SU becomes bowl eligible with thrilling 34-31 victory over Boston College
The SU football team (6-6, 4-4 ACC) beat Boston College (7-5, 4-4 ACC) 34-31 in thrilling fashion at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
The good news for the SU offense was the appearance of Left Tackle Sean Hickey in his usual starting spot. Hickey was listed as doubtful in the SU injury report prior to the game. With Hickey in the lineup, the Orange started at their own 25-yard line and advanced to the Boston College 47-yard-line via Terrel Hunt passes and a 16 yard rush. But, Hunt's screen pass to Jerome Smith fell incomplete on 3rd down, forcing a Riley Dixon punt.
The SU defense set the tone early, as Micah Robinson stuffed Heisman Trophy candidate running back Andre Williams on his first rush of the game for a two yard loss. The Eagles were forced to punt, which Ritchy Desir returned for 23 yards to the Orange 47-yard line.
Terrel Hunt connected with Alvin Cornelius for 31 yards to get just outside the red zone. Jerome Smith then rushed three times ina a row, getting down to the BC 11-yard line. But, Eagle Kevin Pierre-Louis sacked Terrel Hunt, and two incompletions later the Orange was forced to deal with a 4th and 12. Ryan Norton negated the solid SU drive by missing the 30 yard field goal, giving the ball back to Boston College on their 20-yard line.
The SU defense forced a three-and-out, stuffing Williams twice in the process. For the third straight drive, the Orange offense advanced into Boston College territory. Hunt connected with Brisly Estime (back in the lineup after missing two games) for 32 yards, and followed that completion with two 7-yard completions to Ashton Broyld. The Orange had first and foal from the BC 8, but the Eagle defense held once again, forcing the Orange to a 4th and goal at the 2-yard line. With one missed field goal already under their belts, Scott Shafer and the SU coaching staff decided to go for it, only to have Smith tackled for a loss. The Orange once again came up empty.
Boston College took over at their own 4-yard line and starting going to work. After getting a first down, reciever Mike Naples got behind the SU secondary, and Chase Rettig found him, going 55 yards and deep in Orange territory. Two plays later, Williams finally broke free, running 26 yards on the left side for a touchdown, giving the Eagles the 7-0 lead.
The Orange once again manufactured another solid drive, going 15 plays for 75 yards, taking up 6 minutes and 11 seconds on the game clock. Hunt rushed six times on the drive, but it was a one-yard pass to Josh Parris which capped off the drive with a touchdown, tying the game 7-7 in the second quarter.
On the next Eagles drive, Rettig looked over the middle, but the ball was tipped up in the air by linebacker Cameron Lynch, who then found the ball in the air and caught it, giving the Orange the ball back at the 50-yard line. This time, George Morris II was the featured running back for the Orange, rushing five times for 23 yards, the last rush good for a touchdown, giving SU the 14-7 lead.
The SU defense forced another three-and-out, and a 23-yard punt by Nate Freese once again gave SU the ball at the 50-yard line. Hunt connected with Jeremiah Kobena for 17 yards on first down, and after two rushes, he connected with Durell Eskridge, (yes the SU safety), for 19 yards to get down to the BC 14-yard line. Hunt would then rush first for six yards, then from one yard out to put the Orange up two touchdowns at 21-7 with just 1:10 to go in the half.
But the Eagles had an answer. Rettig connected with Alex Amidon for a 52-yard completion, getting down to the Syracuse 9-yard line. On the next play, Rettig rolled to his right and threw a lollipop to the left, C.J. Parsons camped underneath it in the end zone and made the catch, making the score 21-14 going into the half.
Boston College started the second half with the ball, but on the first play of the drive, Andre Williams got hurt on a 5-yard run up the middle. He did not return on the drive or in the game, but Myles Willis filled in nicely, rushing 7 times for 35 yards. Rettig did a solid job on the ground as well, first tucking the ball and rushing for 17 yards, and then slipping out of the grasp of Cameron Lynch for a 13-yard gain. Baldwinsville graduate Tyler Rouse also got a carry on the drive, racking up a couple yards to get to the SU 11. Rettig completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Jake Sinkovec for 9 yards, tying the game 21-21.
The Orange would answer on their first drive of the second half, going 50 yards on 14 plays, taking up 6 minutes and 12 seconds off the game clock. Ryan Norton redeemed himself, hitting his longest field goal of the season from 42 yards away to retake the SU lead 24-21.
The two teams would exchange punts, and once again Chase Rettig would show off his running prowess, taking a read-option 54 yards down to the SU 17-yard line. After five Myles Willis rushes, BC got down to the SU 1-yard line. Rettig then took a naked bootleg around the left side for a touchdown, giving the Eagles the 28-24 lead.
On the first play of the next SU possession, Terrel Hunt tried making a pass, but the ball was tipped to himself, and Hunt caught the ball for a loss of 16 yards. But, on the next play, Hunt completed a ball to Quinta Funderburk for 28 yards, making up most of the yardage he just lost. Devante McFarlane would chip in a run of 15 yards to get into BC territory. Another completion to Alvin Cornelius put the Orange in better position, and when the drive stalled, Ryan Norton once again kicked a season-long 44-yard field goal, making the score 28-27.
After forcing a three-and-out, Terrel Hunt, looking for Ashton Broyld over the middle, was picked off by Steele Divitto, who brought it down to the SU 22. That led to a 21-yard Nate Freese field goal, making the score 31-27 BC.
Terrel Hunt then orchestrated a legendary drive. Starting at the SU 25, Hunt hit Josh Parris for 15 yards to get to their own 40. He then hit Alvin Cornelius over the middle for seven yards, getting up to the SU 47. He rushed for eight yards, which was followed by a pass interference penalty, putting the Orange at the BC 33. After a couple of rushes, Hunt hit Alvin Cornelius on the sideline for 14 yards. With less than 20 seconds to play, Hunt hit Josh Parris on a screen pass for the 8-yard game winning touchdown. SU becomes bowl eligible with the 34-31 victory.
Hunt finished the game 29/43 for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the air. He rushed 17 times for 90 yards and a touchdown. Hunt's counterpart Rettig went 11/19 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, along with the Cam Lynch interception. He was BC's leading rusher, taking four carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Filling in for Williams, Myles Willis had 17 carries for 70 yards, while Williams finished with 9 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown.