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Boston College, Levy Create Chaos in Coastal

By Dave Holcomb
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Teams that lose four games don’t often lead division races at any point during November. But in this topsy turvy year for the ACC, anything seems possible.

Teams that lose four games don’t often lead division races at any point during November. But in this topsy turvy year for the ACC, anything seems possible.

And thanks in large part to Boston College backup sophomore running back Travis Levy, that’s exactly where the ACC Coastal division sits at the end of Week 10.

Levy replaced injured Boston College star A.J. Dillon in the third quarter and rushed for two touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 31-21 victory against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

The Boston College victory not only sets up an ACC Atlantic division de facto championship matchup next week, it also puts the Coastal division in a position for one of the most chaotic season endings of recent memory.

Dillon led the Eagles in rushing with 96 yards on 24 carries Saturday, but he wasn’t the same after he ran into a couple cameramen along the Boston College sideline during the third quarter. Following that carry, he rushed for 13 yards on his last three attempts and didn’t have a carry in the fourth quarter.

Missing your best player for the final quarter in a tight game obviously isn’t ideal, but Levy ensured Boston College wouldn’t skip a beat. After Dillon’s collison on the sideline, Levy took over in the backfield and rushed for a 29-yard touchdown on the very next play.

In the fourth quarter, Levy posted 33 rushing yards on his way to a season-high 75 yards on just 11 carries. He also scored again, extending the Eagles’ lead to 14 with under nine minutes remaining.

There’s still little information out on what hinder Dillon during the fourth quarter Saturday. Boston College will need him to heal quickly with Clemson up next, but at least the sophomore proved he can be counted upon if needed.

The Boston College defense proved the same. Entering the second half trailing 14-7, the Eagles held the Hokies to just 32 yards in the third quarter. Two drives after Levy’s first touchdown that tied the game at 14, freshman defensive back Brandon Sebastian made a very acrobatic play to pick off Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis.

It proved to be the turning point of the game. Two plays later, the Eagles were back in the end zone, taking the lead for good.

Boston College’s victory keeps them within a 1.5 games of Clemson and with the Tigers coming to Chestnut Hill next week, the ACC gets its own semifinal matchup -- the SEC had two such games in Week 10. Boston College last defeated Clemson in 2010 when the Tigers were the No. 2 team in the country, so while it’s a lopsided matchup on paper, stranger things have happened.

Strange is also probably the perfect word to summarize the ACC Coastal division race. For those not keeping track, Pitt is that team with four losses that sits on top of the division with three weeks left. That’s possible because three of the Panthers defeats have come against non-conference opponents (Penn State, UCF and Notre Dame).

That’s not even the strangest fact about the division-leading Panthers. That would be the fact their lone ACC loss came against the 1-7 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Pitt beat Virginia on the road Friday night to move into the division lead, but that was the perfect result for Virginia Tech as well because it ensured that even with a loss Saturday, the Hokies still control their own destiny. Virginia Tech still has to play Pitt and Virginia Tech this month.

But after the defeat to Boston College, the margin of error for Virginia Tech hits zero. The Hokies must win-out to get back to the ACC Championship Game.

If before the season you told a Virginia Tech fan that Miami was going to be in second-to-last place of the Coastal Division with three weeks left, they would have responded saying a Coastal Division title was in the bank. But not only do the Hokies face an uphill battle back to Charlotte, they need to win two out of the last three to just clinch a bowl appearance.

With six teams still alive in the Coastal race and with only two of them at bowl eligibility, it’s going to be a wild final three weeks in the Coastal division.