Virginia Tech's defense authored another Gordon Gekko-caliber comeback Saturday at Boston College.
Filleted in the first half, the Hokies dominated the second for a 19-0 victory, and the ringleader was end Steven Friday from Phoebus High.
Wait. How can a defense that pitched a shutout struggle for two quarters? Did your friendly, neighborhood columnist watch the proceedings from "Cheers" with Sam, Norm and Frasier instead of the press box?
Well, Tech yielded 211 yards in the first half. Boston College's All-ACC tailback, Montel Harris, side-stepped and ran through tacklers for 84 yards, and Dave Shinskie threw for 126.
And had Shinskie even approached accurate, that yardage would have doubled. But he missed open receivers, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble before his third-quarter benching.
Defend like that next week against North Carolina State and quarterback Russell Wilson, and the Hokies will fall hopelessly behind against the ACC's last remaining unbeaten.
The Hokies (2-2, 1-0 ACC) led 7-0 at intermission Saturday only when rover Davon Morgan stopped Shinskie 1 yard shy of the pylon as the clock expired. The play concluded a chaotic drive that included three major penalties against Tech and two replay reviews.
"That would have been a huge difference if it had been 7-7," said Tech linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, much-maligned this season but much-improved Saturday with an interception and pass break-up.
Gouveia-Winslow, head coach Frank Beamer and Friday insisted halftime adjustments were minimal, but something changed.
Boston College (2-1, 0-1) ran 21 plays in the second half for 39 yards, 35 on a fourth-quarter pass against Tech's reserves.
Given the offense's failure to run effectively — David Wilson instead of burly Darren Evans on two third-and-1s? — and convert turnovers into touchdowns, the defense had little margin for error.
Last week, the defense allowed 24 points and 278 yards to East Carolina in the first half, three points and 83 yards in the second. The face of that reversal was cornerback Rashad Carmichael, a likely suspect since he's the program's best defensive back.
Conversely, Friday, a fifth-year senior starting his fourth college game, was a revelation. Matched up for most of the afternoon against All-ACC tackle Anthony Castonzo, he bull-rushed with strength, edge-rushed with speed and badgered Shinskie and his replacement, Mike Marscovetra.
"He's pretty good," Friday said of Castonzo. "I'm not taking anything away from him."
Friday's best game this season?
"Career," he said, breaking into a wide smile . "I think that's the best game I've ever played."
Friday's only glitch was a second-quarter personal foul on which he appeared to sack Shinskie. But Tech coaches had called timeout, and officials blew the play dead.
"I'm not a dirty player," Friday said. "I honestly didn't hear the whistle."
Friday finished with two sacks, four tackles and two forced fumbles, a far better measure of his performance than one accidental late hit.
"Pass rushing is really effort," Beamer said, "and I thought we had that."
Effort and more, albeit against a quarterback that last season in Blacksburg went 1-for-12 with two interceptions.
"On film you see that he (Shinskie) folds a little bit under pressure," said Hosley, who returned from a one-game suspension and picked off Shinskie in the end zone to end a first-quarter drive.
The Hokies' six sacks matched their total from their first three games. They recorded the program's first shutout in four years, the first Boston College has endured in 12 years.
"That," Friday said, "is good to hear."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime, and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP. Sign up for text alerts by texting "BIGSPORTS" to 71593Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times