CHAMPS SPORTS POSTGAME
ORLANDO, Fla.- It's not hard to see why these two teams don't lose games by a lot of points. The Spartans were never out of this game, and the Eagles were never fully in control- but tonight, Michigan State got a little taste of what Virginia Tech, Clemson, and other ACC powerhouses had to deal with this season. The Eagles, without the standard heroics of quarterback Matt Ryan, pulled off a 24-41 defeat of Michigan State to finish the season 11-3 while extending the nation's longest active bowl winning streak to eight.
"It was big to get 11 wins," said Eagles head coach Jeff Jagodzinski after the game. "To get double-digit wins is hard in any league, and to get 11- we haven't done that at BC since 1940."
Then, there's the whole bowl-streak thing, too.
"You never want to be the team to end the streak," said BC safety Jamie Silva. "Being here on the sidelines and playing for five consecutive wins is something real special."
There were obstacles to overcome on both sides: the Eagles' running game was relatively ineffective, and it took them some time to get into any kind of a rhythym in terms of the passing game. On the Spartans' side, they came out of the gates much more fired up than BC, but it was hard for them to sustain a consistent and effective level of play. Particularly, Brian Hoyer could not keep his composure, throwing four interceptions in key spots for Michigan State while accumulating just 131 yards.
Still, Spartans first-year head coach Mark Dantonio was far from disappointed with his team's effort.
"The one thing I asked our team to do was look in the mirror at the end of the day and do the best we could," he said after the game. "[I wanted us] to hang together and press together and we did that, and we never stopped playing.
"I hope our players understand that the difference between winning and losing is so small that if you blink, you miss it."
While former Heisman candidate Matt Ryan didn't really come alive until the second half, he produced when it counted- he has a knack for doing that. His 68-yard touchdown completion to Rich Gunnell (138 yards) sealed the game for BC, and he somehow finished with a respectable 250 yards.
However, the Player of the Game was not on offense; to nobody's surprise, it was Eagles safety Jamie Silva, one of the 17 BC fifth-year seniors who did not want his last memory as a member of this team to be tarnished by a loss. His two first-half picks saved his team at least 10 points, which certainly came in handy at the end of the fourth quarter, when the Eagles had their backs against the wall.
Like many Boston College football games this season, this one came down to one or two key plays, and it was never over until the final second ticked off the clock. This team has a flair for the dramatic, and fortunately for them and their eight-game bowl winning streak, the Eagles managed to pull it off again.