Dec 21, 2023; Boca Raton, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Byrum Brown (17) drops back to pass against the Syracuse Orange in the first quarter during the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida throttles Syracuse in Boca Raton Bowl

Byrum Brown threw three touchdown passes and two South Florida players scored on long fumble returns as the Bulls trounced Syracuse 45-0 on Thursday night in the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla.

Brown twice found Sean Atkins for a touchdown as part of a 19-of-26 passing performance in which he threw for 214 yards without an interception. Atkins finished with six catches for 93 yards, while Brown also registered a team-high 64 rushing yards for the Bulls (7-6).

The Orange (6-7) played without their top two quarterbacks due to injuries. Freshman Braden Davis made his first college start and finished 6 of 13 for 84 yards. The team also ran much of their offense out of a wildcat formation that featured running back LeQuint Allen (20 carries for 2 yards) and tight end Dan Villari (11 rushes for 37 yards and 4-of-11 passing for 55 yards).

Syracuse went 1 for 17 on third downs and had four turnovers in losing its bowl game for the second straight season.

After the teams exchanged punts to begin the contest, South Florida marched 64 yards on 10 plays, capped by Brown’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Atkins in the back of the end zone.

The Bulls doubled their lead late in the first quarter on Aamaris Brown’s 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Orange were attempting a field goal, but they botched the hold, leading to the fumble.

Early in the second quarter, Byrum Brown found Khafre Brown deep over the middle for a 31-yard score, making it 21-0. John Cannon added a 40-yard field goal with 2:40 left in the period.

The cherry on top of the first-half uprising was Tramel Logan’s 61-yard fumble return with nine seconds left. Daquan Evans sacked Davis on the play, and Logan made the recovery.

Byrum Brown’s 35-yard pass to a wide-open Atkins made it 38-0 early in the third quarter. Nay’Quan Wright’s 2-yard touchdown run accounted for the only points of the fourth quarter as South Florida rolled to its first bowl win since 2017.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  Syracuse Orange running back LeQuint Allen (1) runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse runs into USF, Boca Raton Bowl thinking ground game

Without the coach and quarterback who helped the Orange reach the postseason, Syracuse stomps forward to face South Florida in the Boca Raton Bowl on Thursday.

The Orange (6-6) fired coach Dino Babers last month near the end of his eighth season at Syracuse. His temporary replacement was Nunzio Campanile, who defeated Wake Forest in the regular-season finale to make the Orange bowl-eligible, before the program hired Fran Brown as its next head coach earlier this month.

It’ll be Campanile who will be guiding Syracuse in Thursday’s clash in Boca Raton, Fla. He will have to defeat the Bulls without quarterback Garrett Shrader, who underwent shoulder surgery after passing for three touchdowns and running for another in the win over Wake Forest.

“It was important for me to get our team to a bowl game,” the senior quarterback said. “I would have (gotten surgery) earlier in the season, but I wanted to wait until we got bowl-eligible. This team has too much talent and works too hard not to play a 13th game.”

In Shrader’s absence, the Orange could opt for backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who threw three touchdowns and six interceptions in limited action this season. Or the team could revisit its creative wildcat offense that it used while Shrader was injured late in the regular season.

In either event, the Orange are looking forward to playing in a bowl game for the second straight season. Previously, they had not played in back-to-back bowl games since 2012 and 2013.

“You have two teams that are trending in the right direction,” Campanile said, “and I just think it’s a really exciting opportunity. … It should be a really fun, entertaining game.”

The Bulls (6-6) showed drastic improvement this season under first-year coach Alex Golesh. The team had won a total of four games in the previous three seasons combined and now will play in their first bowl game since 2018.

“To get here in year one and to continue to lay a foundation for what we’re building in Tampa, it’s absolutely huge for us,” said Golesh, whose squad also became bowl-eligible by winning its regular-season finale. USF trounced Charlotte 48-14 in that contest behind four passing touchdowns and a rushing score from Byrum Brown.

