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A little Flutie magic, a lot of defense carry Boston College past NIU

Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

Flutie throws a touchdown for Boston College. A different, younger Flutie.

It had been 30 years since Eagles announcers could rejoice a Flutie score, but a Flutie threw a touchdown pass for the Eagles in Saturday’s 17-14 win against Northern Illinois.

Troy Flutie, the nephew of Doug and son of Darren, started at quarterback for the Eagles with Darius Wade recovering from an ankle injury. Flutie didn’t throw the ball much, but he completed 5 of 11 attempts for 92 yards and a 27-yard touchdown. Doug’s last touchdown for Boston College came Jan. 1, 1985, in the Cotton Bowl.

Troy split time with running quarterback Jeff Smith.

What the win means for Boston College: The Eagles can win without Wade at quarterback. Barely. It looks as if they will rely on the abilities of both Flutie and Smith, at least for the time being, and the two played just well enough for a win Saturday. They certainly will need to play better, but it was the most extensive playing time for each. Boston College’s stout defense will keep the quarterbacks out of bad situations for the most part.

What the loss means for Northern Illinois: It’s a second consecutive disappointing loss to a Power 5 opponent. The Huskies were close to knocking off top-ranked Ohio State a week ago, and the Huskies were within a touchdown of Boston College most of the game. The fact NIU nearly upset Power 5 teams in back-to-back weeks should mean the Huskies will fare well in league play.

Stat of the game: Neither team passed for 100 yards. Boston College finished with 92 yards through the air, barely beating out NIU’s 81 yards. There were three quarters in which one of the teams failed to record a single passing yard, and the Eagles didn’t even attempt a pass in the fourth quarter nursing the lead.

Top play: It has to be Troy Flutie's 27-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Callinan. There aren’t many things better than a Flutie tossing touchdowns in Chestnut Hill. In typical Flutie fashion, Troy rolled out of the pocket, approached the line of scrimmage as if he might run and then delivered a nice touch pass toward the end zone.