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
The Eagles, who are heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference
next season, would receive the bid because they beat West Virginia
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
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
"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
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.