CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- When you have a workhorse, it’s important to know how to manage it. Lean on it too much, and it’ll be no use when you need it most.
That’s why Andre Williams -- the ACC’s leading rusher in 2013 -- started BC’s second offensive possession against Virginia Tech on the bench, with freshman Myles Willis handling the ball carrying duties on the first two plays. The senior wasn’t hurt and hadn’t played his way off the field. Eagles offensive coordinator Ryan Day just wanted to give Willis a chance, and Williams a breather.
“He’s got a shoulder contusion, he’s got a lot of stuff going on right now,” BC coach Steve Addazio said of Williams after the Eagles’ 34-27 win. “But I just think you see a great determination. And I think you see a kid who has completely bought in. He’s enjoying the season, he’s enjoying the fact he’s able to bring success to our football team.”
The big back came back onto the field later in the drive, after Chase Rettig found Harrison Jackson for 10 yards to convert a third-and-4.
Williams got the Eagles into the end zone seven plays later, shrugging off more than one would-be Tech tackler en route to paydirt from 19 yards out. (But not before Rettig ripped off a key run of his own, surprising the Hokies with a 19-yard scamper on a designed run on third-and-10.)
It was the first of two touchdowns for Williams, who finished with 33 carries for 166 yards to move into eighth all time in the BC record books (passing L.V. Whitworth) with 2,738 career yards.
The 196 total rushing yards BC recorded Saturday marks the most Virginia Tech has allowed this season. The Hokies came into the game fifth in the nation in rushing defense, allowing only 91 yards a game.
“I know I’m an integral part of the offense and they are really counting on me to just move the chains and be a workhorse in terms of the run game,” Williams said of his sixth 100-plus yard game this season. “I pride myself on being able to get 100 yards a game, but when our offense executes properly, when our O-line is clicking and the skill positions are clicking, and we’re able to use play-action for the run to complement the pass, it comes pretty easy.”
After the BC D made a big stop on fourth-and-6 to turn Tech over on downs, Williams put the game out of reach. If his 19-yard TD early showed off his power, his 62-yard burst through the right side, his longest run of the season, in the fourth showed off his surprising wheels.
Asked after which touchdown was sweeter, Williams paused for a second to consider.
“They were both sweet,” he said with a smile. “They had different flavors. I think I was able to exhibit two different sides to my game. I have speed, I can break away, and I can also break tackles and get the extra yards after contact.”
Addazio said he believes the style of the BC run game suits Williams especially well, which has helped lead to these kinds of performances.
“You’re seeing the best of him and that’s a good thing,” the coach said. “And we need that -- obviously.”
Already playing without second-leading receiver and kick returner Spiffy Evans, BC’s receiving corps took another hit Saturday. Sophomore Brian Miller suffered a right knee injury on a second-quarter reception against Virginia Tech and did not return.
The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Andover, Mass., native caught a short pass from quarterback Chase Rettig on second-and-9 and ran to the BC sideline for a 12-yard gain. But the wideout immediately grabbed at his right knee after being taken down, slamming a fist into the white paint of the sideline in obvious pain.
Trainers attended to the sophomore on the sideline before helping him off. Miller had five catches for 60 yards in four games prior to Saturday.
The defense also took a big hit in the game, as defensive linemen Kaleb Ramsey (hamstring) and Jaryd Rudolph (head) and defensive back C.J. Jones (right knee) suffered injuries that knocked them from the game.
Addazio said he didn’t have an update on any of the injured players after the game.
“Don’t ask me because I don’t even know,” he said. “But I know we took some hits today, for sure. And we’re not a team that can afford to take any hits right now. So where is that gonna bring us? Gotta deal with that tomorrow.”
The results are in: The Eagles have a new mascot, and its name is “Welles.”
After bringing back a live eagle mascot for the first time in 47 years, BC asked fans to vote on the mascot’s name. The winner was “Welles,” for Welles Crowther -- a former BC men’s lacrosse player who became famous as “The Man in the Red Bandana” after risking -- and ultimately losing -- his life to help save others in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Crowther’s family was honored on the field during a break in the first quarter.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.