8:00 PM ET, September 23, 2006
Carter-Finley Stadium, RALEIGH, NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Daniel Evans scanned the field and saw the end zone seemingly sitting half a world away. There were no timeouts. And there was a ranked opponent ready to defend its small lead.
It seemed like a time for desperation. Instead -- for one game, anyway -- it was a reason for North Carolina State's frustrated fans to believe again.
|2003**||453.1||37.6||* -- NC State had 320 yards of offense Saturday night.
** -- Philip Rivers' senior season
Evans -- a redshirt sophomore -- threw for 179 yards for the Wolfpack (2-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) and directed a 72-yard TD drive in the final minute to stun the Eagles (3-1, 1-1).
"That game was storybook," Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato said.
Boston College seemed to have the game in hand after getting the ball on N.C. State's 35 following an interception with 3:08 left. But the Wolfpack defense held, stopping Brian Toal on a fourth-down run to get the ball back at its own 28 with 46 seconds to play.
That left it to Evans, who was elevated past Marcus Stone after last week's lopsided loss at Southern Mississippi. And the youngster showed plenty of composure in leading N.C. State to its first win against a Division I-A opponent.
"The game's never really over, especially with the way our defense played all day," Evans said.
His first pass on the drive fell incomplete, but he connected with Anthony Hill for an 18-yard gain and a first down near midfield. Then, after spiking the ball to stop the clock, Evans found Dunlap on the left sideline for a 20-yard gain to the 34 with 16.8 seconds left.
Evans went back to Dunlap on the next play in what looked as if it might be a fruitless desperation try, lofting a pass to the back right corner of the end zone. But Dunlap jumped to beat DeJuan Tribble to the ball, bobbled it, then pulled it in just before Paul Anderson arrived to make the hit.
"[Assistant] Coach [Marc] Trestman said, 'Just get a first down,'" Evans said. "So all I was really trying to do was get first down after first down."
The play sent the fans into a frenzy while stunning the Eagles. After a review upheld the catch, the Wolfpack kicked the extra point for the 17-15 lead.
Once Tribble returned the kickoff to the BC 37 for the final play, the Wolfpack sideline spilled onto the field in exuberant celebration. Evans, meanwhile, calmly walked to join his teammates before stopping to receive a hug from Stone.
It was the Wolfpack's first home win against a ranked opponent since beating Florida State late in the 2002 season.
The win meant plenty for N.C. State after two straight losses. The Wolfpack first lost at home to Akron 20-17 on a touchdown on the game's final play, then were handed a humbling 37-17 loss at Southern Miss last week that prompted Amato to rethink his quarterback situation.
The losses also further irked a fan base frustrated with the Wolfpack's up-and-down ways. And even though Amato has led his alma mater to five bowl games in his first six seasons, the coach felt compelled to defiantly defend the program's direction earlier this week.
On this night, the Wolfpack backed up the coach by fighting the ranked Eagles the whole way. Andre Brown ran for 97 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run that put the Wolfpack ahead 10-9 entering the fourth quarter.
And the defense held BC to 321 total yards, making the Eagles work the whole way before stopping them to get the ball back for Evans' final drive.
"They just never stopped fighting," Amato said. "You should have heard them in the huddle on that fourth-down play, before they went on the field. It was, 'They aren't getting it.'"
Matt Ryan threw for 149 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles, who retook the lead on Toal's 2-yard run with 12:55 to play. But Ryan overthrew Kevin Challenger near the goal line on the 2-point try, keeping the lead at 15-10. Ryan also threw an interception in the end zone to end a third-quarter drive.
The mistakes came back to haunt them on Evans' last drive, which handed the Eagles the sting of a close loss after they had won consecutive double-overtime games against Clemson and Brigham Young.
"It's a tough way to lose," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "We've been on the edge all season with last-minute plays. This time, we were on the short end."
L.V. Whitworth added 109 yards rushing for Boston College.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Fate intervenes. It was a matter of time before Boston College lost a close one and before NC State eked one out for coach Chuck Amato.
Gameball goes to... Daniel Evans, who showed incredible poise in completing a 34-yard TD pass to John Dunlap with just 21 seconds remaining.
Stat of the game... 61: The Eagles committed seven penalties and gave up 61 yards (13 more than NC State). In such a close game, penalties make a big difference.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||3-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-1|
|TD||9:39||TONY GONZALEZ 22 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 83 yards.
|FG||4:26||JOHN DERANEY 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 67 yards.
|FG||9:18||RYAN OHLIGER 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 14 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||7:03||ANDRE BROWN 26 YD RUN (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||12:55||BRIAN TOAL 2 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT PASS)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||0:05||JOHN DUNLAP 34 YD PASS FROM DANIEL EVANS (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 72 yards.