On a very cold, late November day in Chestnut Hill, the Boston College Eagles defeated the Syracuse Orange, 28-7. Weird game that saw a bit of everything: a fight that resulted in an ejection, an Eagles missed field goal (obligatory) but FOUR successful PATs, a kickoff returned for a touchdown and a game where the BC offense gained more yards through the air (160) than they did on the ground (142).
Boston College needed just 12 seconds to get on the scoreboard first after Myles Willis returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The sophomore back went untouched the entire length of the field. 7-0, Eagles.
Syracuse would draw even at 7-7 when A.J. Long ran the ball in four yards for the game-tying score late in the first quarter. The drive was set up by a 16-yard Ervin Phillips gain on first down that took the ball to the BC 27.
The Syracuse defense did a good job of stifling the potent BC rushing attack, and the Eagles offense couldn't do much of anything in the first quarter. BC dodged a major bullet after Myles Willis fumbled the ball at BC's own 44 yard line. Syracuse took over with some fine field position at the BC 44, but lost 10 yards on first down and an all-out brawl started in for some reason. After the dust settled, field position flipped and Syracuse could only advance the ball to their own 44 yard line before having to punt it back to BC.
On the next possession, BC would march the ball down the field on a 14-play drive that ate up 8:52 of clock. But the drive stalled in the red zone after Murphy attempted a pass past the line of scrimmage on 2nd down. After Outlow ran for no gain on 3rd, BC would have to settle for a 36-yard field goal that freshman kicker Mike Knoll pushed right.
After the Syracuse offense couldn't do anything with the ball on the next possession, BC took over with good field position (their own 45-yard-line) and needed just five plays to punch it in on a Tyler-Murphy-to-Sherm-Alston 26-yard touchdown pass. PAT good. 14-7, Eagles.
At the half, Boston College took only a 14-7 lead into the locker room despite out-gaining the Orange 144-78 and holding a 10-4 edge on first-downs. It wasn't the most impressive of halves as the Syracuse D was effective in taking away the Eagles' ground game (just 31 yards on 21 carries).
Syracuse started the second half with the ball, but on the second play of the half, an A.J. Long pass was thrown right to Mike Strizak, who returned the ball to the BC 30. Outlow, Murphy and Hilliman needed just four plays to punch it in from there. 21-7 Eagles, early third quarter.
The Orange offense started to move the ball a bit more effectively in the third quarter once they realized they could have more success through the air than on the ground. Long hooked up with Jarrod West on gains of 14, 11 and 9, and, combined with a BC defensive pass interference call, got the ball down to the 30-yard line. After taking a shot at the end zone, Syracuse lined up for a 47-yard field goal only to pooch punt it away.
Syracuse picked up its first third down conversion of the game with five minutes left in the third quarter when Adonis Ameen-Moore stumbled four yards for a first. The Eagles defense had limited Syracuse to 0-for-7 on third down before that play and would finish the game holding SU to 1-of-11 on third down. The drive would stall when Seyi Adebayo sacked Long for his second of the game on the next third down.
BC dodged yet another bullet four minutes into the fourth quarter when Murphy slung the ball out to Alston on a swing pass. Alston gained the BC 35 before getting stood up by 3-4 Orange defenders and fumbling the ball right in front of the Syracuse bench. The officials blew the play dead, however, when they determined that Alston's forward progress was stopped, which, questionable. Five plays later, Tyler Rouse found paydirt, exploding for a 42-yard touchdown run; his third score of the season and fifth of his career. PAT was good. 28-7, Eagles.
Down three TD with just 3:29 to play, Austin Wilson, spelling Long, would throw SU's second interception of the day, right to Sean Duggan who returned the ball to the Syracuse 9-yard line. The offense tried to get Baldswinsville, New York native Tyler Rouse into the end zone for the second time of the game, but the Eagles' ground game would be stuffed on four straight downs. A Syracuse personal foul / facemask on Rouse on fourth down gave BC a fresh set of downs, but Addazio called off the dogs with a victory formation kneel down at the SU 2-yard line.
Ballgame. 28-7, Boston College.
It certainly wasn't Boston College's best performance of the year, but it was more than enough to take care of business against a reeling Syracuse Orange team. With the win, the Eagles finish the regular season with another 7-5 (4-4 ACC) record—guaranteeing a winning record for the second consecutive season under Addazio—while Syracuse falls to 3-9 (1-7 ACC) in their second year as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Congratulations to the 22 BC seniors that went out winners on Senior Day. Now go out and win that bowl game.
Full recap tomorrow. Leave your thoughts on the game below. Go Eagles!