BOSTON (AP) – The winningest coach in Boston College history left the stadium after his school-record 69th victory and had dinner at home with his parents.

For Tom O’Brien, the best thing about his personal milestone is that it’s now in the past.

“I’m honored to be able to do it,” he said Sunday, a day after BC won its second consecutive double-overtime game, beating Brigham Young 30-23. “But there’s a lot of people who have a lot to do with it. I certainly am not totally responsible for any one of the victories.”

All week, whenever he was asked about surpassing Joe Yukica’s win total, O’Brien tried to turn the conversation to the game against the Cougars. But after BC (3-0) held off BYU (1-2) with Jamie Silva’s replay-review interception in the second overtime, his players lifted him to their shoulders to celebrate.

“I’m just glad they put me back down,” O’Brien said.

The victory moved BC from 23rd in The Associated Press Top 25 to No. 20, tied with Arizona State. Although BC beat then-No. 18 Clemson in its previous game, the Tigers were ranked 19th in the poll released Sunday after beating No. 9 Florida State 27-20 in Tallahassee.

“We only beat an 18th ranked team and they beat a ninth ranked team,” O’Brien said. “I guess that’s why they’re there.”

Though O’Brien tried to spread the credit, his players said he’s the one who sets the tone that kept the team focused on overtime despite a slew of mistakes – including four turnovers and two missed extra points – in regulation.

“We’re not going to give up, that’s how we’re coached,” said Silva, who grabbed the ball before it hit the turf after it was deflected by linebacker Brian Francois to end the game. “We’re coached to play the whole game and more.”

And they weren’t going to let their coach down this time.

“Everyone on the team was very honored to be a part of this game for coach,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Guys respect him and it’s easy to follow a leader like coach O’Brien. Everyone knows we have a very good coach and we’re all happy for him. He deserves it.”

Ryan came out of the game in better shape than either of the first two, when he first hurt his ankle and then aggravated the injury. O’Brien said his QB was walking without a limp for the first time in a while.

“He seemed to be better after the game than he was after the last game,” the coach said.

Worse off was linebacker turned short-yardage fullback Brian Toal, who was nursing his already injured shoulder. O’Brien said Toal was about as sore as expected, but there was hope he would recover during the week.

BC is back to the Atlantic Coast Conference at North Carolina State on Saturday, Division I-AA Maine the next week and then a Thursday night matchup against No. 11 Virginia Tech on Oct. 12.

The Eagles are happy to escape their two close calls.

with a pair of victories, O’Brien isn’t convinced that they’ve come out of the struggles with a secret overtime formula.

“The thing I learned most is we’d like to do better in regulation so we don’t get there,” he said. “Generally, you don’t win a lot of football games missing two extra points and turning the ball over four times. If we want to be a championship football team, which is what we all aspire to, we’re going to have to tackle better.”

AP-ES-09-17-06 1911EDT


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