Syracuse concludes disappointing season with loss to Boston College

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Syracuse finished the season 3-9

Saturday afternoon, Boston College played a winning hand on the scoreboard, posting four sevens under “scoring by quarter”, which was more than enough to secure a 28-7 home win over Syracuse. The loss sent the Orange to their worst final record in six years at 3-9 overall, including a 1-7 mark in ACC play. The loss sends SU into an offseason filled with questions, as the team fell far short of their stated preseason goal of eight wins and now faces significant end of the season roster turnover, including a couple likely NFL draft picks.

The Eagles (7-5, 4-4) dominated throughout the contest, needing mere seconds to take the lead, then spent the remainder of the contest simply handling the Orange. Syracuse mustered a grand total of 128 yards of offense, the lowest mark of the season. BC had only 302 yards of offense, as the SU defense turned in another strong effort, but it was more than enough to cruise to the victory.

For the second straight game, Syracuse kicked off to start the affair and the opposing team returned the kickoff for a touchdown. Unlike last week at Pitt, this return was not called back on a penalty. With a mere 12 seconds off the clock, the Orange were already in a 7-0 hole.

SU could only muster one first down on their first three drives, moving the chains on a 29-yard burst by Prince-Tyson Gulley. The Eagles’ third possession was blown up by the Syracuse defense, as Dyshawn Davis wrecked an option toss for a four-yard loss, then Robert Welsh came up with a sack on third down. Ritchy Desir then returned a short punt to the BC 43, giving the Orange offense a short field.

Ervin Phillips immediately gave the Syracuse offense a jolt, scampering for 16 yards on an option, then picking up nine more on a swing pass where he reversed field and outran almost the entire Eagle defense. A handful of plays later, A.J. Long faked an inside handoff, then turned the corner for a four-yard touchdown, getting just inside the pylon for the score. Cole Murphy booted the extra point and it was a 7-7 game with just under two minutes left in the first.

The SU defense blunted the next Boston College drive when Ron Thompson jolted the ball loose from a running back and Eric Crume covered it up at the Eagle 44. Following a first down SU run, both teams participated in a scuffle in front of the Orange bench. When everything was sorted out and penalties were announced, Syracuse defensive tackle Ryan Sloan was ejected, and SU faced 2nd-and-35 to start the second quarter.

» Related: Syracuse football has marred by offensive inefficiency and injuries

The Orange ended up punting and the Eagles moved 60 yards before settling for a 36-yard field goal attempt. The ball stayed just outside the right upright, though, preserving the 7-7 score with just under five minutes left in the first half.

After an SU three-and-out, Boston College moved into field goal range, then was gifted a first down on a holding call against the Orange. On the next play, the Syracuse defense was sucked in on a beautiful play fake and the Eagles cashed in on a 26-yard touchdown pass. The extra point put the hosts in front, 14-7, with 1:10 on the clock.

Despite sending the offense out on the field with three time outs and the ball at their own 30, Syracuse opted to simply run the ball three times and kill the clock.

On the second play of the third quarter, Long threw a poor pass right to a Boston College defender. The Eagles took over at the SU 30 and needed only four plays to cash in the opportunity, closing the drive with a seven-yard run for six points. The conversion gave BC a 21-7 lead less than three minutes out of the locker room.

The ensuing Syracuse drive was a good one, combining three Long-to-Jarrod West passes and a pair of Eagle penalties to reach field goal range. Facing 4th-and-10 from the BC 30, however, the Orange lined up to kick with punter Riley Dixon, the normal holder, as a kicker and Long as the holder. While the call was a trick play, it was a direct snap to Dixon, whose pooch punt died at the BC 12.

The Orange defense again rose to the occasion, ending the Eagles drive when Welsh and Cameron Lynch combined for a sack. Ritchy Desir caught the line-drive punt and returned it 15 yards for SU, giving the offense the ball at the BC 46. SU gained a first down, but on 3rd-and-10 on the next set of downs, Long was sacked, knocking the Orange from field goal range and forcing them to punt again.

After each team punted, Boston College marched 80 yards in nine plays for a touchdown that iced the game. The dagger was a 42-yard touchdown run with just under nine minutes to play. The tally made it 28-7 in favor of the Eagles.

Syracuse went three-and-out on the next possession. BC also punted, only they were first able to get a first down and ran seven plays to eat up over four minutes of game time.

When the Orange offense retook the field, Austin Wilson was taking snaps in relief of Long. After completing his first pass, Wilson was intercepted. Boston College ran out the clock from there, downing the ball at the SU three-yard-line to end the game.

The offensive stat sheet for Syracuse suggests readers use another pronunciation of “offensive”, as no one passed for as many as 60 yards or ran for as many as 30. Jarrod West closed out his career with five catches, good for 45 yards.

Senior linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch both had ten tackles in their final game. Lynch had two tackles for loss, including a half-sack, while Davis had 1.5 tackles for loss. Robert Welsh had 1.5 sacks as part of a 2.5 tackle-for-loss game and Zaire Franklin also logged a sack. Ron Thompson was credited with a forced fumble, which Eric Crume recovered for SU.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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