The Bulls’ defense was among the worst in the nation in points allowed per game (34.9) and yards allowed per game (455.3). So, they’ll be banking on their dynamic offense and hope that their defense can contain Orange running back LeQuint Allen, who ran for 1,062 yards (including 100-plus yards in five of the last six games).

Also, USF will be relying on its expected home-field advantage.

“For us to be in our home state, playing against a really good football team, I would hope there’s a bunch of green and gold in the stands,” Golesh said. “It’ll feel like a home game in that regard.”

The teams have met 10 times previously, all between 2005 and 2016. South Florida won eight of those matchups with all eight of those victories coming by at least 14 points.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) on the sideline against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse QB out for bowl game after shoulder surgery

Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader is out for the Boca Raton Bowl following shoulder surgery, ending his six-year college career.

Shrader said he would’ve had the surgery earlier in the season but opted to play through a “tear” for two months, he said Monday. He threw three touchdown passes to lead Syracuse past Wake Forest, 35-31, in the regular-season finale to cement bowl eligibility for the Orange.

Syracuse faces USF in the Boca Raton Bowl.

“It was important for me to get our team to a bowl game,” Shrader said in a statement posted to X and released by Syracuse communications. “I would have done it earlier in the season, but I wanted to wait until we got bowl-eligible. This team has too much talent and works too hard not to play a 13th game.”

Syracuse signed his apparent replacement in the transfer portal last week when Ohio State’s Kyle McCord committed to the team.

Shrader finished with 21 touchdowns in 2023, including eight rushing scores.

Syracuse used a Wildcat-based offense with tight end Dan Villari lined up at quarterback at times while Shrader was limited.

A transfer from Mississippi State, Shrader was a two-time team captain. He arrived for spring practice in 2021 and became the starter four games into that season.

–Field Level Media

Nov. 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Mi., USA;
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord (6) warms up before Saturday  s NCAA Division I football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium.

Report: Ex-Ohio State QB Kyle McCord to transfer to Syracuse

Former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord is expected to commit to play at Syracuse.

Syracuse.com reported that McCord’s commitment could come as early as Sunday, though the quarterback told 247Sports that he likely wouldn’t have an announcement for a few more days.

He visited Syracuse and new coach Fran Brown this weekend.

“It was good, it was good,” McCord told 247Sports. “I like Fran a lot and have known him for a while. The comfort level is definitely there.”

McCord, from Philadelphia, spent three seasons in Columbus and started in 2023 after C.J. Stroud entered the NFL draft. McCord completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 3,170 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games this season.

McCord guided the No. 7 Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) to a bid to the Cotton Bowl, which will be played Dec. 29 against No. 9 Missouri with Devin Brown starting for Ohio State.

McCord’s only loss came at rival Michigan on Nov. 25 as he threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in the 30-24 defeat.

Since entering the transfer portal on Dec. 4, McCord also took a visit to Nebraska.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; The logo of the Syracuse Orange is seen on a helmet during the second half of their game against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Syracuse targets Georgia’s Fran Brown as head coach

Georgia assistant Fran Brown is a leading candidate to become the next Syracuse head coach, per multiple reports.

Brown, 41, is in his second season as the defensive backs coach for the unbeaten Bulldogs. He previously held similar positions at Rutgers, Baylor and Temple.

Brown is a New Jersey native who has recruited the Northeast region throughout his coaching career. He’s ranked as the No. 1 recruiter in the nation by 247Sports.

Syracuse fired eighth-year coach Dino Babers on Nov. 19 with a 41-55 record.

Interim coach Nunzio Campanile led the Orange (6-6, 2-6 ACC) to a 35-31 win over Wake Forest last Saturday to gain bowl eligibility.

Others linked to the vacancy include Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney, Toledo head coach Jason Candle and Nebraska defensive coordinator Tony White.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Syracuse Orange running back LeQuint Allen (1) is pressured by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker Trenilyas Tatum (7) in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After firing, Syracuse eyes bowl eligibility vs. Wake Forest

Dino Babers finally ran out of chances at Syracuse, and Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson might not be far behind.

