It was a bad night and a tough loss to swallow. In a game that was well within their grasps, Boston College's defense struggled to slow down the fast paced Syracuse offense, and we lost Andre Williams to injury.
But in the end, you have to tip your cap to these kids. They battled all season, shaking doubters and taking a once proud program back to a bowl game. Steve Addazio and his coaching staff had these athletes playing at their fullest week in and week out, and given the shape of the program that's all you can ask for.
Let's take a look at yesterday's heartbreaker:
Chase Rettig: The senior quarterback had a good game in his final regular season finale. He would have earned a "great" label other than his interception in the first half. He made plays the entire game, and kept the Eagles alive with both his arm and his legs. His 54 yard run in the third quarter was absolutely beautiful and ugly at the same time, but he got the yards and that is all that matters. When Rettig dived in on the naked bootleg for a touchdown, he cemented his legacy as a tough SOB that got battered all four years as a starter. He deserved that win, it was too bad he couldn't get it.
Myles Willis: When Andre Williams went down in the third quarter it was up to the true freshman to step up and get the yards for the Eagles, and he did. Thanks to some big holes plowed open by the offensive line Willis continued to move the sticks for the Eagles. He is going to be a great back moving forward in my opinion, he looked good as a freshman but with a little more seasoning he could be an everydown back. Willis finished the game with 70 rushing yards on 14 attempts.
Steele Divitto: Big day all around for the senior, making tackles all over the place (had over a dozen), but his big moments came in the second half when he made a huge interception on Terrel Hunt. That play should have been enough to give BC all they needed to score points and run the clock down, but Syracuse held them to a field goal while using their timeouts. Finally Divitto made yet another big play on the final drive when he stripped Hunt, however the Syracuse center was there to cover the ball and save the game for the Orange.
The Offensive Play Calling (sans the final drive): Yes, we know how I feel about Ryan Day's play calling. I thought he did an excellent job yesterday given the difficult position that the defense put them in. Day pulled up all stops with possibly his best called games of the season. He opened up the playbook and did what he needed to get points on the board for the Eagles, even without Andre Williams. We saw QB Draws, naked bootlegs, deep passes, short passes, play action, everything, and it for the most part was executed well.
Nate Freese's Punting: The senior punter did not have his best day yesterday. He shanked at least two punts giving Syracuse great field position and ended the day averaging 33.6 on the day. With BC's defense sputtering, they could ill afford to give Syracuse good field position, which is exactly what they did.
The Secondary: Let's play a game of mad libs. Okay. Yesterday ________________ (BC cornerback/safety) struggled to/at ________________ (football skill) and it cost BC _____________ (play/yards/points).
Scott Shafer's mouth: At halftime the first year Syracuse coach has this to say:
"Those weapons that they got us on were crazy, throwback junk stuff." --- Scott Shafer to the TV sideline reporter.— Syracuse Football (@syrfootball) November 30, 2013
Steve Addazio's timeout on the final drive: This is a little monday morning quarterback-ish here, but I didn't like Addazio's timeout that he took on the final drive. On the one hand Don Brown could set his defense, but on the other it allowed Syracuse to a) stop the clock and b) set their personnel and play at their own pace. It's just tough to believe that Syracuse rushing the play would have been any worse than letting them set it.
Time of possession in the first half: Dont have the numbers in front of me, but I believe that the Eagles had the ball just over six minutes in the first half while Syracuse had the ball for 22. BC's offense sputtered to start, but the defense also allowed the Orange to pull off long protracted drives on a regular basis. It was very difficult for BC to establish Andre Williams' when they couldn't get him on the field.
Third Down Efficiency: On both sides it was horrendous. On offense: 3/10, while Syracuse's offense went 12/18 against the BC defense.
The final offensive possession: The first play was a great run by Myles Willis who moved the ball fifteen yards on the ground. Then Scott Schafer used his timeouts, and BC couldn't move the ball into the end zone. Add in a stupid false start penalty on the offensive line, and you knew this wasn't going to end well. The Eagles ended it with a pass to C.J. Parsons only for four yards which basically took the most time off the clock. If BC could have scored there, it would have been an 8 point lead, and who knows how the game would have ended.
The final defensive possession: Just a bad, bad, bad series for the defense as they let Terrel Hunt and Syracuse systematically march down the field and score the winning touchdown. There were big plays by the QB's arms and legs, there were mind blowing penalties (pass interference call), Hunt pushing the pile on a fake spike, and finally a fumble that Syracuse jumped on. Everything you think that could have possibly gone wrong, did. Most watching had to imagine at that point a touchdown was inevitable, and with six seconds left on the clock that was exactly what happened.
Andre Williams' injury: One of the worst parts of yesterday's loss was that it basically knocked #Andre44Heisman out of the running for the Heisman Trophy. He struggled at the beginning of the game, but still had a huge touchdown to put BC on the board to start the game, but as we all saw his shoulder finally took it's last thump in a huge collision in the third quarter. It was heartbreaking to watch the kid have to sit on the sidelines, watching the game slip away and his chances of winning the Heisman falling with it.