CLEVELAND -- Quarterback Chris Crane, who waited four years for his chance to run the offense, ran for two touchdowns to lead Boston College to a 21-0 season-opening win over Kent State on Saturday night.
Making just his second career start, Crane, a fifth-year senior who spent last season sitting behind former BC star and Atlanta Falcons starter Matt Ryan, completed 12-of-18 passes for 106 yards. He scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter, a 6-yarder early in the fourth to make it 21-0 and kept his mistakes to a minimum while directing BC's ground-heavy attack.
The Eagles, who climbed as high as No. 2 in the polls last season before finishing 10th in the AP Top 25, had little trouble with the Mid-American Conference's Golden Flashes.
Boston College took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and then turned things over to its veteran defense, which didn't allow the Golden Flashes inside its 45 until the fourth quarter and posted its first shutout since 2006.
The Eagles' chances of repeating as champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic division this season will rest on the shoulders -- and perhaps legs -- of Crane, who has been jokingly called a "fifth-year freshman" by coach Jeff Jagodzinski. Crane completed just two passes as Ryan's backup last season and came in having thrown just 40 passes since enrolling at BC.
But other than missing a wide-open Rich Gunnell down the sideline on what would have been an easy touchdown in the third quarter, Crane made all the plays.
Jeff Smith scored on a 42-yard run in the first half for the Eagles, who will open conference play next week against Georgia Tech.
Kent State's Eugene Jarvis, the nation's leading returning rusher from last season, finished with 51 yards on 11 carries. Quarterback Julian Edelman went 10-for-14 yards for 123 yards, threw two interceptions and was scrambling from BC's pass rush all night.
The Golden Flashes moved the ball on their first possession and nearly came up with a big trick play, but freshman wide receiver Sam Kirkland dropped a pass from fellow freshman Sal Battles off a reverse option at BC's 16.
The missed opportunity would come back to haunt Kent State moments later when coach Doug Martin gambled on fourth-and-1 near midfield. Instead of pinning Boston College back with a punt, the Flashes tried to run it inside, but the 5-foot-5 Jarvis was stopped six inches short of the first down at BC's 45.
The Eagles took advantage of the short field, drove to the 10 and took a 7-0 lead when Crane faked an inside handoff and barreled in for BC's first score.
Kent State didn't pick up a yard the next time it had the ball, and once again BC started near midfield. On second down, Crane pitched to Smith, who turned the left corner and was barely touched while racing in to make it 14-0.
Forced to play from behind, the Golden Flashes couldn't do much against BC's defense, which was ranked second nationally against the run last season. Edelman was under pressure almost every time he dropped back and Kent State's receivers couldn't find much room to work as BC's defensive backs blanketed them all over the field.