NEWTON, Mass. -- The Steve Addazio era is officially underway at Boston College, and while it didn’t start exactly the way they drew it up, the Eagles will take it as they used a strong second half to beat visiting Villanova 24-14.
How it happened: The visitors seized the momentum immediately on Saturday.
Villanova won the coin toss and elected to receive, quickly moving the ball to midfield after a touchback on the opening kickoff. After the BC defense stopped the Wildcats on a third-and-short, with linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis shooting the gap and hitting the back in the backfield, longtime Nova head coach Andy Talley pulled a fast one.
The Wildcats lined up to punt on fourth down but it was a fake, the handoff going to junior Jamal Abdur-Rahman, who took it 47 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
While the BC offense answered with a TD drive of its own, the defense struggled to contain Nova’s dual-threat QB, John Robertson. Making plays with his arm and his legs, Robertson led the Wildcats to another TD and a 14-7 lead at the half.
Addazio must’ve said something right during the intermission, as the Eagles took control with the first drive of the third quarter. Chase Rettig moved the offense with short passes to David Dudeck and Bobby Wolford out of the backfield, then hit a big play on the Nova D.
Alex Amidon got behind the Wildcats’ D, running free up the right hash marks. Rettig hit him and Amidon sprinted to paydirt for a 49-yard TD.
The play tied the game at 14 and swung the momentum to the home team. After the defense forced Nova to punt on its next two possessions, Rettig hit Wolford out of the backfield for a 34-yard catch-and-run up the right sideline and on the next play Andre Williams found daylight to the same side and rumbled down the sideline for a 26-yard TD and a 21-14 lead.
BC wouldn’t trail again.
What it means: BC now holds a two-to-one edge in the all-time series with Villanova, the Eagles going 30-15-1 in 46 games against the Wildcats.
The Eagles also managed to realize the first of their two stated goals -- to win the opener and get bowl eligible -- from preseason.
Williams tweaks hamstring:> Williams carried 23 times for 104 yards and the go-ahead 26-yard TD, but had just one carry after that and left the game with a hamstring injury. He was spotted on the sideline in full pads in the fourth quarter.
Up next: It’s a short turnaround for BC, as the Eagles host Wake Forest on Friday night (8 ET on ESPN2, WatchESPN) in both teams’ ACC opener.
The Demon Deacons opened their 2013 season with a 31-7 win over Presbyterian. Tanner Price, Wake’s fourth-year starter at QB, led the charge against the Blue Hose, completing 14 of 25 throws for 219 yards and a TD and rushing 14 times for 31 yards and another TD.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.