UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When Doug Flutie finally graduates from Boston College, Joe Paterno may fly into Chestnut Hill, Mass., to personally hand him his degree and make sure he doesn't torment his Penn State squad again.
Flutie, the Eagles' 5-foot-9 offensive wizard, passed for 447 yards Saturday evening to become the first player in college football history ever to gain 10,000 yards of total offense in his career.
But the Nittany Lions claimed five BC turnovers -- including two fumbles and two interceptions of Flutie -- and held off the seventh-ranked Eagles with some clutch fourth-quarter play to escape with a wild 37-30 victory before a crowd of 85,690, a national television audience and scouts from 10 bowls.
The Lions, 6-3, scored 14 points in the final period on field goals of 33 and 41 yards by Nick Gancitano and a 39-yard run by D.J. Dozier, and clinched the victory by ripping off three first downs in the final 4:05 to keep the ball out of Flutie's skilled hands.
Flutie completed 29 of 53 passes to finish his four career Penn State games with 1,482 yards. He lost 26 yards in 10 carries, but his final total offense figure of 421 yards boosted his career mark to 10,003, surpassing the NCAA record of 9,723 yards set by Jim McMahon of Brigham Young in 1981.
Flutie led the Eagles, 5-2, to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns - a 1-yard run by Steve Strachan and a 6-yard pass to Kelvin Martin -- to continually threaten the Lions but never got the ball back after Martin's TD.
'That kid's amazing, isn't he?' Penn State Coach Paterno said. 'He's unbelievable. I had said he was one of the most amazing kids we had ever played against and he sure didn't disappoint me - unfortunately. There were some throws he made out there that were just unbelievable.
'I'll tell you, he's just a, uh, uh ... aw, forget it.'
Flutie, who also moved into third place on the career passing charts with 9,349 yards, called his general performance 'average.'
'I thought I had an average game but I played well at the end,' he said. 'I thought I played well but I didn't set myself the way I should early. But the interceptions were good defensive plays. On the fumbles, I was blindsided on one and the other time I slipped and tried to cushion myself and lost the ball.'
On the record, Flutie said, 'I figured I had over 150 yards but I didn't know where or when.'
Penn State's Doug Strang, who lost the starting quarterback job last weekend, came off the bench in the first quarter after starter John Shaffer suffered a slight concussion and guided the Lions to victory with a big assist from Dozier and Steve Smith.
Dozier rushed for 143 yards in 21 carries, his third straight 100-yard game, and fullback Smith added 126 yards in 23 carries and two touchdowns.
'I was very proud of our kids,' Paterno said. 'They kept hanging on and stuck it out to win the game. I'm glad Doug was ready. He practiced well all week and was ready to help us. They did a lot of blitzing but in the back of our minds we knew Doug could get out of it.'
Strang completed only 4 of 13 passes for 127 yards but one was a 42-yard scoring throw to Herb Bellamy. He also gained 52 yards in 11 carries and picked up two first downs on the Lions' final clock-killing drive.
'Strang made a couple of big plays and that last scramble was the key,' BC Coach Jack Bicknell said. 'Our kids never stopped playing. We just ran out of time. Their offense did a good job of controlling the ball.'
Strang led the Lions to 17 points -- Gancitano's 24-yard field goal, Smith's 6-yard TD run and the scoring pass to Bellamy -- in an 8:13 span of the first half. BC answered with a brilliant 71-yard scoring run by Ken Bell and Kevin Snow's 31-yard field goal to make the halftime score 17-10.
Freshman Jim Coates returned the second-half kickoff 59 yards to set up Smith's 1-yard score and boost the Penn State lead to 23-10.
But the Eagles, who lost two fumbles -- one on a third-and-goal at the Penn State 1 -- on their first two possessions of the half, came back with Strachan's 14-yard TD run on a drive during which Flutie broke the total offense record on a 20-yard pass to Gerard Phelan.