Nov 3, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Boston College Eagles defensive back Elijah Jones (1) intercepts a pass in the end zone in front of Syracuse Orange wide receiver Donovan Brown (87) during the first half at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College wins 5th straight, breaks late tie with Syracuse

Thomas Castellanos passed for a touchdown and ran for another as Boston College knocked off host Syracuse 17-10 in Friday’s Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

Castellanos finished 20 of 37 passing for 165 yards and added a team-high 87 yards on the ground as the Eagles (6-3, 3-2 ACC) won their fifth straight game.

LeQuint Allen rattled off 142 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Orange (4-5, 0-5), who have dropped five in a row.

Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader was a surprise scratch with an undisclosed injury suffered in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. Carlos Del Rio-Wilson started in his place and went 7 of 17 for 37 yards with four interceptions.

With the game tied at 10-10, Castellanos rushed around the left end for a 7-yard touchdown with 2:23 remaining. On the next offensive play, Del Rio-Wilson’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Cole Batson, and the Eagles ran out the clock.

CJ Clinkscales intercepted Del Rio-Wilson near midfield on Syracuse’s first possession of the game, allowing the Eagles to convert that turnover into a 24-yard field goal by Liam Connor.

The Orange got on the board late in the first quarter, covering 65 yards in only four plays. Allen began the possession with a 32-yard scamper and then had a pair of modest runs before Del Rio-Wilson broke free up the middle for a 27-yard score.

The teams then exchanged empty trips until Boston College scored in the final minute of the second quarter.

The possession began when Elijah Jones intercepted Del Rio-Wilson on a deep pass to the end zone for a touchback. The Eagles then marched 80 yards in 18 plays, including two fourth-and-1 conversions. The scoring play was a 2-yard pass from Castellanos to Owen McGowan with 48 seconds left in the half.

There was no scoring in the third quarter. Boston College trekked to the Syracuse 24 late in the period before Castellanos was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.

The Orange began the ensuing possession with Allen’s 56-yard run, leading to Brady Denaburg’s 36-yard kick to forge a 10-10 tie with 14:18 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 26, 2023; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Jaylin Lane (83) catches a pass against Syracuse Orange defensive back Jason Simmons Jr. (6) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech outrushes Syracuse 318-0 in blowout win

Da’Quan Felton caught two touchdown passes to propel Virginia Tech to a 38-10 win over Syracuse on Thursday in Blacksburg, Va.

Kyron Drones (15 of 24, 194 yards) and running back Malachi Thomas (13 carries, 87 yards) each threw a scoring pass to Felton. Bhayshul Tuten ran for 118 yards and a score for the Hokies (4-4, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), while John Love made all five of his field-goal attempts.

Virginia Tech was dominant in posting its third win in four games, outgaining the Orange 528-138 in total yards and outrushing the visitors 318-0.

Garrett Shrader went 12 of 18 for 138 yards with a touchdown for Syracuse (4-4, 0-4), although he was sacked eight times, including twice each by Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr. and Mario Kendricks. The Orange were 0-for-9 on third-down conversions while losing their fourth straight game.

The contest was lopsided from the get-go, as Virginia Tech scored on its first six possessions while Syracuse punted on its first five drives.

The Hokies opened the scoring with a 43-yard field goal by Love and then extended their margin to 10-0 on a 22-yard pass from Thomas to Felton. Drones pitched to Thomas as Felton got behind the defense for the trick-play score.

Love added a 32-yard field goal late in the first quarter, punctuating a stanza in which the Hokies outgained the Orange 118 yards to 6.

The highlight of the second quarter was Drones’ well-thrown 62-yard touchdown pass to Felton, who streaked down the right sideline to make it 23-0 midway through the session.

The Orange finally got on the board on Brady Denaburg’s 43-yard field goal with 4:18 remaining in the half, but the hosts quickly responded as Drones’ 41-yard pass to Jaylin Lane set up Tuten’s 3-yard TD plunge.

The Hokies’ defense began the second half with a statement of its own, as Cole Nelson sacked Shrader in the end zone for a safety.

