Jackson helps No. 16 Va. Tech top Boston College
BOSTON — Virginia Tech needed a bounce-back game after falling from the ranks of the undefeated with a home loss to No. 2 Clemson.
Saturday night, the 16th-ranked Hokies found the right opponent.
“I was tickled to death,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said after his team cruised to a 23-10 ACC victory over Boston College. “Our guys responded like we asked them to.
“We didn’t play fantastically at times, disappointed in the penalties (nine for 67 yards) but we played well enough to beat a very physical and tough, hard-nosed football team at their place.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 322 yards and a touchdown, going 22 of 33 in the second 300-yard passing game of his rookie season. He was intercepted once as Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1 ACC) took a 23-3 lead before BC (2-4, 0-3) showed offensive spark late in the game.
Virginia Tech, already without injured wide receiver C.J. Carroll, won easily despite losing top receiver Cam Phillips to a left foot sprain in the first half. He was hurt catching his 42nd pass of the season for a gain of 11 yards, extending his school record of catching at least one pass in a 32nd straight game. X-rays were negative and the injury was not deemed serious.
“The limited information I got, I have, everything checked out as a sprain, and the bye week is coming at a good time,” said Fuente. “We’ll get him healthy and ready to go.”
Sean Savoy, who came in with 18 catches in five games, had nine receptions for 139 yards, including a 53-yard scoring strike that opened the scoring. Both were career highs after he came in with career bests of four catches and 63 yards, both against Delaware.
“That’s what a team needs,” Fuentes said. “That’s what we need, is we need our young guys to continue to improve to give ourselves a chance to be the best that we can be.”
Said Jackson: “We have good depth at receiver so I wasn’t too worried. I’ve seen them step up in practice.”
As far as his own play, Jackson added: “I’m 5-and-1 going into the bye week, so I think it’s been pretty good.”
Travon McMillian ran for 88 yards on 17 carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run.
Joey Slye kicked three field goals and two extra points to pass Shayne Green and become Virginia Tech’s all-time leading scorer.
“I came over to the sideline and one of our recruiting guys actually came up to me and said: ‘Congratulations!’ I was like, ‘I appreciate it,’” Slye said. “I thought he was just saying good job on the field goal. He said, ‘Did you know you just broke the record.’ I said: ‘No, I didn’t, but I appreciate it.”‘
Anthony Brown, BC’s redshirt freshman quarterback, was 13 of 30 for 166 yards. He also caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Jeff Smith (recruited as a quarterback) in the fourth quarter and gained a season-high 51 yards on seven carries.
BC, which was just 2 of 15 on third-down conversions and 0 and 2 on fourth, has lost its three conference games by a combined count of 91-27. The Eagles also lost to Notre Dame, which plays within the ACC, 49-20.
But coach Steve Addazio, who has turned into a target of the home crowd, refuses to get down.
“I’ll just say that I’ll continue on my part to make sure I’m doing a better job in the race of development here, and we’re going to leave it right there because I’m in charge of it, and I love them,” he said. “And I love their work ethic, and I love the way they handle it, and I love the fact that they believe in each other, OK?
“I love all of that. I’ve been around this business long enough, fellas, OK, at every level, and I’ve seen it a long time. It’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful. You can write that one down, OK? I don’t have a time clock on it right here, but it’ll come together, and it’ll be beautiful.”
BC’s Harold Landry, the national sack leader last season, entered the game with two in 2017 but tied a career high with three sacks, moving him past Mike Mamula into second place on the school’s all-time list with 26. He was injured on the third sack, suffering an apparent right ankle injury.
NOTES: Virginia Tech improved to 126-3 when allowing 14 points or less, 39-1 on the road. ... BC fell to 0-17 under coach Steve Addazio when scoring 14 or less, 2-21 with 17 or fewer. ... Former Eagles coach Tom O’Brien and ex-BC and New England Patriots C Dan Koppen were among those inducted into the school’s Varsity Club over the weekend and honored at halftime. ... Virginia Tech hosts North Carolina after its bye week and BC visits No. 17 Louisville next week. ... The attendance was 32,057.