Just one throw into the game, a nightmare unfolded for Boston College football quarterback Thomas Castellanos. Once the throwing errors started to unravel, the nightmare never stopped.
Tracking Jaden Williams near BC’s 45-yard line, Castellanos chose his man and fired a bullet to the wide receiver’s backside. A swarm of Virginia Tech defenders surrounded the midair pass, which never made contact with Williams’ hands.
Instead of hitting the receiver, Castellanos’ first pass attempt of the game trickled into cornerback Dorian Strong’s hands, who sprinted out of bounds into a roused Virginia Tech squad.
Only two possessions later, Castellanos tossed his second interception, and Strong played Joker to Castellanos’ Batman once again.
Castellanos’ two early interceptions led to Virginia Tech’s beatdown of the Eagles (6–4, 3–3 Atlantic Coast) on Saturday. The Hokies (5–5, 4–2) toppled BC 48–22 behind quarterback Kyron Drones’ standout performance. Drones registered 354 total yards and two passing touchdowns, and running back Bhayshul Tuten scored three times on the ground.
“On the first [interception], it was a great play call—start the game off with a shot,” Castellanos said. “I thought [Strong] just made a really good play on the ball, undercutted it.”
After Castellanos’ first pick, Virginia Tech rolled with the ball to BC’s 4-yard line, but a snap infraction forced it to kick a field goal. John Love converted the 27-yard attempt to put the Hokies up 3–0 with 12:40 left in the first quarter.
Having running back Kye Robichaux out for the game was a huge impediment for the Eagles’ offense, as the junior led BC’s backfield with 565 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns going into Saturday. But change-of-pace sophomore back Alex Broome made up for Robichaux’s absence on the Eagles’ second drive.
After a 36-yard scamper, Broome followed a plug block to the right of BC’s offensive line, making it 7–3 Eagles from four yards out.
“Of course it’s different not having [Robichaux] back there,” Castellanos said. “But, you know, it’s next man up and we had guys prepare all week.”
A Hokies’ three-and-out handed BC the ball back inside its 25-yard line. And once again, Castellanos turned the ball over through the air.
After scurrying for a gain of 12 yards out of bounds, Castellanos tossed the ball up trying to connect with a covered Dino Tomlin. But the ball didn’t float as far as intended, and Strong scooped up his second pick of the game.
“Obviously interceptions aren’t always the quarterback’s fault,” Hafley said. “Is it protection? Is it a wide receiver not running the right route? Is it a bad throw? … But we can’t turn the ball over. They stole three possessions very, very quickly.”
Strong’s heroics prevailed again, as Tuten walked in from seven yards out to cap off a 12-play, 69-yard scoring drive for a 10–7 lead.
In last week’s win over Syracuse, BC pulled off some trickery by converting a fake punt, which kept a drive alive in the fourth quarter. This week, however, BC was on the other end of the trickery, as the Hokies converted an onside kick that caught the Eagles’ kickoff formation sleeping to extend their lead.
Just after the second quarter started, Drones drilled Stephen Gosnell, who was left wide open by a broken assignment from BC safety Cole Batson, to put the Hokies ahead 17–7.
“It looked like a lot of things snowballed today, and we couldn’t regroup and get in a rhythm of the game,” Hafley said. “It was at all levels.”
Officials reversed a 73-yard punt return for Jaylin Lane because of an illegal block in the back. But another series of missed assignments in the second and third levels allowed Drones to take off for 59 yards. Lane was reimbursed for his overturned touchdown with a 5-yard catch and run into the end zone, pushing the Hokies’ advantage to 24–7 with just over seven minutes left in the first half.
Another chunk play—this time a 70-yard pass to Da’Quan Felton—propelled the Hokies’ offense to another touchdown, as a 4-yard carry from Tuten made it 31–7 at the end of the half. Virginia Tech led in total offense 340–138, passing offense 182–43, and rushing offense 158–98. Cornerback Elijah Jones’ absence certainly didn’t help—Jones led BC in interceptions and was tied for second in the nation, going into Saturday with five.
“Elijah is out—will probably be out for the remainder of the year,” Hafley said.
BC mitigated some of the total-offense deficit immediately after relinquishing another 4-yard rushing touchdown to Tuten. Castellanos worked up the field steadily with multiple passes to tight end Jeremiah Franklin, and he located freshman wideout Jaedn Skeete to make it 38–15 with the aid of a two-point conversion to Lewis Bond.
But Malachi Thomas’ explosion for a 35-yard rushing touchdown further cemented Virginia Tech’s dominance over the Eagles, as the Hokies went up 45–15 with 14:53 left in the game. After a Virginia Tech field goal and a Xavier Coleman touchdown, BC walked away with a 48–22 loss.
“It’s going to be erased very quickly, sometimes that’s the beauty of playing on a short week—you have no other choice,” Hafley said. “It’s on to Pittsburgh very fast.”