Some of the faces were different, but the story was the same as Syracuse lost at home to Boston College on Saturday, 16-13. The Orange (1-7, 1-6 ACC) mustered just 240 yards of offense in their fourth straight loss and never really threatened the Eagles (5-2, 4-2), despite the final score.
After finishing SU’s last game, JaCobian Morgan had his first start at quarterback, as Rex Culpepper did not suit up. Morgan was fairly efficient statistically, completing 19-of-30 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and showed some athleticism in extending certain plays. The freshman did also show a lack of pocket awareness at times and his interception was an ill-advised decision, throwing a looping pass into triple coverage.
Third downs were a telling statistic on the day, as Syracuse converted just 3-of-11 attempts while BC converted 11-of-19 opportunities. The Eagles turned that advantage into a series of long drives, as they had six possessions of at least seven plays, each eating up a minimum of 3:15 off the game clock. Three of those drives ended in field goals and two others ended on missed field goal attempts.
All told, Boston College possessed the ball for 38:49, including 21:29 of the second half.
By comparison, the Orange had just three possessions lasting seven plays and five comprised of three or fewer, not including one snap before halftime. Prior to their last possession of the game, SU ran just two plays inside the BC 20.
The first quarter was mostly uneventful until Boston College put together a 13-play drive, using almost eight minutes to march 80 yards. The drive bogged down when the Eagles entered the red zone, but they left with a 3-0 lead after a 33-yard field goal with 1:03 left in the quarter.
Syracuse matched the effort, marching 80 yards in a dozen plays on the ensuing possession. Taj Harris took a short pass down the right sideline for 24 yards to the Louisville 25, but the Orange could not advance much further and settled for a 35-yard field goal from Andre Szmyt, knotting the score just over three minutes into the second quarter.
BC missed a field goal on their next possession, but would take the lead shortly before half. The Eagles got a 37-yard pass followed by a 20-yard touchdown toss on the following play to notch the first touchdown of the day and the extra point gave them a 10-3 lead with 24 seconds remaining in the first half. That score held to the break.
Boston College missed another field goal on their first drive of the third quarter and SU responded with a made one. The Syracuse offense tied together three first downs before bogging down. Szmyt booted a 46-yard field goal, clipping the gap to 10-6, with 6:20 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles replied with another long drive, this one culminating in another field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. The kick reinstated the guests’ seven-point lead at 13-6.
Neither team could accomplish much on offense until BC forced a Sean Tucker fumble and recovered at the Orange 18. The Eagles got within two yards of a touchdown, but a couple penalties backed them up and forced them to settle for a chip shot field goal and a 16-6 lead with just over two minutes to play.
SU marched the length of the field on three short passes to Cooper Lutz out of the backfield, a pair of BC penalties, and a scramble by Morgan that brought them to the edge of the end zone. Morgan then scrambled and found Aaron Hackett in the back of the end zone for a one-yard scoring pass with 21 seconds to play. Szmyt’s extra point drew the Orange within 16-13.
Szmyt wasn’t as successful on his onside kick, sending the ball out of bounds before it traveled ten yards, giving possession to Boston College. The Eagles were able to run out the clock in spite of Syracuse using their three timeouts in an effort to preserve time.
SU’s Taj Harris led all players in the game with seven receptions and turned them into 61 yards. Sean Tucker had 11 carries for 54 yards and added 34 more yards on a pair of receptions. Rob Hanna led the Orange defense with eight tackles.
Syracuse will bye on a bye this coming week and will return to action on Friday, November 20 when they travel to Louisville (2-5, 1-5). The Cardinals will play at Virginia next Saturday while the Orange are off.
Malik Cunningham has thrown for 1,746 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Cards, adding 220 yards and three more scores on the ground. Javian Hawkins has produced 822 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, including a season-long 90-yard run.
ESPN will televise the Syracuse-Louisville game, which will get underway at 7:00pm Eastern on Friday, November 20.