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Boston College takes one on the chin again at Syracuse

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NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After taking a 3-0 lead in to halftime, Boston College’s defense - which once again played heroically for most of the game to keep BC in it - unraveled for just a few minutes in the third quarter. That was all it took, and the Eagles suffered another painful defeat to the Syracuse Orange, 21-6.

Syracuse scored touchdowns on three straight possessions in the third - a 51 yard run by Sean Tucker, a 48 yard run by Garrett Shrader, and a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown by Courtney Jackson - a dizzying 4:53 that put BC from 6-0 up to 21-6 down in a hurry.

The Eagles never recovered, with an offense that had a few spurts of productivity fizzling out again and ultimately putting up just 251 yards of total offense.

Emmett Morehead, BC’s true freshman quarterback who made his NCAA debut in relief of Dennis Grosel in the second quarter, seemed to inject a little bit of energy in to the offense in the first half temporarily. He hit a long pass to Zay Flowers for his first career reception, and put BC in range to kick a 3-0 field goal to take an early lead.

After Morehead took a heavy hit that knocked him out of the game on the last drive of the second quarter, Dennis Grosel re-took the reins and engineered a nice drive of his own at the start of the second half and it seemed like BC might be in business.

BC drove the ball for 13 plays and 73 yards, all the way down to the Syracuse 9, but in what became a recurring theme, the Eagles could go no further once they got in the red zone. They settled for a field goal that made it 6-0, but the momentum had swung, and the defense then had its disastrous sequence to give up the lead.

The two quarterbacks ended the game with stats that have become all too familiar for the BC offense this year:

Morehead 6-for-15, 87 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Grosel 9-for-17, 93 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

Pat Garwo had some nice runs, including setting the tone on BC’s drive to open the third quarter, and ended the game with 84 yards on the ground to ultimately be the most bright-ish spot on offense for BC.

The final insult to injury came with 4:13 to go, when a nice punt return set BC up in the red zone for a late drive, and Dennis Grosel took the Eagles down to the Syracuse 1 yard line - but the Orange made goal line stands on third and fourth down to keep BC out and keep the score 21-6.

Not unlike the Louisville game, the defense actually played quite well for most of the game except for that brief one stretch that put it away. They held Syracuse to just 65 yards of passing. They also made several key stands in the first half, with two Syracuse forays into the red zone resulting in zero points (including another clutch turnover when Marcus Valdez forced a fumble near the end zone).

But at the end of the day, it’s not enough. BC just doesn’t have “enough” in any phase of the game right now, and it’s not just the poor quarterback play. It’s key penalties, it’s bad snaps (BC had a red zone possession come to nothing in the third quarter thanks in part to a high snap that sailed over Morehead’s head for a big loss of yards), it’s turning opportunities for 6 points in to 3 or 0. It’s happened four weeks in a row and time is running out to turn things around.

BC had a number of key injuries today, with Isiah Graham-Mobley and Trae Barry out, and Tyler Vrabel going down again during the game. But at this point it hasn’t mattered much what the personnel has been, the Eagles have been struggling.

BC now carries a four game losing streak in to next Friday night’s home tilt against Virginia Tech, where they will hope home field advantage will help them find something that has eluded them so far this year - an ACC victory.