A quick take on Syracuse’s 28-7 loss to Boston College in the final game of the 2014 season:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 14-7 coming out of halftime, Syracuse quarterback AJ Long threw an interception deep in SU territory, which set up Boston College at the 28-yard line. Four plays later, Jon Hilliman punched it in from seven yards to put the Eagles up two scores with 12:14 left in the third. Tyler Rouse’s 42-yard scamper with around eight minutes left in the fourth quarter gave BC at 28-7 lead, and complete command of the game.
ANALYSIS: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Pretty good defense. Complete lack of offense. Bad penalties. Poor special teams. That seemed to be the theme of the entire 2014 season, and it was certainly the case on Saturday afternoon. Special teams set the tone early, allowing Myles Willis to take the opening kickoff 95 yards for the score. Near the end of the first quarter, a scuffle broke out near the SU sideline, resulting in Ryan Sloan being ejected from the game. It was one of eight penalties on the afternoon for the Orange. And, as has been the case all season, the defense did the best it could to keep the Orange in the game, limiting the No. 12 rushing team in the country to just 142 yards. But it didn’t receive any help from the offense, which scored 17 or fewer points for the fifth straight game.
HERO: Steve Addazio continues to do an exceptional job with Boston College. The Eagles finished 7-5 for the second straight season, and have left the Frank Spaziani era in its wake. QB Tyler Murphy was an efficient 13-17 for 160 yards and a touchdown, and he added 20 yards on the ground.
ZERO: You can’t win if you can’t score, and the Orange hasn’t done much of that this season. SU came in averaging just 18 points a game (119th in the country) and it fell below that against the Eagles. Syracuse had just 128 total yards (66 passing) and went 1-11 on third downs. AJ Long was 7-18 for 59 yards and one INT, and when he was relieved in the fourth quarter by Austin Wilson, Wilson proceeded to throw a pick on his first series.
WHAT’S NEXT: A long offseason. Syracuse will miss a bowl game for the first time since the 2011 season, but rather than focus on the obvious negatives, let’s highlight some things to look forward to in 2015. A trio of true freshman — AJ Long, Steve Ismael and Ervin Phillips — impressed in limited opportunities this season. The defense was by far the best unit of the team, and returns freshman LB Zaire Franklin, which will help ease the loss of outgoing senior linebackers Cameron Lynch and Dyshawn Davis.