Shrader threw a 6-yard TD pass to Dan Villari midway through the third quarter, but the Orange never mounted a comeback down the stretch.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Kyron Drones (1) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech aims to pick up where it left off vs. Syracuse

Syracuse must’ve been happy to have a week off, while Virginia Tech hopes its bye didn’t slow the team’s positive momentum.

The Hokies aim for their third win in four games Thursday when they welcome the skidding Orange to Blacksburg, Va.

Virginia Tech (3-4, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has recovered from a three-game slide to defeat Pitt and Wake Forest over its last three outings, with a loss at No. 4 Florida State in between. In their most recent contest, the Hokies handled the Demon Deacons 30-13 as Kyron Drones threw two touchdown passes as part of a career-high 321-yard performance.

Drones also ran for 59 yards and is just 16 yards behind Bhayshul Tuten (360) for the team lead. As a 6-foot-2 signal-caller with speed, Drones was compared to Syracuse’s 6-foot-4 Garrett Shrader this week by Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry.

“When he’s on, he’s one of the better ones in the league,” Pry said of Shrader, who has 358 rushing yards and six scores on the season, not to mention 1,371 passing yards and eight TDs. “He’s a good, strong athlete. He’s got good speed, a lot of confidence. When he’s playing his A-game, he’s an awful good quarterback.”

Shrader has not been at his best, however, during the Orange’s three-game losing streak. He has not thrown for more than 200 yards in any of the last three affairs and has been severely limited in the rushing game as Syracuse (4-3, 0-3) has been outscored 112-24 by Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State.

“We played three really good teams, but we have to play well against those types of teams, and we didn’t play our best games against them,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “So the outcomes were the outcomes.”

The Orange will hope for an improved outcome against a Hokies team that they have defeated in each of the last two meetings. In the most recent matchup two years ago, Shrader threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Damien Alford with 19 seconds left to fuel Syracuse to a 41-36 win.

The Orange lead the all-time series 11-8.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers looks on during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse looks to continue winning ways against Colgate

Looking to post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in a decade, Syracuse kicks off its 2023 campaign Saturday with a home matchup against FCS foe Colgate.

The Orange went 7-6 a season ago, falling to Minnesota 28-20 in the Pinstripe Bowl. They have not played in a bowl game in back-to-back years since 2012 and 2013 — the last time the program finished above .500 in consecutive years.

This year’s squad once again will be led by coach Dino Babers (entering his eighth season at Syracuse) and senior quarterback Garrett Shrader (entering his third year as a starter). Shrader passed for 2,640 yards and 17 touchdowns last year while contributing 444 yards and nine scores on the ground.

Despite the overall youth for the Orange, who have only seven players in their final year of eligibility, Babers feels good about his squad entering the season.

“It’s a quality group,” Babers said. “The teams that go very far are the teams that are player led, not coaching led. Those guys are leaders. Everything that they’ve done on and off the field since the end of the 2022 bowl game has been exactly that. I think the team did a fine job picking out people that maybe aren’t the most popular — but definitely the people that you want to follow.”

Colgate is coming off a 3-8 campaign in which the team allowed 88 points in its last two games. On the bright side, the Raiders’ top three rushers from a season ago are back in the fold, including quarterback Michael Brescia.

“These games are dangerous games,” Babers said. “I’ve been on the other end of these football games. I’ve been 21-point dogs and we’ve beat the team by 21. It’s one of those things where the kids are excited, you guys are excited. I’m sitting here, I’m not excited at all, I’m worried.”

When asked at the Patriot League Football Media Day about facing Syracuse followed by Villanova, Colgate head coach Stan Dakosty said, “We go into those games with the same mindset as every other game. We’re going to line up, fight, and play competitive football.”

“We’re going to play against a lot of great teams,” he continued. “There are never any cupcakes on our schedule, but that’s who we are. I list every game with the same sense that the opponent’s going to be as difficult as the next.”

