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Boston College finished the regular season with a 7-5 record after a loss to Syracuse (6-6) at the Carrier Dome that ended the Eagles’ four-game winning streak. Like the previous week’s win at Maryland, this one came down to the very last play, but this time BC found itself on the losing end. The Eagles managed to stay in the game in spite of sloppy defensive play: the Orange offense racked up 480 total yards and converted 12 of 18 third down attempts.
The home team had two good chances to take the first lead, but kicker Ryan Norton missed a 30-yard field goal attempt, and on the next drive the BC defense stopped the Orange on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. On the Eagles’ next offensive possession, running back Andre Williams ran for a 26-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Syracuse responded with a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with quarterback Terrel Hunt‘s one-yard TD pass to tight end Josh Parris. Soon after, BC QB Chase Rettig threw a pass that was tipped and picked off by linebacker Cameron Lynch at the 50-yard line, and RB George Morris II gave the Orange the lead with a four-yard TD run to capitalize on the turnover. After a BC three-and-out, Hunt’s one-yard TD run widened the Syracuse lead, but the Eagles managed to keep it close by scoring just before halftime, on a nine-yard pass from Rettig to TE C. J. Parsons that made it 21-14.
Boston College opened up the second half with another TD drive, this time Rettig finding his other TE, Jake Sinkovec, for a nine-yard score. The Orange retook the lead, 24-21, on Norton’s 42-yard FG.
The score remained the same until, with 7:55 left on the clock, Rettig leapt into the end zone himself from one yard out, to which Norton again responded with a 44-yard FG. The Eagles seemed to be in good position to secure the win when LB Steele Divitto intercepted a Hunt pass and returned it 20 yards to the Syracuse 22, but they had to settle for Nate Freese‘s 21-yard FG that gave the Orange two minutes to come back from four points down. Hunt did just that, going 63 yards in eight quick plays and hitting Parris for an eight-yard TD pass with just six seconds left, giving his team the win that makes the Orange bowl-eligible.
Hunt completed 29-of-43 passes for 270 yards, two TDs and and interception, while Rettig was 11-for-19 for 168 yards, two TDs and an INT. The loss was a tough one for BC, both for the way it ended and for its implications. BC is one of two ACC Atlantic teams to finish at 7-5, along with Maryland, good for the third-best record in the division. But Syracuse is ahead of both in the standings, thanks to a better conference record than the Terrapins (4-4, the same as BC, versus Maryland’s 3-5) and the tiebreaker advantage over the Eagles. In any case, the 7-5 record is good for sixth best overall in the Atlantic Coast Conference (Georgia Tech, in the Coastal Division, is also 7-5 with a 5-3 conference record), and bowl selections depend on the bowls themselves, not on the standings.
Williams, for his part, left the game after a hard hit in the third quarter, and finished with just 29 yards on nine carries, meaning his Heisman hopes may have taken a big hit. The injury didn’t seem serious and Williams, despite this disappointing game, has had a stellar senior season, rushing for 2,102 yards and 17 TDs.
UMass ended its second season at the FBS level with a blowout loss to Ohio (7-5) at Peden Stadium and a second straight 1-11 finish. Unsurprisingly, the Minutemen were thoroughly outplayed by the Bobcats, who enjoyed a 461 to 290 advantage in offensive yards.
Ohio got on the board on just the second play of the game, courtesy of a 50-yard touchdown run by running back Beau Blankenship, then scored again on its second drive, on a two-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Tettleton to wide receiver Chase Cochran. Kicker Brendon Levengood hit a 42-yard field goal for Massachusetts to make it 14-3 after the first quarter.
Early in the second period, it looked like the Minutemen could make a game of it yet, as Tettleton was strip-sacked by defensive lineman Kevin Byrne and RB Shadrach Abrokwah subsequently scored on a three-yard TD run. But with UMass in Ohio territory with a chance to go ahead, QB A. J. Doyle‘s pass was intercepted by cornerback Travis Carrie, who returned the ball 66 yards for the TD, and RB Ryan Boykin added a six-yard TD run soon after. Josiah Yazdani kicked a 30-yard FG for a 31-10 halftime lead.
In the third, Byrne added to his good day with his first career INT, which gave UMass the ball on Ohio’s 38-yard line. One play later, Doyle connected with WR Tajae Sharpe for the score, and Levengood’s 37-yard FG made it an 11-point game. Tettleton’s second TD of the day was a four-yard pass to WR Landon Smith. On the next drive, Doyle was picked off again, this time by safety Thad Ingol at the UMass 38, but the defense was able to hold the Bobcats to a 24-yard Yazdani FG, making the score 41-20 heading into the final period.
The Minutemen opened up the fourth with a 45-yard Levengood FG, which Ohio immediately responded with a Yazdani 25-yarder. With less than five minutes to go, Carrie got his second pick-six, this time a 30-yard return off backup QB Mike Wegzyn, to close out the game.
Tettleton finished 18-for-27 passing for 243 yards, two TDs and an INT, while Blankenship had 124 yards and a score on 13 carries. Doyle completed just four of 12 passes for 109 yards, with one TD and two picks, and Abrokwah ran for 110 yards and a TD on 31 attempts.
Tags: A. J. Doyle, Andre Williams, Beau Blankenship, Boston College, Brendon Levengood, Chase Rettig, Josh Parris, Josiah Yazdani, Kevin Byrne, Massachusetts, Ohio, Ryan Norton, Shadrach Abrokwah, Syracuse, Terrel Hunt, Travis Carrie, Tyler Tettleton