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BC vs. Syracuse: Close In Score, Not Much Else

The Orange should have blown BC out, but a few plays and multiple Syracuse mistakes kept them in it

Clemson v Boston College Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Boston College lost their 12th straight ACC game yesterday, dropping a close one to the Syracuse Orange 28-20. Just looking at the score, it would look like BC/Syracuse was an even match, but other than two huge plays it really wasn’t that close.

First, props need to be given to Myles Willis and Patrick Towles for their huge touchdown plays. They were exciting, and got the fans going, something BC desperately needed. One of the things BC has lacked the past two years are those explosive plays, especially against ACC teams. We’ve seen them far and in between, with Jon Hilliman’s rush against Georgia Tech, and Jeff Smith’s scramble against Notre Dame last year coming to mind.

But other than those two plays, BC and Syracuse were not really that comparable looking at the statistics. First off, let’s look at the passing statistics, which clearly favor the Orange. At the end of the first half, Patrick Towles threw for a whopping 11 yards in the first half, Syracuse had I believe 274 yards through the air in the first half. In the end the Orange finished with 434 yards, while a Towles/Darius Wade combo finished with 64 total yards.

In terms of rushing, if you just look at the raw numbers you may say “Yeah BC did their job in that respect”. Certainly the Towles rush is the type of play that Addazio would be looking for, but other than that play BC averaged a pedestrian 3.79 yards per carry. That can not make the coaching staff happy. Truth be told, BC’s rushing attack on paper was better than Syracuse’s who couldn’t do much against BC’s rushing D, but what Dungey and Co. were able to do was keep BC honest so they could go back to shredding them through the air. One team’s rushing attack set up the passing attack perfectly, the other did not. Who would you say won this battle?

There was one other part of the game where BC/Syracuse was relatively close, and that was turnovers and coaching factors. Syracuse wanted to allow Boston College to win this game, with two fumbles and an interception, but BC couldn’t capitalize on it. Syracuse, couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot, and even though they seemingly marched up and down the field at will, they were only able to capitalize for 28 points due to turnovers, missed field goals, penalties, penalties, and more penalties. But BC matched them turn for turn in terms of mistakes with the Michael Walker juggling interception turnover, a quarterback who seemed to struggle with knowing where he needed to go for first downs, and of course penalties.

Looking at the time of possession numbers are a little misleading as well, as BC wanted to (and rightfully so) take control of the ball and have long controlled drives. Syracuse on the other hand was trying to go at a blistering tempo, which they executed effectively. The fact that Syracuse had the ball as long as BC did actually shows how much they dominated the line of scrimmage.

Syracuse basically lapped BC in terms of total yards 532 to 287. Moving the ball that little is not going to win games, and dropped the Eagles to 124th in the country in total offense. But in the end the score is the final verdict, and the Eagles dropped this one 28-20.