That said, Syracuse has won 16 straight matchups with Colgate and hasn’t lost to the Raiders since 1950. The Orange also are 20-0 against FCS opponents since the two divisions separated in 1978.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Syracuse Orange defensive back Garrett Williams (8) reacts after a play against the Connecticut Huskies in the first quarter at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse CB Garrett Williams (ACL) is done for season

Syracuse standout cornerback Garrett Williams will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL, coach Dino Babers said on Monday.

Williams was injured during the first half of Saturday’s 41-24 home loss to Notre Dame. He was sporting crutches on the sideline in the second half.

“He is one of our leaders,” Babers said. “Garrett is a cool cat. He’s Syracuse through and through. Nothing but Orange running through his veins, and he wants nothing but the best for his family, and we want nothing but the best for him. We will stand beside him, and there’s no doubt he will stand beside us.”

Williams had 36 tackles and two interceptions in seven games this season. He has picked off four passes in 32 career games over four seasons.

The Orange also have to firm up the status of quarterback Garrett Shrader (lower body). Shrader had the injury before playing Notre Dame. Babers removed him before the end of the loss to the Irish but said that choice wasn’t injury-related.

Syracuse (6-2, 3-1 ACC) visits Pitt on Saturday. The Orange have lost their past two games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) runs with the ball for a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Szmyt’s five field goals allow Syracuse to top Virginia

Andre Szmyt tied the Syracuse record by making five field goals, including the decisive boot with 1:14 remaining, as the host Orange nipped Virginia 22-20 on Friday evening.

Syracuse (4-0, 2-0 ACC) benefited from a third-down facemask penalty on Virginia (2-2, 0-1) on the final drive. Shortly thereafter, Garrett Shrader’s 12-yard scramble set up Szmyt for the winning kick.

The Cavaliers drove to near midfield on their last-minute drive, but Brennan Armstrong’s final two passes fell incomplete.

Shrader finished 22 of 33 for 277 yards with an interception and a rushing score for the Orange, who won despite committing four turnovers. Oronde Gadsden II led Syracuse with seven catches for 113 yards.

Armstrong went 19 of 38 for 138 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Perris Jones contributed 87 rushing yards and a touchdown for Virginia, which committed two turnovers, missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked.

Trebor Pena ignited Syracuse by returning the game’s opening kickoff 57 yards. The Orange offense needed only five plays to cover the final 41 yards, capped by a 17-yard TD scramble by Shrader.

The Cavaliers then missed field goals on consecutive possessions as Brendan Farrell was wide right from 50 and then from 48. Following the second miss, the Orange drove 11 plays and Szmyt kicked a 26-yarder to make it 10-0.

Armstrong fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, setting up Syracuse deep in Virginia territory. The Orange generated no offense on that drive, but Szmyt drilled a 32-yard field goal for a 13-0 cushion.

The senior kicker booted another field goal late in the first half to make it 16-0.

Keytaon Thompson got Virginia on the board on the opening drive of the second half, plunging in from 1 yard out. Pena fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Cavaliers were back in the end zone two plays later, this time on a 4-yard run by Jones.

The Orange then converted three third downs — including a third-and-18 — as part of a 14-play drive that Szmyt punctuated with a 40-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter.

The score remained 19-13 until Virginia scored on fourth-and-goal from the 4 with 5:51 remaining in the contest. Armstrong found Lavel Davis Jr. over the middle for the TD, and the extra point put the visitors in front.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) scrambles with the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Pitt, shooting for 10-win season, meets Syracuse

While Pat Narduzzi is focused on the 2021 season, there are two other years the coach of No. 17 Pitt is keeping in mind heading into Saturday’s road game against Syracuse.

The first is 1981. The second is 2018.

Regarding 1981, that was the last time Pitt won 10 games in a regular season. The Panthers sit at 9-2, 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, heading into their regular-season finale.

“It’s been a long time,” Narduzzi said. “To me, that means something. In 40 years, there’s something to prove when we go up there this weekend.”

As for 2018, Pitt wrapped up the ACC Coastal Division with one game to play that year — the same scenario the team is in now. The 2018 Panthers ended up losing their regular-season finale to Miami before getting hammered by Clemson in the ACC title game and then falling to Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

Narduzzi did not rest his starters in that game against Miami and doesn’t plan to do it this time around either, even with the ACC championship game awaiting in early December.

