NCAAF: Ailing Orange look to finish strong vs. up-and-down BC
Two long familiar foes clash in Saturday’s regular-season finale as Boston College hosts Syracuse for the first time since 2018 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
After fighting through injuries all season, the Big East-turned-Atlantic Coast Conference rivals look to finish strong in their 56th all-time meeting.
The Orange (6-5, 3-4 ACC) have lost five straight since their superb start to the season earned them their first bowl game in five seasons. The Eagles (3-8, 2-5) were shut out last week at Notre Dame, 44-0, a week after they had knocked off then-No. 16 NC State.
Syracuse battled in last Saturday’s 45-35 loss to Wake Forest despite missing 12 players from its season-opening depth chart.
“Our goal right now is Boston College, and that’s where we have to be at because you only get 12 opportunities to play 13, which we have received,” coach Dino Babers said. “To be fair to everyone, we have to stay locked in on that, but … the numbers are concerning.”
Left tackle Matthew Bergeron, who had started 38 consecutive games, was one of three linemen out.
Against Wake, Garrett Shrader threw for a career-best 324 yards, and Sean Tucker scored twice while rushing for 106 yards.
Tucker became the fourth back in ‘Cuse history to surpass 3,000 for his career, joining Joe Morris (4,299), Walter Reyes (3,424), and Delone Carter (3,104).
“Eleven explosive plays, seven guys caught the ball,” Babers said. “That just shows you guys are getting better and coaches are doing a good job bringing the underbelly along.”
BC has a conference-high 34 underclassmen on its two-deep but using nine different starters across the offensive line has been particularly challenging.
Also, quarterback Phil Jurkovec has missed three games due to a concussion and broken rib.
“It’s probably not looking good like he’ll play in this last game,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said.
Emmett Morehead has thrown for seven touchdowns since Jurkovec was injured at UConn. He is one of only two freshman quarterbacks in the country this season have multiple 325-yard, three-touchdown games — and the other is North Carolina’s highly touted Drake Maye.
Zay Flowers has become the Eagles’ all-time leader in receiving yards (2,946) and receptions (192). He needs two touchdowns to match Kelvin Martin’s school record of 29.
“When he’s going out there practicing 100 miles an hour … and giving everything, it says a lot more than someone yelling and screaming,” Hafley said. “There’s a lot of guys like that. …
“It hasn’t been perfect, but there’s no quit.”
BC has been held to a field goal or less three times this season but had not been blanked since 2016 before last week’s 44-0 loss.
–Field Level Media