This wasn't the way it was supposed to end.
Even after Boston College senior running back Andre Williams went down with a shoulder injury on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and it appeared unlikely that he'd return, you couldn't help but feel like this game has some greater importance. Cap off the greatest single season turnaround in program history, perhaps. Keep Syracuse from playing in a bowl game or simply improve the program's own bowl stock. The offense played with purpose and helped to erase a two score first-half deficit, but the defense gave it right back in a 34-31 loss to Syracuse.
This one smarts.
You were probably feeling pretty good about BC's chances once Nate Freese* 21-yard field goal gave the Eagles a 31-27 lead with just 2:08 to go. But Syracuse QB Terrell Hunt engineered an eight play, 75 yard drive in 2:01, culminating in an 8-yard swing pass to Josh Parris for the go-ahead points. Syracuse's final drive was aided by a pass interference call on BC and (admittedly) a brilliant QB sneak to pick up the first down and stop the clock when it appeared the Orange were simply going to spike the ball.
On the game's final possession with just six seconds remaining, Rettig's attempted hook-and-latter to Dan Crimmins was eventually fumbled as the clock hit triple zero and the Orange escaped with the victory. Syracuse improves to 6-6, 4-4 ACC on the year. Boston College falls to 7-5, 4-4.
If we are being honest with ourselves, Boston College had no business being in this football game after turning in a dismal performance on defense. The Eagles were out-gained 480-359 on the day, getting doubled up on first downs 30-15, losing the time of possession battle 36:33-23:27 and giving up 12 first downs on third (out of 18 attempts, or 66 percent). The defense made Syracuse QB Terrell Hunt look like an All-ACC quarterback. Hunt finished 29-of-43, 270 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception and added another 90 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries on the ground.
Needing just one more stop and playing prevent defense with three man fronts, the dudes on D couldn't get it done.
Without Williams, the Boston College offense turned to QB Chase Rettig, who, when it comes to Rettig-like performances in 2013, had an above-average day. The senior signal caller finished 11-of-19, 168 yards and 2 touchdowns, but threw a costly interception in the first half. Rettig was also the team's leading rusher, carrying the ball four times for 85 yards and a score. It was that sort of day. Freshman Myles Willis ran with purpose -- 17 carries for 70 yards -- in relief of Williams.
Williams' injury coupled with Boston College's loss likely ends the senior running back's run at the 2013 Heisman Trophy. With Alabama's loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, the stiff arm trophy is probably down to Florida State QB Jameis Winston, Ohio State QB Braxton Miller and Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch. Hopefully Williams jaw-dropping stats through 11 1/2 games earns him a trip to New York as the un-QB candidate and he can hold off Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Washington's Bishop Sankey to win the Doak Walker Award. Winning the Doak Walker in and of itself would be an incredible individual achievement. Despite all the hysteria surrounding 44's Heisman Trophy campaign this week, it's important to keep that in perspective.
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* Finishes the regular season as one of two kickers nationally perfect on the year on FG attempts; not one of the nation's top 20 kickers per the Palm Beach Sports Commission.