“(Whether we’ll rest our starters) would be a natural question: ‘Let’s go up there and keep them all healthy and play our backups and get ready for the championship game,’” Narduzzi said. “I would love to do that, but I don’t see us doing that.”

Pitt has not been held below 27 points in any game this season and enters the weekend averaging 43.9 points — third best in the nation — and 370.1 passing yards, which ranks fifth in Division I FBS.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver Jordan Addison hooked up for 202 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 48-38 triumph over Virginia. Pickett was announced this week as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player, while Addison is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, an honor that goes to the most outstanding receiver.

“This is a doggone good football team that’s going to have an opportunity to play in the title game of the ACC,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “And they definitely deserve it.”

The Orange (5-6, 2-5), meanwhile, need a win to guarantee their first bowl berth since 2018. They have absorbed consecutive losses to Louisville and North Carolina State by a combined 82-20 margin, giving them one last shot to prove the doubters wrong before the regular season concludes.

“I remember when the season started,” Babers said to reporters. “I remember who was on the hot seat. I remember we weren’t supposed to win more than three games. I read all your articles, everybody in here. And then all of a sudden, we decided we weren’t going to be bad, we were going to be good, and everybody changed their expectations.

“Our expectations in here have never changed, and our goal has always been the same.”

One highlight of Syracuse’s season has been the play of running back Sean Tucker, who last week broke the school’s 42-year-old record for rushing yards in a season. The freshman has 1,467 rushing yards, 49 yards shy of Central Michigan’s Lew Nichols for the FBS lead.

Pitt has won 14 of the last 16 matchups, including a 21-10 win last season. Pickett threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in that victory.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Damien Alford (82) is tackled by Boston College Eagles cornerback JT Thompson (33) in the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Tucker, Syracuse rush past Boston College

Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader combined for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground to help Syracuse rout regional rival Boston College 21-6 at home in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash on Saturday afternoon.

Tucker had 26 carries for a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown for the Orange (5-4, 2-3 ACC), who earned their second straight win. The freshman running back entered the day leading the nation in all-purpose yardage with 1,298 yards.

Shrader was 5-of-14 passing for 65 yards under center while rushing for 78 yards and a score on 16 carries. The sophomore quarterback had five total TDs in Syracuse’s come-from-behind 41-36 win at Virginia Tech last Saturday.

Boston College freshman quarterback Emmett Morehead finished 6-of-15 for 87 yards in his collegiate debut after replacing starter Dennis Grosel in the second quarter.

The junior Grosel returned late in the fourth and finished 9-of-17 passing for 93 yards.

Zay Flowers totaled 116 yards receiving on six catches while Pat Garwo III rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries for the Eagles (4-4, 0-4 ACC), who have gone winless since opening the season with four straight wins.

The Eagles led 3-0 at halftime and doubled their lead at 9:42 of the third quarter on a 24-yard field goal by Connor Lytton.

After a 37-yard gain in the opening half, Tucker broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run up the middle to put the Orange ahead 7-6 with 7:53 left in the third.

Shrader gave Syracuse a 14-7 lead with another big run on a 48-yard rumble down the sideline for a touchdown at 4:27 of the third.

After a three-and-out for BC, Grant Carlson returned an Eagles punt for a 46-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 with three minutes left before the fourth.

BC handed the keys to Morehead on its first drive of the second quarter. Morehead’s first pass attempt on 2nd-and-8 fell incomplete before the freshman hit Flowers for a 4-yard gain on 3rd down for his first career completion.

Lytton’s 31-yard field goal put BC on the board with 12:26 to play before halftime.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Justyn Ross (8) catches the ball in front of Syracuse Orange linebacker Marlowe Wax (2) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson hangs on as Syracuse misses late FG

Syracuse’s Andre Szmyt missed a 48-yard field goal with 43 seconds left as Clemson held on for a 17-14 victory over host Syracuse on Friday night.

It was fifth game this season decided by a touchdown or less for Clemson (4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), the six-time defending league champion.

