Boston College Football blows out 11 fourth-quarter point lead against Syracuse, loses 32-23

On Saturday night, the Syracuse Orange traveled up Chestnut Hill to take on the Boston College Eagles in both teams’ final game of the 2022 regular season. Despite a few nasty offenses and plenty of sacks, Syracuse came from behind and won it in the fourth quarter, 32-23.

The game started with a bang after BC LB Bryce Steele got a strip sack from Orange QB Garrett Shrader behind his 20th starting drive. The Eagles couldn’t take full advantage, though, and settled for Team FG to make it 3-0 early. Boston College’s defense came out big repeatedly On shortstop, to block a Syracuse kick on the next drive. BC managed to take advantage, threw a TD to senior Zay Flowers and went up 10-0. This TD catch also made Zay Flowers the Boston College record holder for TD receptions in a season at 11.

Syracuse finally put together a bit of a drive themselves, but Boston College’s special teams came up again when they blocked an Orange FG attempt. BC’s FG effort missed shortly after keeping the score at 10-0 for most of the first half, until a kick from Syracuse made it 10-3 before the halftime lockout.

The Syracuse offense managed to put together some long and successful drives this game, but struggled to finish it after reaching the red zone. This happened again at the end of the third quarter, as a drive that started at the Syracuse 5-yard line went about 90 yards before being stuffed near the goal line leading to FG instead to only make it 10-6. Boston College capitalized on their heavy play plan and eventually managed to score another TD, this time from Pat Garwo, to extend their lead to 17-6. BC’s harsh penalty kick during the next drive helped Syracuse survive and drive for its first TD, making it 17-12 after a failed 2pt conversion.

After controlling the tempo for most of the night, the Boston College offense petered out to seal the game and Syracuse took the advantage. Garrett Schrader’s deep 58-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to Damien Alford put the Orange up 18-17 on their next drive. Once again, Emmitt Morehead disappointed Eagles fans everywhere when he escaped from the pocket and allowed the ball to slip out of his hands by a Syracuse defender. The Orange recovered and scored, going up 8 points and requiring BC to create a miracle drive to win the game with 2:29 remaining. They didn’t, finishing the game with another TD (and Zay Flowers’ garbage time TD) for the eventual 32-23 Syracuse win.

With a TD catch, Zay Flowers tied the BC record for TD receptions at 29.

Takeaway

Boston College’s pass rush featured heavily. Syracuse’s OL has been a struggling unit in recent weeks and the Eagles have taken full advantage. Too many sacks and rushing prevented Orange QB Garrett Shrader from extending the play or consistently getting the ball. Although they have their own problems, the 2022 BC defense has been an impressive unit at times.

Transitions continue to be an issue for Emmett Morehead. If he’s going to start for BC next season, that’s something that needs to be drastically cleaned up. He continues to lose fumbles on sacks and throws directly into the hands of defenders. He has no awareness of incoming rushes and lets the ball out of his hands easily on chase sacks. For now, we’ll take it back to beginner mistakes.

Boston College looked excited! Maybe it was for a big night, maybe it was for a defeatable opponent, maybe it was for Jeff Hafley’s job security. Whatever the case, they came out of the gate playing strong, something that could not have been said last week against Notre Dame or at various other points in the season. Haffley is very much a “player coach” and has sometimes struggled to cut through his players, so forcing them into a generally stale game like this is a good sign. Hopefully a fresh start in 2023 will help with that even more.

It was a well coached game overall by Jeff Hafley getting through 3 quarters. He had a specific game plan in mind on both sides of the ball to stifle the Orange’s attack and run down their defence. The offense focused a lot on Pat Garwo running through the weak Orange DL and controlling the clock. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense held the QB too often and wouldn’t allow the play to extend for more than a few seconds. This isn’t something you see every week from BC, but they stuck to their plan and found an effective way to stay competitive. The offense was limited, as usual, largely as a result of the first offense Syracuse struggled to defend, the poor OL, and Emmett Morehead’s poor play. This style of play was great while they had the lead, but frustrating when they played from behind at the end of the competition. The defense was gassed towards the end of the game as well, which hurt the Eagles significantly.

With the book closing on the 2022 season, you have to acknowledge the tremendous sense of disappointment this team has fans feeling. In a historically weak ACC program, with a favorable schedule, and with a third-year head coach, Boston College bounced back as a program. I highlighted in the preseason that it was all set to come together in BC this year, but instead it fell apart in the usual way. We’ll have a lot of these hardships unpacking in a long season without a pot.

However, we are moving forward. Be sure to keep coming back to BC County as we talk about what went wrong this season, what we can expect next year, and plenty of coverage of other Boston College sports. I’m signing off for the 2022 season, and as always, I’m signing up on Roll Eags.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: