Boston College, Syracuse going in opposite directions
Boston College and Syracuse have one thing in common this season: They both made No. 1-ranked Clemson sweat.
But beyond that, the Eagles and Orange are rivals headed in different directions and in different situations entering their game Saturday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Boston College (4-3, 3-3 ACC) nearly pulled off the upset of the season this past Saturday, leading Clemson by 15 points at halftime before succumbing 34-28.
First-year coach Jeff Hafley said as bad as he felt about losing, playing the top team in the country so close was an eye-opener for prospective recruits as he attempts to build a foundation for the program.
Hafley said he hopes it also can be a performance for this year’s team to build on the rest of this season.
“If you watch last week, that was our best tackling game,” Hafley said. “It was awesome. Those are good players. So can we do that again this week? Can we cover a little bit tighter this week? Are we going to be in the right place and not bust? Those are the little things we have to fix.”
Boston College has alternated wins and losses the past five weeks. Syracuse (1-6, 1-5) has lost four games in a row.
The two biggest problems for Syracuse have been defense and inconsistent quarterback play.
The Orange have given up at least 38 points in each of those four losses and still are trying to find a consistent starter at quarterback between senior Rex Culpepper and freshmen JaCobian Morgan and Dillon Markiewicz. Syracuse lost starter Tommy DeVito to a serious leg injury against Duke on Oct. 10.
Syracuse coach Dino Babers said it’s likely two or all three of the remaining quarterbacks will play against Boston College.
“It’s just one of those situations where you have to continue to evaluate and see exactly where they are at, and at the same time, not give away too much information to your opponent who is also trying to prepare for you,” Babers said.
The Orange have shown some flashes, particularly against Clemson on Oct. 24, when Syracuse trailed only 27-21 in the third quarter, something Hafley noticed.
“If you look at his team [Syracuse] this year, he had a quarterback injury, a safety injury, a couple of guys opting out,” Hafley said. “A bunch of injuries. It’s a hard year. It’s a really hard year. If you look what he’s done and what he did against Clemson the other week, they are driving with two minutes to go to go up and they fumble the ball. This is a good football team. He’s going to get them ready to roll just like we are going to get ready to roll.”
Syracuse wound up losing to Clemson 47-21.
Stability at quarterback isn’t a problem for Boston College, with Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec enjoying a solid season.
Jurkovec has completed 61.3 percent of his passes (152 of 248) for 1,875 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was been picked off four times.
He’ll hope to add to those stats against a Syracuse team that might be starting to audition younger players given their record and losing streak.
“We are always going to go out and try and win football games,” Babers said. “That’s what we are going to do. When it comes to a point where we don’t think we can do that, then the next-best thing to do is evaluate your personnel. We’ll make those decisions as they come.”
–Field Level Media