Eagles survive furious rally to halt Broncos' home win streak

BOISE, Idaho -- Boston College got offended watching a
simple pregame banquet turn into a rally for its opponent.

The No. 19 Eagles got even by spoiling Dan Hawkins' last game at
Boise State and ending the nation's longest home winning streak.

Matthew Ryan threw three first-half touchdown passes and Ryan
Glasper intercepted Jared Zabransky's pass in the end zone with 37
seconds left as Boston College held on for a 27-21 win in the MPC
Computers Bowl on Wednesday.

"We go to a banquet that turns into a pep rally; I didn't have
to say anything to this team. I ought to thank the mayor and the
people of Boise for getting this team ready to play," Boston
College coach Tom O'Brien said. "There wasn't anything I had to do
to get this team ready."

A number of Boston College players said MPC Computers CEO Mike
Atkins made fun of defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka's name during the
Monday night banquet.

"As far as motivation goes, if we didn't have it before two
days ago, we definitely found it," Kiwanuka said. "I think that
had a lot to do with why we came out so strong."

Turned out the Eagles needed the strong start. Down 27-0 late in
the third quarter, the Broncos tried to rally for their departing
coach in the closing moments.

Boise State started its final possession at the BC 47 with 1:56
left, and Zabransky completed a 32-yard, fourth-down pass to Vinny
Perretta to the 14.

A pass-interference penalty moved the ball to the 5, but
Zabransky was sacked by Nick Larkin, and then Glasper came up with
his interception.

"I just want that throw back," Zabransky said.

The Eagles (9-3) extended the nation's longest bowl winning
streak to six and snapped Boise State's 31-game home winning
streak. BC's last bowl loss was to Colorado in the 1999 Insight
Bowl, and Boise State's last home loss was in 2001 -- a 41-20 loss
to Washington State in Hawkins' first home game after taking over
for Dirk Koetter.

The game was Hawkins' last with the Broncos (9-4), who failed to
win 10 games for the first time since 2001. He's headed to Colorado
after signing a five-year contract worth $900,000 per year on Dec.
16 -- with the stipulation that he be allowed to coach Boise State
in the bowl game.

"It came down to one play against a very good football team.
They made the play and we didn't," Hawkins said. "I would have
loved to have a win for seniors and the effort they put forth but I
told them they can hold there heads up I was proud of them."

The Broncos were lethargic and lifeless, and bullied by the
Eagles in the first half. Ryan took full advantage.

The sophomore was rarely pressured and picked apart Boise
State's secondary. He threw for 178 yards in the first half and
finished with 256 on the famed blue turf that had a slight coat of
white after a brief hail and sleet storm in the third quarter.

"When the guys are making plays, it makes your job as the
quarterback a lot easier," Ryan said.

By the time Will Blackmon outmanuevered three Boise State
defensive backs for a 35-yard TD reception with 1:16 left in the
first half, Boise State fans were already headed to the tent
vendors outside the stadium.

It almost became 31-0. On the last play of the half, Ryan
completed a 52-yard pass to Blackmon. He caught it at the 6, but
was tackled by Colt Brooks at the 1.

Blackmon finished with five catches for 144 yards and Ryan
Ohliger kicked field goals of 26 and 30 yards for BC.

Ryan's first two TD passes went to Tony Gonzalez. The first came
on BC's opening drive, when on fourth-down, Ryan sidestepped
defensive tackle Nick Schlekeway and found Gonzalez streaking
across the back of the end zone for a 35-yard play.

Gonzalez's second TD came late in the second quarter after the
Eagles came up with a critical turnover.

Down 10-0, Boise State put together its most productive drive,
marching inside the Eagles 40. Zabransky threw to Jeff Carpenter,
who ran to the BC 32, but was hit by linebacker Jolonn Dunbar and
fumbled. Ray Henderson scooped up the ball on one bounce and raced
55 yards to the Boise State 13. Ryan connected with Gonzalez on the
next play.

Boise State was scoreless until late in the third. Zabransky
threw a 53-yard TD pass to Drisan James with 1:24 left and then
scored on a 2-yard TD run early in the fourth, the Broncos' second
score in 2:09.

The Broncos got to 27-21 with 3:51 left after Quinton Jones
returned a punt 92 yards for a TD. Jones broke two tackles inside
his own 10, broke two more and traversed the field for the longest
punt return in the bowl's history.

"I was trying to find anything to give us some momentum. It
wasn't that we lacked confidence, we just needed something to give
us momentum," Jones said.

Boise State lost for the first time in its hometown bowl. The
Broncos beat Iowa State (2002), Texas El-Paso (2000) and Louisville
(1999) in the game.

Wearing a blue pullover with orange piping and the Boise State
logo planted firmly on his chest, Hawkins crisscrossed the field
before kickoff, making sure to give every player a pat, handshake
and for some, a brief hug.