an outstanding job Saturday against O'Brien and offensive coordinator Dana Bible, who held that job at BC.
``I've seen those routes thousands of times,'' said BC linebacker Jolonn Dunbar, who returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead. ``I knew the tight end would come off. I knew what he was going to do.''
The Eagles first touchdown - Matt Ryan's 15-yard pass to Kevin Challenger - followed the first of Jamie Silva's two interceptions.
Beck turned the ball over again on a fumble recovered by Nick Larkin with 4:39 left in the first half, setting up Steve Aponavicius' 27-yard field goal that made it 17-10.
The Wolfpack (0-2, 0-1) had a chance to tie late in the half with the ball at the BC 17, but Beck threw his third interception, this one to Taji Morris in the end zone.
``You never want to turn the ball over in the red zone,'' Beck said. ``I kind of threw a jump ball up in the left corner.''
He wasn't responsible for the next turnover. Franklin fumbled the snap, Brad Newman recovered at the Wolfpack 13 and Andre Callender scored on a 4-yard run for a 23-10 lead.
The Eagles ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter - 1 yard by L.V. Whitworth on an 84-yard drive and 69 yards by Callender, who rushed for 158 yards.
A week earlier, Beck replaced Daniel Evans with North Carolina State trailing Central Florida 22-3 and led the Wolfpack back with two touchdown passes. But they fell short, 25-23. O'Brien said he'd look at the tape of the BC game before naming a starter for next Saturday's home game against Wofford.
A transfer from Nebraska, Beck threw for 321 yards but no touchdowns against BC.
``He's got a lot of faith in his arm and he thinks he can throw the ball through a wall,'' O'Brien said. ``The thought was to keep him in there to see if he could work his way out of it but he still has to learn to play in the offense.''
He showed his strong arm with completions of 49 and 32 yards on a 98-yard drive that tied the game 7-7 on his 2-yard run. North Carolina State took its only lead on Steven Hauschka's 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
The Wolfpack did control Ryan, who was just 15-for-34 for 142 yards and one touchdown. A week earlier, he threw five touchdown passes in a 38-23 win over Wake Forest.
He and O'Brien hugged on the field after the game.
``It was good to have this behind us,'' Ryan said. ``We did a good job of preparing for this game and putting the distractions aside.''
Behind O'Brien, on the lower facade of the upper deck, were the names of six bowl games he had won. The only other time an ACC coach left for another team in the same conference was in 1956 when Jim Tatum went from Maryland to North Carolina.
Silva said the Wolfpack coaches ``know how we play'' because many are former BC assistants, but ``playing against an offense coordinator that I've played against many springs, I recognized stuff that was happening on the field.''
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