CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Boston College is used to succeeding away from home, so this trip was no different. Even if it was for a bowl.

The Eagles represented the Big East Conference last season in the Continental Tire Bowl, played in Charlotte, N.C. Their opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference? The University of North Carolina, which had nearly 70,000 fans in attendance for the Tar Heels’ first postseason game in three years.

“I don’t think we had any fans,” BC tackle Jeremy Trueblood said. “It was definitely all baby blue everywhere. That was not a neutral site by any stretch of the imagination.”

No matter. Spurred on by a fake field goal that went for a clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Eagles won 37-24. They continued a trend of winning in hostile environments under coach Tom O’Brien, adding that one to victories at Notre Dame, at Penn State and at West Virginia in recent years. And North Carolina didn’t have to wait long for a rematch. Boston College officially joined the ACC over the summer and makes its first trip to Kenan Stadium since 1981. The 19th-ranked Eagles (6-2, 3-2 ACC) hope to carry over their dominance from the bowl.

“It was tough for us to go down there and beat them,” linebacker Brian Toal said. “It was their first bowl game in a while and we didn’t want to look like the chumps in the ACC before we even got there. It made us realize we could play with the ACC teams.”

There might be something else to prove Saturday. Nearly 10 days ago, the Eagles traveled to Virginia Tech and got embarrassed in a 30-10 loss, dropping them 1 games behind Florida State in the Atlantic Division.

Now, BC must win its final three games and hope for the Seminoles to slip badly down the stretch.

“I’m sure there’s disappointment that we’re out of the ACC race right now, but we know there are still bowl games to accomplish,” O’Brien said. “For the seniors, it’s their last go-around. They’ve got three more weeks, starting with North Carolina.”

The Tar Heels (3-4, 2-2) have their own concerns. They need three victories in the final four games to become bowl eligible for the second season in a row and continue the turnaround under coach John Bunting.

With a trip to Blacksburg, Va., to meet the third-ranked Hokies looming on the schedule, this game essentially is a must-win.

“You can’t look ahead in this conference or any other sport that you play, so we are just trying to take it one game at a time and focus on our next opponent,” North Carolina cornerback Quinton Person said. “You try to prepare for them and hopefully be prepared when Saturday rolls around and get it done.”

This is the start of a three-game homestand for North Carolina, which has performed well in the friendly confines of Kenan Stadium. The only blemish is a close loss to Wisconsin, and the Tar Heels have allowed only 36 points in three games.

Who cares if the average crowd so far this season (54,000) is well short of capacity (60,000)?

Right now, the Tar Heels simply need to win.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can get that done,” Bunting said. “We’ve got good enough players to get that done.”

O’Brien feels the same about his team.

“Each and every game is important now,” he said. “We are in November and we want to finish the season strong. I think we will be remembered for what we do now in November.”


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