Instant Juice: Syracuse 34, Boston College 31

A quick take on Syracuse’s incredible comeback in its thrilling 34-31 win against Boston College to clinch bowl eligibility in the season finale, which also completed the first year of ACC play, on Senior Day in front of an undersized but appreciative Dome crowd:

After today's win the Orange remains eligible for a bowl game

Syracuse notched its sixth win on Saturday

WHAT HAPPENED: After a field goal put Boston College up by four points with just over 2:00 to play, Terrel Hunt led the Orange down field on one final, masterful drive culminating in a short TD pass to TE Josh Parris with :06 to play to cap a wild back and forth game.   SU led 21-14 at halftime before Boston College (7-5, 4-4) scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.  After Ryan Norton’s season-best 44 yard FG pulled Syracuse (6-6, 4-4) within a point with 5:00 to play, BC linebacker Steele Divitto intercepted Hunt two minutes later to set-up a final Eagles field goal.  Needing a TD to win with no timeouts, Hunt drove the team down to the eight yard line where he hit Parris with his second TD catch of the game to send the Orange into euphoria.

» Related: How Syracuse fans change (or don’t change) the game

ANALYSIS: The Orange will lament at a minimum 10 points they should have scored on their first two possessions of the first quarter going deep into BC territory but coming up empty, but was more than made up by the never quit attitude.  While the ‘Cuse defense stymied a beaten-up Andre Williams, the nation’s leading rusher entering play, it was Eagles QB Chase Rettig who more than made up for Williams’ absence (29 yards) due to re-injuring a shoulder, by rushing for a game-high 85 yards.  Hats off to the character this team showed in playing for “Coach Shaf” and finishing 4-4 in its first ACC season.

HERO: In the final regular season game of his first season as the starter, Hunt was dazzling with a game high 90 yards rushing and leading the final drive in calm and collected fashion, finishing 29 of 43 for 270 yards and two TDs in the air.

ZERO: Nitpicking with this comeback victory, but there were some missed opportunities by the offense when it mattered early and late, including a botched 30 yard FG by Norton in the first quarter, and some shaky pass coverage by the secondary that resulted in BC scoring drives to end the first half and begin the third quarter.

WHAT’S NEXT: Waiting and seeing what the ACC can do to get the Orange, its 11th bowl eligible team, into a post-season slot. The eight ACC guaranteed bowl games are essentially spoken for assuming Florida State and Clemson are in the BCS, and Pittsburgh is also looking for a destination to play. There are six bowl games that likely will need fill-in teams, Beef ‘O’ Brady, Little Caesars, Poinsettia, Pinstripe, Heart of Dallas, and the BBVA Compass. Let the lobbying begin.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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