Rocky Lombardi’s 1-yard quarterback sneak in overtime lifted visiting Northern Illinois to a 27-24 victory over Boston College in the season opener for both teams Saturday at Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Liam Connor’s 39-yard field goal put Boston College ahead after the first series of the extra session, but Lombardi led the winning four-play drive to give the Huskies (1-0) their second Week 1 win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in three years. Northern Illinois defeated Georgia Tech in 2021
Lombardi ended the game 13-of-29 passing for 165 yards. Antario Brown accounted for the first two Northern Illinois touchdowns, catching one and throwing for the other as the Huskies led 14-0 with 10:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Quarterback Thomas Castellanos led a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help Boston College (0-1) overcome a 21-7 deficit and force overtime. Castellanos hit J Williams on a 30-yard scoring pass with 1:44 remaining in the game to forge a 21-21 tie.
The UCF transfer was 12 of 28 for 138 yards and rushed for 67 yards on nine carries, taking over for Emmett Morehead for the majority of the game after the first quarter.
After JaVaughn Byrd intercepted Castellanos’ final pass of the third quarter, Brock Lampe broke through for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:24 remaining in regulation to put NIU up 21-7. The 12-play drive, aided by a pass interference call on a fourth-down attempt, took 7:04 off the clock.
A 2-yard Castellanos run with 5:59 left brought BC back within 21-14 before Williams’ TD capped a 6-play, 83-yard drive in only 1:39.
Ten penalties for 95 yards hurt BC in its second straight season-opening loss.
NIU scored the game’s first points with 2:44 left before halftime. Justin Lynch’s 7-yard screen pass to Brown got the Huskies in the end zone to cap an 8-play, 60-yard drive that also included Chris Carter catching a 32-yard pass over the middle from Lombardi.
The visitors doubled their lead at the end of a 10-play drive in the first 4:27 of the third quarter. Brown’s 2-yard run to the right resulted in the touchdown.
A big defensive play helped set the Eagles up to make it 14-7 with 4:58 left in the third. Khris Banks recovered a Lombardi fumble, leading to a five-play series that ended with Castellanos and Bond connecting on an 11-yard pass.