Dave Shinskie’s 1-yard sneak on fourth down gave Boston College the lead and the Eagles handed Virginia its fourth straight loss Saturday, 14-10.
The Eagles (7-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) kept their hopes alive to win the ACC’s Atlantic Division thanks to a 70-yard fourth-quarter drive that included two fourth-down conversions.
Boston College remains a half-game behind Clemson in the division race with two league games remaining. The Tigers have one league game remaining, at Virginia next week, and would clinch the title – and a berth in the ACC title game against Georgia Tech – with a victory.
Virginia (3-7, 2-4) had taken its first lead of the game on Robert Randolph’s 38-yard field goal on the last play of the third quarter, but couldn’t muster one more big drive.
Shinskie, the 25-year-old freshman who spent six years in the minor leagues as a pitcher before returning to football, showed the poise of a seasoned player on the winning drive.
Facing a first-and-25 from his own 49 after back-to-back penalties, he hit Colin Larmond Jr. for 11 yards and Chris Pantale for 12, setting up a third-and-2. When Virginia stopped Montel Harris for a yard, the Eagles went for it on fourth down, and Harris gained 3 yards.
Shinskie later tried to connect with Rich Gunnell in the end zone, but Chris Cook was called for pass interference on the play, moving the ball to the Cavaliers 7. Three Harris runs later, it was fourth down again, and this time the 6-foot-4 quarterback kept it himself and pushed it in.
Nearly eight minutes remained, but after Virginia was forced to punt, the Eagles took over at their 14 and ran the clock down almost to the 2-minute mark before giving it back.
Jameel Sewell then drove Virginia to the Eagles 12 with 26 seconds left, but they faced fourth-and-1 with no timeouts left. Sewell tried to run it, but was stopped just short.
Earlier, Virginia looked like it might end its losing skid, and in exciting fashion as Chris Cook intercepted a Shinskie pass and returned it 58 yards for the tying touchdown.
The Cavaliers stopped the Eagles, then drove 60 yards to Randolph’s field goal.
The Eagles led 7-0 at halftime and could have been up by more. Shinskie led them to the Cavaliers 5 on their opening drive, then threw an interception in the end zone.
Virginia won the field position battle early on, starting drives at its 45 and the Eagles 45, but never threatened until Sewell drove them to the Eagles 32 late in the second quarter. But on a second-and-10 play, he scrambled, ignored the room to run in front of him and threw toward the end zone, where Roderick Rollins intercepted, preserving the halftime lead.