Virginia Tech football shuts out Boston College, 19-0

By Mark Giannotto
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 11:40 PM

CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. - Bud Foster wasn't ready to compare his charges to the units that have been among the nation's best during his 15 years as Virginia Tech's defensive coordinator. But judging from the smile on his face after the Hokies posted their first shutout since 2006 with a 19-0 win over Boston College on Saturday, this year's version of the Virginia Tech defense is on the right track.

It was the first time since Oct. 8, 1998, that the Eagles were unable to score a point, a span of 148 games. Coincidentally, a Foster-led Virginia Tech defense was the opponent on that day, as well.

"Obviously, this has to be a confidence boost," said Foster, who was quick to point out that the Hokies had at least one shutout per season between 1995 and 2006. "We're making steps . . . [but] we've got a long way to go to where you know how they're gonna play when you walk on the field."

Any uncertainty, though, didn't stop Virginia Tech from forcing Boston College quarterback Dave Shinskie to the bench for a second straight year. A year after completing just one pass in a 48-14 Virginia Tech blowout, Shinskie had three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble) and completed just 11 of 25 passes before being pulled in favor of backup Mike Marscovetra in the third quarter.

In particular, Virginia Tech's front seven proved up to the task against a stout Boston College offensive line. The Hokies never let Shinskie or Marscovetra get comfortable in the pocket, finishing with six sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

But early on, it was timely plays, not any sort of dominance, that helped the Hokies preserve their shutout.

On Boston College's second drive of the game, junior running back Montel Harris (111 rushing yards) led the Eagles into the red zone before Shinskie made his first mistake of the afternoon.

On third and goal, he telegraphed a pass to tight end Chris Pantale and cornerback Jayron Hosley jumped the route for an interception in the end zone. It was a welcome development for the sophomore, who was suspended for last week's win over East Carolina after violating team policy.

"On film, you see that [Shinskie] folds a little bit under pressure," Hosley said. "We were waiting on edge for those big-time plays to happen, and they did."

The Hokies' offense responded with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a three-yard touchdown run by running back Darren Evans to begin the second quarter. Evans had a 30-yard catch on the play prior to the score, getting himself open in the flat on a broken play. It turned out to be Virginia Tech's lone touchdown of the game.

Then, with 15 seconds left before halftime, the Hokies' defense again proved resilient. Shinskie had driven Boston College to the Virginia Tech 11-yard line after the Hokies extended the drive with a roughing-the-kicker penalty on senior Zach Luckett and a pass interference call on freshman Antone Exum two plays later.

But instead of throwing a pass, Shinskie chose to scramble and was tackled inbounds at the 1-yard line by Virginia Tech's Davon Morgan as time expired. The Hokies entered the locker room with a 7-0 lead, despite allowing the Eagles to gain 211 yards.

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