Boston College 31, West Virginia 24
NEWTON, Mass. (AP) _ West Virginia’s Amos Zereoue, the nation’s No. 2 rusher, couldn’t get started. Boston College’s Mike Cloud, who wasn’t expected to play much, couldn’t be stopped.
Cloud rushed for 211 yards, including touchdowns of 11 and 66 yards, as the Eagles overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit for a 31-24 win Saturday.
Cloud ran only once for 2 yards before Omari Walker, last year’s Big East rushing leader, left with a sprained left knee late in the first half after gaining 89 yards on 18 carries.
``The coaches had been telling me all week, `when you get your opportunity, you’ve got to step up,′ ″ said Cloud, whose previous career-high was 122 rushing yards.
``I felt as though Omari Walker was the whole running game,″ West Virginia linebacker John Hadley said. ``We didn’t see a lot of film on number 21 (Cloud) and figured they would go with the passing game after Walker was hurt.″
Matt Hasselbeck did throw scoring passes of 9 yards to Derrick Crittenden and 12 yards to Anthony DiCosmo to tie the score 17-17.
And the defense, sometimes putting eight or nine players on the line to stop the run, frustrated Zereoue.
``I just wanted to go out there and be a decoy,″ said Zeroue, who had averaged 186.5 yards per game but was held to 68 yards and a 1-yard touchdown on 19 carries. ``When I did get the ball, everybody was around me.″
``We know we can perform. We feel like we can be one of the top defenses in the East,″ BC nose tackle Chris Hovan said.
Boston College (1-1) rebounded from a shocking 28-21 season-opening loss to Temple and gave coach Tom O’Brien, who replaced Dan Henning, his first win.
West Virginia (2-1) lost to the Eagles for the first time in seven games and the first time in nine games at Alumni Stadium.
BC, which had squandered a 14-point lead at Temple, overcame that deficit against the Mountaineers with four touchdowns in a 12-minute span after Hasselbeck had thrown two interceptions that led to first-half touchdowns.
``It helps when you’re able to run the ball,″ O’Brien said. ``He’s a tough kid. He hung in there after a tough start.″
It was not known how long Walker would be sidelined, although he said the injury suffered while he was pass blocking didn’t seem as serious as he first feared.
``I thought it was over,″ said Walker, who will undergo an MRI Monday. ``I never felt pain like that.″
After Cloud’s 11-yard run gave BC a 24-17 lead with six minutes left in the game, the Eagles held Zereoue to a 1-yard gain on fourth-and-2 at their 14.
``I wasn’t surprised″ at Zereoue’s problems, West Virginia quarterback Marc Bulger said. ``Even Amos can’t make plays against eight or nine guys.″
On the next series, Cloud, who finished with 24 carries, ran on all five plays, covering 87 yards and capped by his 66-yard score that made it 31-17.
Bulger’s second touchdown pass of the game to Shawn Foreman, a 38-yarder, cut the lead to 31-24. And West Virginia had an excellent opportunity to tie it when David Richardson recovered the kickoff at the BC 15 with 3:50 to go before an Eagles player touched it.
But the defense held again with two sacks, an incompletion and a fourth-down interception by Markell Blount.
After West Virginia’s opening 53-yard march led to Jay Taylor’s 36-yard field goal, the Mountaineers managed just five first downs and 115 yards on their next eight possessions.