MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Suddenly, No. 21 Boston College controls its own destiny in the Big East Conference.
Freshmen L.V. Whitworth and DeJuan Tribble scored first-quarter touchdowns and the Eagles never trailed, upsetting No. 10 and preseason conference favorite West Virginia, 36-17.
If Boston College can close the season with victories over Temple and Syracuse, it would win the Big East title and earn the conference's BCS bowl game slot.
Whitworth, who rushed 18 times for 84 yards in just his third career start, hauled in a screen pass and scampered in from 10 yards out to complete an eight-play, 47-yard opening drive for Boston College (7-2, 3-1 Big East).
Less than eight minutes later, Tribble returned a punt 41 yards for a score to yield a 14-0 advantage.
Paul Peterson, who threw for 162 yards on 18-of-30 passing, connected with tight end David Kashetta for a one-yard TD with eight seconds left as the Eagles closed the first half with a 24-7 lead.
"That gave us some nice momentum," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "That was a situation where we could either throw a touchdown pass or throw it away and kick a field goal."
Boston College's Jamie Silva forced and recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, giving his team excellent field position. Three plays later, freshman kicker Ryan Ohliger booted a career-long 47-yard field goal to extend the Eagles' lead to 20 points.
"Special teams were embarrassing," Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We let them jump out. They did a nice job and we didn't do what we needed to do."
Will Blackmon's 71-yard punt return with 6:02 left put an exclamation point on Boston College's third straight victory.
"The special teams were the decisive factor," O'Brien said. "Last year, they had a kickoff return and an interception return for a touchdown that ended up being the difference. This year we had two punt returns and some great kickoffs that were the difference in the game."
Everett Lee had five catches for 42 yards, including a key 3rd-and-1 reception on the opening drive for Boston College, which posted its first road triumph against West Virginia since 1990.
"It hasn't been done since we joined the Big East," O'Brien said of winning in Morgantown. "This is big for our program and our school. Like I told our guys all week, 'You weren't a part of those other BC teams.' They really believed they could win today."
Quarterback Rasheed Marshall rushed in from two yards out with 1:37 left in the opening quarter for West Virginia (8-2, 4-1 Big East). It was Marshall's fourth rushing score of the season and the 66th TD he has accounted for in his career, tying the school record set by Ira Errett Rodgers from 1915 to 1919.
Marshall had the record all to himself after connecting with Chris Henry on a seven-yard score with one minute left in the third quarter. Henry's touchdown, which trimmed the deficit to 27-14, was his 12th of the season to set a school record of his own.
Marshall, who completed 21-of-35 for 224 yards, including 118 to Henry, rushed 20 times for 100 yards and has set a career high with 686 rushing yards on the season. However, he was intercepted twice and fumbled.
"Rasheed wasn't sharp," Rodriguez said. "He ran okay at times. He had a few balls slip out of his hands. We made some bad decisions on our run reads."
Kay-Jay Harris, who set a Big East record with 337 rushing yards in the season opener against East Carolina, rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries for West Virginia, which lost despite outgaining Boston College, 462-243.
The Mountaineers, who had won their four previous games by a combined score of 135-76, surrendered a season high in points to the Eagles and were booed loudly in the fourth quarter.
"Everybody wants to get down on the team," Rodriguez said. "We're 8-1 playing for a BCS bowl and we're getting booed at home. I guess that's what it comes to."