The Tigers have won eight of their past nine meetings with Syracuse (3-4, 0-3), which lost its third consecutive game, all by three points.

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed a season-high 21 passes on 34 attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, the Tigers once again had to rely on their defense, which entered the night ranked second in the nation in opponents’ scoring at 12.5 points per game.

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, who has rushed for 100 yards or more in six of seven games this season, had 132 yards by halftime Friday. He was held to only 25 in the second half.

The game was close throughout. Clemson broke a scoreless tie by driving 87 yards in 13 plays early in the second quarter for a 19-yard touchdown reception by Joseph Ngata in the far right edge of the end zone.

Syracuse responded on its ensuring possession, driving 91 yards for a tying touchdown. Tucker set the Orange up with a 39-yard run to the Clemson 2-yard line, and quarterback Garrett Shrader dashed untouched around the left side on the next play, knotting the game with 5:33 left in the first half.

Clemson came back to grab a 14-7 lead with nine seconds remaining in the half, driving 58 yards in 13 plays in just 1:58. The Tigers converted a fourth-and-5 on the drive when punter Will Spiers — who played quarterback in high school — lofted a 17-yard pass to tight end Davis Allen for the first down.

Justyn Ross then snagged a 15-yard pass to set the Tigers up at the 2, and running back Kobe Pace bulled in on the next play. Pace led Clemson with 76 yards on 14 carries.

After a scoreless third quarter, Clemson extended its lead to 17-7 with a 40-yard field goal by B.T. Potter with 9:22 left in the game. Syracuse struck back quickly, getting a 62-yard touchdown pass from Shrader to Trevor Pena on its next possession to pull within 17-14 with 7:18 left.

Syracuse then drove from its own 7-yard line to the Clemson 30 where Szmyt, who earlier in the game became the school’s all-time leading scorer, came up short with 38 seconds remaining.

Shrader completed 17 of 37 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Trebor Pena (29) goes to recover a muffed punt return as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights long snapper Billy Taylor (47) come in during the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers wins defensive battle vs. Syracuse

Defensive back Max Melton forced a pair of turnovers as visiting Rutgers did enough in the second half to record a 17-7 victory over host Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2014 – their first season in the Big Ten and most recent appearance in a bowl game.

Rutgers eventually got enough done in a game in which neither team scored until there was 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. The teams were a combined 5-for-29 on third downs.

After guiding eight scoring drives in last week’s 61-14 rout of Temple, Noah Vedral (22 of 28 for 145 yards, touchdown) guided three scoring drives that resulted in points being scored in different ways.

Kyle Monangai scored on an 11-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and Vedral connected with Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard TD in the final seconds of the third. Valentino Ambrosio made a 27-yard field goal for Rutgers’ final points.

Melton blocked a punt in the first half and then sealed the win with an interception with 41 seconds left.

Syracuse (1-1, 0-0 ACC) was unable to do much offensively — no matter who it used as quarterback.

Tommy Devito completed 15 of 26 passes for 149 yards while Garret Shrader played two series in the first half. He was 4-of-6 for 42 yards.

Taj Harris finished with eight receptions for 122 yards and Sean Tucker rushed for 54 yards and a TD. The Orange maintained possession for only 24:04.

Syracuse missed two chances to score the game’s first points in the final minute of the first half. On first-and-10 from the Rutgers 38, Shrader’s pass to an open Courtney Jackson was incomplete. Right before halftime, Andre Szmyt missed a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

After Syracuse coach Dino Babers was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Monangai gave Rutgers a 7-0 lead with 6:46 remaining. On the ensuing drive, Devito completed a 51-yard pass to Harris to set up Tucker’s game-tying 24-yard score with 5:54 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights regained the lead at 14-7 with 24 seconds left when Vedral found a wide open Haskins up the middle for a 30-yard TD.

Immediately after Ambrosio’s miss, Devito was stripped in the pocket by Mayan Ahanotu and the fumble was recovered by CJ Onyechi at the Syracuse 10. A little over two minutes later, Ambrosio booted a 27-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

–Field Level Media