Virginia Tech dominates BC, ending Eagles’ win streak at five

College Sports

The Hokies scored 28 unanswered points to close the first half and cruised to a 48-22 win.

Virginia Tech cornerback Dorian Strong intercepted BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos early in the first quarter. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

In Boston College’s five-game winning streak, the Eagles ran the ball relentlessly, dominated time of possession, and wore down opponents with their depth and physicality.

On Saturday afternoon against Virginia Tech, they did the opposite — watching helplessly as the Hokies walloped them at their own game. BC reverted to old habits and looked outmatched in every facet, playing sloppy and inefficient football in a head-scratching 48-22 setback at Alumni Stadium.

“We got humbled today,” Boston College quarterback Thomas Castellanos said. “We were too worried about what the future may look like. We got too complacent.”

The Eagles (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned the football over twice, failed to recover an onside kick, and allowed 8.3 yards per play and 600 total yards. In the first half alone, the Hokies (5-5, 4-2) outgained the Eagles, 340-138, to build a 31-7 advantage.

Virginia Tech exploded for gains of 70 and 59 yards and scored at will early and often. The Hokies finished 7-of-15 on third down, 2-of-2 on fourth down, and only punted twice.

This game felt like last year — when BC sputtered to a 3-9 record — and early this season, when the Eagles started 1-3. It rivaled the loss to Louisville as the lowest point in an overall promising season.

“It looked like a lot of things snowballed today,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said. “We couldn’t regroup and get in a rhythm.”

John Love drilled a 27-yard field goal for the Hokies to start the scoring, Alex Broome responded with a 4-yard score for the Eagles, then Virginia Tech ripped off 28 points to close the half convincingly.

Bhayshul Tuten (16 carries, 78 yards, 3 touchdowns) delivered from 7 yards out late in the first quarter, then Stephen Gosnell hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kyron Drones (12 for 17, 2 TDs; 20 carries, 135 yards)early in the second. Jaylin Lane caught a 5-yard strike, then Tuten — who originally committed to BC, then flipped it to VT — found the end zone again from 4 yards with 1:33 left in the half.

“Gosh, we missed a lot of tackles, which is not how we played these last five weeks,” Hafley said. “We’ve got to take a look at why.”

The Eagles, who entered ninth in the nation with 211.2 rushing yards per game, struggled to move the ball without Kye Robichaux. Castellanos (10-for-20, 110 yards, TD, 2 INTs; 11 carries, 46 yards) threw a pick on the first play from scrimmage, then another later in the first. He credited the Hokies’ Dorian Strong for making a great play on the first one and said the second one was a 50/50 ball that Strong was able to secure.

Broome was steady, but the Eagles offense became predictable and inefficient. Virginia Tech took advantage, capitalizing on nearly every opportunity and overpowering BC with its size and strength.

The Eagles defense, playing without star cornerback Elijah Jones, was consistently a step slow. Hafley said Jones, who entered tied for second in the nation with five interceptions, will “probably be out for the remainder of the year.”

The second half was more of the same. Tuten scored from 4 yards to push the margin to 38-7. The Eagles sliced the deficit to 38-15 late in the third on an 8-yard strike from Castellanos to freshman Jaedn Skeete, plus a 2-point pass from Castellanos to Lewis Bond. But the Hokies answered right back, as Malachi Thomas waltzed into the end zone from 35 yards. Virginia Tech tacked on a 46-yard field goal from Love, Xavier Coleman scored from 1-yard out for the Eagles, and that was that.

The BC offense wasn’t sharp, but defense was the bigger problem. The Eagles, who didn’t allow more than 24 points during the ,winning streak, looked dazed and confused the entire way.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” defensive end Donovan Ezeiruaku said. “It wasn’t the cleanest.”

The Eagles have clinched a spot in a bowl game — and they can still reach eight wins for the first time since 2009 — but a path to the ACC championship game no longer exists.

BC doesn’t have much time to dwell on its shortcomings, as the Eagles travel to Pittsburgh for a 7 p.m. clash Thursday. Hafley said BC doesn’t have a choice but to erase this one very quickly. Castellanos referred to it as wiping the wounds away.

“We don’t have to wait a full seven days again,” Ezeiruaku said. “It’s a Thursday game, and it’ll come around quickly. We’ve got to throw this one in the trash and press forward.”


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