Instant Juice: Syracuse 21, Boston College 6

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Syracuse head coach DIno Babers watches from the sidelines. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

A quick take on Syracuse’s satisfyingly sweet 21-6 win Saturday afternoon against Boston College on Homecoming weekend in the Dome:

WHAT HAPPENED: Hosting Boston College for the third straight year, Syracuse (5-4, 2-3) won its all-important fifth game of the season with a second half comeback, to inch one win away from bowl eligibility and also ended a two-year losing streak to the Eagles.  Three explosive touchdown plays in under 5:00 changed the momentum in the third quarter, as it took the ‘Cuse offense a while to get going.  Sean Tucker scored on a 51-yard run, Garrett Shrader scampered in from 48-yards on the next series, and Courtney Jackson, filling in for an injured Trebor Pena, returned a punt for a 64-yard score on the next BC series.  The SU defense was strong throughout not allowing Boston College (4-4, 0-4) into the end zone.

ANALYSIS:  Down 6-0 on Syracuse’s first possession of the third quarter, Shrader expertly executed the beginning of the comeback with a couple of nice runs to set up Tucker’s 51-yard scamper for the lead SU would not relinquish.  A key block by tight end Max Mang set up Shrader’s touchdown run (his 13th of the season), then Jackson provided a rare special teams highlight this season with the punt return to the house.  The Orange defense was strong, especially against the run (just 71-yards by BC), harassing Eagles quarterbacks Dennis Grosel and Emmett Morehead into a combined 15-for-32 passing with four sacks.  Tucker remained the nation’s leader in rushing yards (1,267) going for 207 yards on 26 carries before exiting to an ovation with just under 3:00 to play.

HERO: A salute to the Syracuse defensive which did not give up a touchdown and played inspired all afternoon.  A great stop of the Eagles on 4th and 1 at the goal line with 4:13 to play served as the icing on the cake.   Despite some secondary lapses that resulted in a few long BC pass completions including plays for 40 and 44-yards, the pass rush was ferocious led by Kingsley Jonathan’s three sacks.  Linebackers Marlowe Wax, Mikel Jones, Stefon Thompson, and Geoff Cantin-Arku  combined for 15 solo tackles, and cornerback Garrett Williams was all over the field with a game-high six solo tackles, in on seven stops total.

» Related: Why Syracuse RB Sean Tucker deserves Heisman buzz

ZERO: Despite the victory that puts the Orange in terrific position to record a winning season and get to a bowl game, self-inflicted errors continue to crop up this deep into the season.  The offense overcame Shrader’s first quarter fumble on the BC 3-yard line that likely prevented a touchdown, four false start penalties stymied several first half drives, along with a couple of dropped passes by the wide receivers.  Syracuse needs to play smart football in November’s home stretch.

WHAT’S NEXT: A much appreciated weekend off.  After playing nine consecutive weeks dating back to Sept. 4, Syracuse players and the program’s staff have some time to regroup and take a few days off before the final three November regular season games.  The next opponent, Louisville (4-4, 2-3), lost 28-13 at North Carolina State on Saturday evening. UL hosts Clemson next week, Nov. 6, before welcoming Syracuse to Cardinal Stadium for the third consecutive season on Nov. 13.  Game Time/TV: To be announced on Nov. 1.

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About Brad Bierman 779 Articles
Now in his sixth 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.