CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – For a moment, as the football spiraled through the muggy September air and Maurice McDonald sprinted behind the Boston College secondary, you could smell Mississipi State and the possibility of another shocking upset.

Boston College had just fumbled on the doorstep — into the end zone pylon for a touchback — and Maine rookie quarterback Marcus Wasilewski reared back and heaved the ball 50 yards, hoping for the long ball that might spark an upset on par with the 2004 shocker over Mississippi State.

“Right on my fingertips,” McDonald said later with a rueful smile. “I should have laid out for it. It was a great ball.”

But it fell incomplete for Maine. Although the Black Bears took a surprising lead into the second quarter of their season opener, it was all Eagles the rest of the way as the big boys of Boston College rolled to a 34-3 victory before a crowd of 30,685 Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.

Veteran quarterback Chase Rettig threw three touchdown passes and Spiffy Evans returned a punt 82 yards for a score as Boston College (1-1) bounced back from a frustrating 41-32 loss to Miami last week.

The Black Bears held BC scoreless on five straight possessions to open the game, forcing three punts and two fumbles.

Defensive end Michael Cole forced the second, and cornerback Darlos James scooped it up and ran 8 yards to the 10 to set up a 19-yard field goal by senior Brian Harvey to give Maine a 3-0 lead.

“I thought we were definitely in the game,” Cole said. “I thought like we could have won it, at that point.”

Maine and Boston College had split their previous six games but Harvey’s field goal marked the first points for Maine since the last of its victories, in 1915. Since then, Boston College has outscored Maine by 154-3.

The Black Bears forced two more punts before the BC offense finally kicked into gear. Rettig (16 of 32 for 219 yards) found Evans for 3 yards and Johnathan Coleman for 9 for a pair of touchdowns 1:37 apart, with help from a dropped snap by Maine rookie punter Jeffrey Ondish at his own 10.

The first of two Boston College field goals by Nate Freese made it 17-3 at the break. The Black Bears made only three first downs in the first half but converted four on the opening drive of the third quarter before stalling at the 19.

A 43-yard field goal attempt by Harvey sailed right of the uprights, and with it went Maine’s last realistic scoring opportunity until the fourth quarter against the BC second-string defense, and that ended in a fumble.

“We caught a couple of (early) breaks and got a nice drive going and got some points,” said head coach Jack Cosgrove, “but what you saw out there was what’s to be expected. They stopped playing sloppy after (the first quarter). They have an outstanding quarterback. They’ve got guys on defense who run to the ball.”

Boston College plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference and is eligible for bowls. Maine plays in the smaller Colonial Athletic Conference and has fewer scholarships and a smaller budget.

The Eagles put the game away by converting Wasilewski’s two interceptions into scores and returning a booming 63-yard punt by Ondish for a touchdown. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

Wasilewski, in his first collegiate start, completed 20 passes (in 42 attempts) and was not sacked, although BC’s defensive line batted down a half-dozen of his throws. Ondish averaged 44.5 yards per punt and had one downed at the 1 by Mike Mangiarelli.

“Maine is well organized,” said BC coach Frank Spaziani. “They have a good plan. They are well coached. They understand what they are doing.”

The Black Bears play next Saturday against Bryant University — until recently a Division II program — in Smithfield, R.I. The Bulldogs are 0-2 with losses to Marist and St. Francis of Pennsylvania.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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