BOSTON (AP) — It may be one of the few highlights in what’s starting to look like a long year for Boston College.
Montel Harris broke free up the middle, cut to the left sideline on a 26-yard run early in the fourth quarter, giving him the school’s all-time rushing record, but the Eagles struggled again and lost to Wake Forest 27-19 on Saturday.
Harris finished with 108 yards on 22 carries, increasing his career total to 3,735 yards and surpassing Derrick Knight’s previous record of 3,725 (2003).
“In the moment, breaking the record falls second on my list,” Harris said. “We work hard every week to get a win and we came up short this time. I’m sure I’ll look back at the end of the season and view this as a huge accomplishment. Right now, I’m trying to help our team get the season going in the right direction.”
But overall — except for Harris’ run and another by a squirrel — it wasn’t a highlight day for the struggling Eagles or their home crowd.
One of the biggest moments of the first half for Boston College’s fans was an open-field run by a squirrel that was shown on the video screens running from about midfield into the end zone while play was going on and the crowd — mostly the student section — was cheering and finally roared when it crossed the goal line.
Boston College wasted excellent field position for much of the second half after a first half that was dominated by a listless offense. “We’re close, but we’re far away,” BC coach Frank Spaziani said. “We’ll get it sooner or later.”
Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig completed 23 of 47 for 188 yards with a TD pass and an interception, but he was stopped a yard short on a fourth-and-4 run at Wake Forest’s 44 with just under two minutes left.
“We’ve been in a lot of games like this, this season, and they haven’t gone our way,” Rettig said. “We have to stay positive and we have to keep pushing. There are going to be better days to come and better games to come.”
Nate Freese kicked four field goals — three in the opening half — for the Eagles (1-4, 0-2).
Tanner Price threw a 47-yard TD pass to Chris Givens on Wake Forest’s first possession of the second half as the Demon Deacons opened a 15-point lead and held off the Eagles.
Price completed 19 of 28 passes for 252 yards for Wake Forest (3-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Josh Harris rushed 19 times for 60 yards, including a 2-yard TD in the opening quarter.
The Demon Deacons, who scored on their opening drive of both halves, held a 24-9 lead early in the final quarter.
After holding Boston College to a three-and-out on the first drive of the second half, Price hit Givens on a short pass and he broke free down the left sideline for a 47-yard score, leaping over an attempted tackle by Spenser Rositano near the 5 before going into the end zone to make it 24-9.
The Eagles appeared to be ready to get closer, but Harris fumbled at the Demon Deacons’ 5 to end the ensuing drive. They picked off a pass and took over at Wake’s 45 on the next possession, but Rettig threw a deep pass into good coverage and was picked by Cyhl Quarles at the 5.
After coming up empty three times after good field position, Boston College converted on the next try when Rettig’s 2-yard toss to Alex Amidon capped a 41-yard drive and cut it to 24-16. Harris set up the score with his record-breaking 26-yard carry, but he left the game briefly after injuring his left knee.
Boston College moved to Wake’s 10 before the drive stalled with 6 minutes left. Freese’s 32-yarder cut it to 24-19.
The Demon Deacons needed a big play and Price delivered. On a third-and-15 from his own 15 with just over five minutes left, Price hit Terence Davis on a 44-yard pass along the right sideline. On the next play, Michael Campanaro hit Given for 36 yards, setting up Jimmy Newman’s 22-yard field goal that made it 27-19 with 2:59 left.
Wake Forest took the opening kickoff and marched 74 yards on 11 plays, with Harris capping it on a 2-yard run to make it 7-0. Price was 4 of 5 on the drive for 57 yards.
Rettig completed his first pass of the game — on Boston College’s first offensive play — for 34 yards to Colin Larmond Jr. but connected on just 5 of his next 11 for only 32 yards. Wake Forest pressured him up the middle a lot and he had trouble getting the ball to receivers deep down field.
With the help of Wake Forest’s offsides penalty, Boston College cut it to 7-3 on Freese’s 36-yard field goal. He had missed wide left on a 47-yard attempt, but the penalty helped prolong the drive for the Eagles. Boston College’s Harris converted on a fourth-and-1 run on the next play.
Newman’s 22-yard field goal made it 10-3, but Freese’s 45-yarder cut it to 10-6 on the ensuing possession.
But the Demon Deacons went 73 yards in 12 plays on the following possession, with Brandon Pendergrass’ 1-yard run making it 17-6. Price completed all five attempts for 45 yards on the drive. Pendergrass set up the score with a 12-yard run to the 2 and got into the end zone the play after Boston College was whistled for an offsides penalty.
Freese hit a career-best 52-yard field goal in the closing minute of the first half.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)