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Preview 2023: Syracuse vs Boston College Football

Orange Crush is back on the menu

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Boston College at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Boston College football will play the first of their three annual opponents when they travel up to Syracuse to face the Orange in November. These teams know each other quite well and it should make for an interesting game given the up-and-down nature of both programs and with both of them potentially fighting for a bowl game appearance. Not to mention that it’ll be on national TV for the entire country to see!

When: Friday November 3rd at 7:30pm ET

Where: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse, NY

Syracuse Overview


To put it succinctly, Syracuse football had a weird year in 2022. They opened their season by winning 6-straight games, including against #15 (at the time) NC State, and climbing all the way up to #14 in the national rankings. Then they lost 5 games in a row, defeated BC in the final week of the regular season, and then lost their bowl game against Minnesota. In that 180-degree turnaround, the Syracuse defense went from allowing 13 points per game to allowing 32. The Orange offense went from scoring 36 points per game to scoring just 21. It was an utter collapse that was partly due to strength of schedule, injuries, regression to the mean, and sometimes just flat-out bad play. So it’s tough to predict how this 2023 squad is going to look.

A big strength of this Syracuse team is their linebacker corps. Their top two guys Marlowe Wax and Stefon Thompson are very solid ACC starters and they have plenty of depth at the position if either of them get banged up. Cuse had one of the better 2022 run defenses in the ACC even while Stefon Thompson was out with injury. But their pass defense is taking on some losses this offseason, including all-ACC CB Garrett Williams, and it’s not clear who could step up in that group. College football analyst Phil Steele ranks the Syracuse defensive backfield as the worst in the ACC.

The Syracuse offense was working well when starting QB Garrett Shrader was healthy, but he fought through injuries towards the end of last season and the offense suffered as a result. He’s a terrific dual-threat QB, something that Hafley’s teams have sometimes struggled to defend, and his passing downfield got a lot better in 2022 compared to 2021. Shrader had surgery on his right arm in the offseason and is looking to be fully healthy entering 2023, but who knows what could happen by their November match-up with Boston College. Nonetheless, an injured Shrader still managed to pass for 285 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs against BC late last season.

Running back Sean Tucker, the crown jewel of the Syracuse offense in 2022 who ran for 125 yards and 2 TDs on the BC defense last season, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this spring. RB LeQuint Allen is the next obvious choice for lead rusher in 2023, after he dropped his lawsuit against the school, and his play style isn’t exactly like Tucker’s. Allen is more of a pass-catching back than Tucker was and adds an extra layer to the SU offense that wasn’t present last season.

How Does BC Match Up?

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Eagles fans have better hope that Emmett Morehead (or another QB) has developed by November, because they’re going to need him to make some plays in this game. The Eagles could hardly get anything going on the ground last year and the difference between the Syracuse pass and rush defenses may be even more exacerbated in 2023. With a plethora of legit receiving threats on the BC roster, they should be able to ride their passing game to score points if the QB play holds up.

The BC defense is a whole other beast. They held up well for about 3 quarters last season before the Orange dropped 26 points in the 4th quarter and ran away with the victory. This time the Eagles should be able to hold the ball for a little bit longer on offense and prevent an onslaught like that from happening again, but Shrader & company are still dangerous in multiple facets of the game.

Preseason Prediction

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Boston College at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This one could turn into a shootout if both QBs are healthy and playing well. Syracuse’s pass defense will likely be a mess and BC has a lot of turnover in its own defensive backfield. The Orange have the edge at QB, but the Eagles have the edge at receiver. You may as well flip a coin trying to predict this one, especially a game this far away, but I’ll take BC because why not!

Final Score: Boston College 36 Syracuse 35