Anthony Brown Leads Boston College to 35-28 Season Opening Win Over Virginia Tech

Eagles pick off VT QB Ryan Willis three times, including twice in the end zone, while Brown passes for 2 TDs and runs for another.


CHESTNUT HILL — If Saturday’s 35-28 win over Virginia Tech is any indication, the 2019 Boston College Eagles should be a very entertaining bunch to watch. And redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Brown is one big reason why.

Brown, behind new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, was 12-for-20 in the first half for 258 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles piled up 356 yards of total offense in the opening 30 minutes before holding on for a win in the ACC and season opener for both schools.

Titans head coach and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was in attendance to watch his son Tyler start at left tackle, protecting Brown’s blind side. Vrabel and the offense line were very effective in giving the red-shirt junior time to make big play after big play in the first half.

Brown hooked up with Zay Flowers on a 33-yard pass down the right sideline on BC’s third possession for the first score of the game and season. Brown also connected with Flowers on a 58-yard pass but that drive stalled when A.J. Dillon was stopped on 4th-and-1 at the Tech 16. Another big Brown pass play, a 56-yarder to Kobay White, went for naught when Aaron Boumehri missed wide right from 38 yards.

Eagles secondary gives up 55-yard bomb from quarterback Ryan Willis to Hezekiah Grimsley to tie the score, 7-7, with 4:43 left in the first quarter.

Tech took a 14-7 lead when Willis hit Tayvion Robinson on a 20-yard in-cut three and a half minutes into the second quarter. With momentum fully on the side of the visitors, the Eagles needed an answer. They got one when Brown engineered a 9-play, 75-yard drive, capped by A.J. Dillon’s 17-yard run to the outside, breaking an ankle tackle on his way to the end zone. The touchdown tied the game, 14-14.

Tate Haynes came on a corner blitz and hit Willis, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Valdez at the Hokies 28. Three plays later, on third down, Brown continued his red-hot first half with a perfect touch pass of 17 yards lofted to the left corner pylon. Kobay White adjusted to the ball and made a leaping, twisting catch and came down just inside the pylon for the go-ahead score, giving BC a 21-14 lead.

The Eagles got another huge break when Grimsley muffed a punt with 2:23 left before the half and recovered at the Tech 28. Two plays later, Brown executed a perfect RPO and kept the ball, running off the left side untouched for a 28-yard touchdown that made it 28-14 Eagles. The Eagles posted an amazing 356 yards of total offense in the first half.

The Hokies were poised to put a score on the board before the half, marching down to the BC 17 when linebacker Joe Sparacio stepped in front of a Willis pass in the end zone with 10 seconds remaining to end the threat and send BC to the locker room with a two-touchdown lead.

Ryan Willis was driving deep into Eagles territory on a drive that started at the BC 42 when Eagles corner Brandon Sebastian when head over heels to pick off Willis in the end zone and thwart another Hokies threat.

The Hokies answered the Eagles first-half offensive dominance by dominating time of possession in the third quarter, holding the ball for 11 minutes, 50 seconds and holding the Eagles to 0 yards of offense. The only scoring came when Willis connected with tight end James Mitchell over the middle from 11 yards for a touchdown, as the Hokies converted on 3rd-and-21 and 3rd-and-9 on the drive to cut the Eagles lead to 28-21.

Following a Brown interception, the Eagles defense pinned the Hokies inside their five and forced a punt. The Eagles offense responded with a 10-play, 56-yard drive, capped by David Bailey’s 1-yard plunge with 7:53 left, putting BC up, 35-21.

Virginia Tech completed a remarkable 18-play, 83-yard drive when Kaleb Smith stretched out in the end zone and caught a pass of 11 yards for a touchdown with 2:12 left. The Hokies converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive as Virginia Tech closed to within 35-28. Mike Palmer recovered the on-side kick for the Eagles.

AJ Dillon ran for 11 yards up the middle on third-and-nine to clinch the game.

The Eagles continue their season-opening 3-game homestand with a contest against FCS Richmond of the Colonial Athletic Association next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Alumni Stadium.