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October 4, 2008

Crane leads Eagles to 38-31 win

RALEIGH, N.C.(AP) Chris Crane scampered around the left side for a 13-yard touchdown with 22.8 seconds left to help Boston College beat North Carolina State 38-31 on Saturday.

Crane's third rushing score capped a huge day for the quarterback, who also threw for 428 yards and two scores to help the Eagles (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) hold on despite blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead. Rich Gunnell had 11 catches for 123 yards and a score for Boston College, which finished with 578 yards.

Russell Wilson threw for a touchdown and ran for two more, including the tying 2-yard keeper with 3:33 left as the Wolfpack (2-4, 0-2) rallied from a 31-17 deficit early in the final quarter. The redshirt freshman connected with Owen Spencer for a 61-yard touchdown catch to start the rally, and finished with 218 yards passing.

T.J. Graham added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for N.C. State, which struggled to find much offense on the day. The Wolfpack finished with 253 total yards.

Crane was coming off an up-and-down stretch in his efforts to replace Matt Ryan, the NFL first-round draft pick who helped the Eagles reach No. 2 in the rankings last year. Two weeks ago, he was booed and benched before running for a pair of third-quarter scores and throwing a touchdown pass in the fourth of a 34-7 win over Central Florida.

Last week, Crane led the offense to just 32 yards in three first-quarter series before being relieved by Dominique Davis, who led the Eagles to four straight scores in a 42-0 win over Rhode Island. Still, coach Jeff Jagodzinski said afterward that Crane would start against the Wolfpack.

Crane rewarded his coach's faith, throwing for 241 yards and two touchdowns and running for a 5-yard score to help BC take a 21-17 lead at the break. He scored again on a short keeper to cap the Eagles' first second-half possession, helping the Eagles stay out front of the Wolfpack and former coach Tom O'Brien most of the day.

Crane completed 34 of 51 passes, including a 36-yard connection with Lars Anderson on the decisive drive. Then, with the Eagles facing a second-and-1, Crane broke free on the left side and got just inside the pylon for the 38-31 lead just when it looked BC was setting up for a field goal.

It was the second meeting between O'Brien and his former program. O'Brien left BC in 2006 as the Eagles' winningest coach with 75 victories in 10 seasons, and guided them to eight straight winning seasons and six straight bowl wins. Last year, Boston College forced seven turnovers in a 37-17 home win.


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