12:00 PM ET, November 20, 2004
Franklin Field, PHILADELPHIA, PA
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Boston College is ready to leave the Big East as champions.
L.V. Whitworth ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Boston College took another step closer to its first BCS berth with a 34-17 win Saturday in Temple's final game before being booted from the Big East.
"We have our fate in our hands," BC coach Tom O'Brien said.
The 19th-ranked Eagles (8-2, 4-1) pulled into a first-place tie with (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) West Virginia (8-2, 4-1), which ends its season Thursday against Pittsburgh. Even if the Mountaineers win that game, Boston College would earn the automatic Bowl Championship Series slot and its first Big East championship if it can beat Syracuse.
The Eagles, who are heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, would receive the bid because they beat West Virginia last week.
The Mountaineers need to beat Pittsburgh and have Boston College lose to claim the BCS berth.
"It's what we've worked for all year," O'Brien said. "We've put ourselves in great position. Now, we've got to win that game."
Boston College, however, will play the Orange without quarterback Paul Peterson, who left late in the first half with a broken right hand. Peterson (12-for-15 for 115 yards and a touchdown) could return for a bowl game.
Freshman Matt Ryan, of nearby Exton, Pa., ably filled in, going 8-for-15 and throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Larry Lester in the third quarter. After attempting only three passes this season, it could be Ryan leading the Eagles to a conference title.
"You just have to look at it as one game," Ryan said. "It is a big game, but you have to view it as if you're playing any other game."
Peterson, who has 2,358 yards passing, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, said he was injured when he was sacked near the end of the first half and knew immediately he was unable to continue. Watching from the sideline while his teammates possibly celebrate a title will be a bittersweet end to the regular season.
"With the things we've accomplished this year, you want to be a part of that," Peterson said.
While the Eagles are looking to end their time in the Big East with a championship, Temple left the conference with a whimper.
The Owls (2-9, 1-5) are getting kicked out of the Big East for failing to meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team.
Temple finished with its 13th straight losing season and had only 14 Big East wins in 14 conference seasons. The Owls begin life next year as an independent.
Temple created a task force to decide the long-term future of the program. It could move to another conference -- coach Bobby Wallace favors the Mid-American -- drop down to Division I-AA or abolish the program. A decision is expected in December.
Wallace said his team showed character under difficult circumstances.
"I feel real good about our situation," he said. "I think we will come out of this real good. I am confident in the people looking into the situation and I feel like they are going to make a good decision."
Temple was never in this one.
Whitworth -- who missed three games this year with a knee injury -- had touchdown runs of 28 yards in the first quarter and 39 yards in the fourth and was the third straight running back to gain at least 140 yards against the Owls.
Whitworth broke left for a 29-yard touchdown run, and Peterson rolled right and connected with Chris Miller for a 3-yard TD pass, helping Boston College to a 17-3 halftime lead.
Ryan Ohliger added field goals of 43 and 32 yards.
Temple couldn't build on its upset win over Syracuse, though Walter Washington ended with one of the team's best seasons since Paul Palmer in 1986. Washington threw for 283 yards two touchdowns, giving him 10 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing scores this season.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-9||9-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||9:59||L.V. WHITWORTH 29 YD RUN (RYAN OHLIGER KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 73 yards.
|FG||0:32||RYAN LUX 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 16 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||6:29||CHRIS MILLER 3 YD PASS FROM PAUL PETERSON (RYAN OHLIGER KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yards.
|FG||0:22||RYAN OHLIGER 43 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||13:15||LARRY LESTER 32 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN (RYAN OHLIGER KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 86 yards.
|FG||10:45||RYAN OHLIGER 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 8 yards.
|TD||2:26||BUCHIE IBEH 20 YD PASS FROM WALTER WASHINGTON (RYAN LUX KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 59 yards.
|TD||5:13||PHIL GOODMAN 11 YD PASS FROM WALTER WASHINGTON (RYAN LUX KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 94 yards.
|TD||4:57||L.V. WHITWORTH 39 YD RUN (RYAN OHLIGER KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 39 yards.