BOSTON – Kevin Challenger made a foot-dragging catch for a 26-yard touchdown at the end zone sideline with 1:18 left Saturday as No. 14 Boston College rallied from early and late deficits to beat Wake Forest 35-30.

The Eagles (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell behind 17-0 on a wet and windy day when it had five turnovers, a blocked punt and no fewer than 10 dropped passes. BC trailed 30-21 with 3:24 left when Matt Ryan replaced Quinton Porter for the final two drives.

Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez for a 38-yard touchdown pass to pull BC within two with 2:30 left, but an excessive celebration penalty forced the Eagles to kick off from their own 20. After stopping Wake Forest, BC had 1:56 left to win it.

BC moved to the Wake Forest 26 when linebacker Aaron Curry was called for pass interference. On the next play, Ryan threw to the left side of the end zone, and Challenger kicked his feet across the slippery turf while falling out of bounds to catch the ball.

The officials made no ruling for a few seconds, then signaled an incomplete pass. A short conference resulted in a touchdown signal, but it wasn’t official until the replay officials reviewed it.

Wake Forest (2-5, 1-3) had 1:12 left, but Nick Larkin sacked Cory Randolph near midfield on the final play to set off another BC celebration.

The victory – without injured defensive starts Mathias Kiwanuka and Al Washington – made the Eagles eligible for a bowl game for a school-record seventh consecutive year. It also repaid Wake Forest for the previous two games – both won by the Demon Deacons in the final two minutes.

Ryan was 7-for-9 for 134 yards and two touchdowns in two series, relieving Porter after he threw three interceptions and completed 20 of 41 passes for 184 yards. Cory Randolph went 21-for-33 for 193 yards and a touchdown for Wake Forest, which has lost six in a row to ranked teams and has not beaten one on the road since 1979.

Andre Callender fumbled the opening kickoff, giving Wake Forest the ball at the BC 31 and setting up their opening field goal. The teams traded punts, and when the Eagles got the ball back near the end of the first, they gave it away again on first down when Porter fumbled the snap, recovered it and coughed it up again.

Jon Abbate picked up the ball and stumbled toward the end zone; it was first ruled a touchdown before the officials placed the ball at the 1. Chris Barclay ran it in from the 1 on third down to make it 10-0.

Alphonso Smith intercepted Porter at the Wake Forest 5, keeping the Eagles off the board at the end of the first quarter. Wake Forest was unable to convert, but on its next possession Randolph hit Nate Morton on a 29-yard touchdown to make it 17-0 with 8:34 left in the half.

Larry Lester, who dropped several key passes, caught a 37-yard touchdown pass to pull BC within 10, 17-7. But the Eagles went three-and-out on their last possession of the half and Smith blocked the punt and recovered it to set up Sam Swank’s 32-yard field goal to make it 20-7 as the half ended.

Porter also fumbled the ball away on a scramble to the Wake Forest 3, but the turnover was negated by a defensive holding penalty.

BC took a 21-20 lead on Brian Toal’s 1-yard plunge, but Josh Gattis returned another Porter interception 29 yards for a touchdown to give Wake Forest the lead again 40 seconds into the fourth quarter and then. After Porter threw his third interception, Swank kicked a 34-yard field goal with 3:36 to play to make it 30-21.

AP-ES-10-15-05 1825EDT


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