CHESTNUT HILL - Chase Rettig completed 14-of-22 passes for 196 yards and a career-high three touchdowns as the Boston College Eagles beat up the UMass Minutemen, 45-17, to claim their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
"I think we were trying to get over the hump," said Rettig, whose team dropped its first three games of the 2011 season against Northwestern (24-17), Central Florida (30-3) and Duke (20-19) before winning Saturday. "It's important to every guy to win and I think we can build off it in practice. We will want to extend it. We are going to enjoy the win today and then go out there in practice and worry about next week."
Boston College (1-3, 0-1 ACC) racked up 389 total yards (196 passing, 193 rushing) while allowing 313 total yards of offense to UMass (195 passing, 118 rushing). BC controlled the time of possession, 36:23 to 23:28, and recorded 22 first downs while holding UMass to 19.
"We're obviously elated to get our first victory," said BC head coach Frank Spaziani. "[It took] four weeks, but we finally got it. Tribute to the kids and the coaches, they did a good job getting them ready, and the players did a good job compartmentalizing and doing what they need to do. We certainly had some nice opportunities and made some plays. Hopefully we can build on it and move forward."
On the first play from scrimmage, UMass quarterback Kellen Pagel threw an interception to Hampton Hughes, which set the Eagles up with favorable field position. BC used an 11-play, 47-yard drive, in which Andre Williams had eight rushes, to punch the ball into the endzone. Rettig found Lars Anderson for the first touchdown of the day, a one-yard toss on a play-action pass to the back right side of the endzone with 9:10 left in the opening quarter, capping off an 11-play, 47-yard drive. Nate Freese added a 26-yard field goal from the left hash with 2:25 remaining in the quarter, giving BC a 10-0 lead after one quarter.
Tahj Kimble tacked on the Eagles' second touchdown of the game, scoring on a three-yard scramble to put BC up 17-0 with 9:31 remaining in the second quarter. UMass (2-1, 1-0 CAA) jumped on the board on a 100-yard kickoff return from Jesse Julmiste with 9:18 to go before the half, cutting the Minutemen deficit to 10.
"I was waiting for that time," Julmiste said about the touchdown return. "Today was a good day for me to do that."
Rettig added his second touchdown of the game on a 36-yard pass to Colin Larmond Jr., giving the Eagles a 24-7 advantage, which they would take into halftime.
UMass scored first in the third quarter as Brendon Levengood kicked a 38-yard field goal to trim the BC lead to 24-10 at the 4:33 mark. Rettig threw his third and final score of the game with 1:36 left in the third, finding Larmond for a 37-yard score to put BC on top 31-10. Nick Clancy then recovered a Jonathan Hernandez fumble and returned it 19 yards for the score, giving the Eagles a 38-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Kevin Pierre Louis scored BC's only touchdown in the fourth quarter, returning a fumble 96 yards to put the Eagles up by a commanding score of 45-10. Jonathan Hernandez ran for UMass' only offensive touchdown on a six-yard rush up the middle, bringing the game to its final score of 45-17.
Larmond Jr. finished with 114 receiving yards and two scores on six catches while Andre Williams ran for 95 yards on 20 carries. Montel Harris, who missed the first three games of this season and the last five total, had 27 net yards on nine carries. Dave Shinskie took over for Rettig in the fourth quarter, but did not throw a pass.
On defense, Luke Kuechly recorded 11 tackles (10 assisted) to extend his streak of 10 or more tackles in a game to an FBS-leading 26 straight games. Steele Divitto also had eight total tackes (four assisted) for Boston College.
Pagel threw for 195 yards and tossed two interceptions on 18-of-37 passing and Hernandez rushed for 80 net yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and had five catches for 38 yards for the Minutemen. Julmiste racked up a school-record 252 kickoff return yards, including his 100-yard kickoff return.
"You can tell that BC played a lot better than they had the last couple of weeks," said UMass head coach Kevin Morris. "Congratulations to them. The score certainly wasn't indicative of the score of play. They were looking to figure some things out and get better with a win. They got that today."
BC resumes its ACC schedule next Saturday when it hosts Wake Forest in the last game of its season-long three game home stand. UMass travels to Norfolk, Virginia to face Old Dominion at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
BC won its first game of the season 91-3) and improved to 19-5 all-time against UMass. The Eagles have now won the last seven meetings between the schools dating back to 1978...The Eagles scored a season-best 45 points in the victory, recording the most since a 52-20 home victory against N.C. State on Oct. 17, 2009...BC posted 24 first-half points, the most since the Eagles' first game of the 2010 season on Sept. 4 against Weber State.