Six days after firing their coach, the Orange will host the Demon Deacons on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Babers posted two winning seasons in eight years at Syracuse and just watched his team collapse following a 4-0 start in non-conference action. The Orange (5-6, 1-6 ACC) have lost six of seven games since then and are coming off a 31-22 defeat at Georgia Tech last Saturday.

That loss proved to be the final straw for Babers, who was relieved of his duties Sunday. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile was named interim coach and will try to get Syracuse into a bowl game, which it will be eligible for with a win against Wake Forest.

Nevertheless, the school felt it was time for a change.

“What the exit really boils down to is November. We’ve not had the success in November,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said Monday.

The Demon Deacons (4-7, 1-6) are looking to end the season on a high note, having dropped seven of their last eight after a 3-0 start. They were trounced 45-7 by Notre Dame last Saturday and have scored 21 points or less in eight straight contests.

Still, Clawson — who is wrapping up his 10th season with the team — is holding his head high.

“I think our guys played hard, and I can’t fault their effort,” Clawson said. “We have one more week to play as a team. I’m really impressed with the way these guys have stuck together and they continue to practice hard and give effort.”

Michael Kern made his first career start in the loss to Notre Dame and went 11 of 20 for 81 yards without a touchdown or an interception.

Syracuse has quarterback questions of its own, as Garrett Shrader (upper-body injury) has been severely limited in recent weeks, forcing the Orange to adopt a creative wildcat offense in which running back LeQuint Allen and tight end Dan Villari have taken the bulk of the snaps.

The Demon Deacons have won the last three matchups against the Orange, including a 45-35 win in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers (right) and quarterback Garrett Schrader (6) look on against the Western Michigan Broncos during the second half at the JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Syracuse to part ways with football coach Dino Babers

Syracuse will dismiss football coach Dino Babers, ESPN reported Sunday.

Babers, in his eighth season with the Orange, has posted just two winning seasons: 10-3 in 2018 and 7-6 in 2022.

Syracuse is 5-6 (1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) after a 31-22 loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Overall, Babers has a 41-55 record with the Orange.

Babers, 62, is concluding his 40th season in coaching. He previously was the head coach at Eastern Illinois (2012-13), where he twice was named Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year, and at Bowling Green (2014-15).

He was the ACC coach of the year in 2018, when the Orange finished the season ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Noah Biglow (28) attempts a tackle ion Syracuse Orange tight end Dan Villari (89) during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse turns to run game to bury Pitt

Facing limited quarterback options and a five-game losing streak, Syracuse rushed for 382 yards Saturday to defeat Pittsburgh 28-13 in Atlantic Coast Conference play at Yankee Stadium in New York.

The Orange (5-5, 1-5 ACC) earned their first conference win of the season by pounding the Panthers (2-8, 1-5), who have dropped four games in a row.

With quarterback Garrett Shrader hobbled significantly by an undisclosed upper-body injury and backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson out with a lower-body injury, Syracuse had to get creative in this one. On one play, Shrader lined up at wide receiver and did a back flip on the snap while the play went elsewhere.

Tight end Dan Villari and running back LeQuint Allen each took snaps for the Orange, as Shrader was limited to two pass attempts on the day. He completed one of them — a 5-yard TD to a wide-open Max Mang — although he barely reached Mang in the end zone due to the injury.

Villari, who entered the game with two carries for three yards on the season, finished with 17 carries for 154 yards and a touchdown in this one. He also completed 3-of-5 passes for 12 yards.

Allen contributed 102 yards on 28 carries. Shrader was able to carry 14 times for 96 yards, including a 21-yard TD scamper on fourth-and-2 midway through the third quarter that gave the Orange the lead for good.

Later in the third, Jayden Bellamy intercepted Pitt’s Christian Veilleux and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown to give Syracuse a 21-13 lead.

Villari’s 27-yard touchdown early in the fourth put the exclamation point on the win for Syracuse, which finished with 66 carries and only eight pass attempts.

Veilleux completed 13-of-22 for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Rodney Hammond Jr. carried 12 times for 43 yards for the Panthers, while Konata Mumpfield caught a team-high four passes for 29 yards and a score.

–Field Level Media

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