Boston College 16, Syracuse 7

Freshman tailback Andre Williams rushed for 185 yards on a

school-record 42 carries and scored one touchdown in place of

injured star Montel Harris, Nate Freese kicked three field goals,

and Boston College beat Syracuse 16-7 on Saturday.

It was the fifth straight win for the Eagles (7-5).

Syracuse (7-5) has had a turnaround season, winning five times

on the road, but the Orange finished the regular season without

beating an Football Bowl Subdivision team at home. They also lost

to Pittsburgh, Louisville and last week to surging Connecticut.

After Williams gave BC a 13-7 lead with a 1-yard run late in the

third quarter, the Eagles forced Syracuse to punt and then

continued giving the ball to Williams. He had 12 carries for 61

yards to set up Freese’s 22-yard field goal with 6:44 left.

Harris, the nation’s 11th-leading rusher at 113 yards a game,

underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Monday. He set BC’s previous

record for carries with 41 last year against Maryland.

Freshman quarterback Chase Rettig was 11 of 19 for 110 yards

with one interception. Ryan Nassib was 15 of 24 for 147 and one

pick for the Orange.

BC limited Syracuse to 238 total yards offensively, 91 on the

ground. Linebacker Luke Kuechly, who leads the nation in tackles,

upped his season total to 171 with 10, the 21st straight game he’s

had 10 or more.

After being stymied in the first half, Syracuse stormed out in

the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff 80 yards for its

first points. Nassib, 5 of 10 for 55 yards in the first half,

completed five straight throws for 57 yards on the drive, including

consecutive completions of 16 yards to Marcus Sales and Van Chew.

Antwon Bailey completed the drive with a 5-yard run to give

Syracuse a 7-6 lead.

The Eagles rallied quickly, driving 78 yards to go back ahead.

Williams broke outside for a 20-yard gain and BC then capitalized

on a breakdown in the Syracuse secondary to keep the drive alive.

Facing third-and-5, Rettig found tight end Chris Pantale wide open

over the middle for a 31-yard gain and Williams scored over right

tackle.

Facing the top-ranked rush defense in the nation, the sputtering

Syracuse offense, which had produced only one touchdown in the

previous two games – a span of nine quarters – continued to

misfire.

The Orange were held to just five first downs and 98 yards in

the first half and crossed midfield only once in running just 24

plays to BC’s 39. And even though Syracuse had the lone turnover of

the half – an interception by Kevyn Scott at his own 2 – even that

came back to haunt.

Syracuse was forced to punt for the fourth straight time and the

Orange’s Dorian Graham was called for interfering with returner

Bobby Swigert’s attempt to catch the ball. That gave BC a first

down at midfield and Williams broke two tackles as he sped through

the line of scrimmage for a 26-yard gain to get BC going.

The Eagles had what appeared to be a sure touchdown late in the

second quarter when Swigert came from left to right on a flanker

reverse and passed to a wide-open Pantale at the Syracuse 3. But

the ball hit Pantale’s hands and dropped harmlessly to the turf and

BC settled for Freese’s 29-yard field goal and a 6-0 halftime

lead.

Freese gave BC a 3-0 lead with a 27-yard field goal midway

through the first quarter after the Eagles’ 15-play drive on the

game’s first possession stalled at the Syracuse 10.

The last time these once-fierce rivals played was in the season

finale six years ago and Syracuse upset 17th-ranked BC 43-17 at

Alumni Stadium. It was Boston College’s final game as a member of

the Big East and it deprived the Eagles of a spot in the Bowl

Championship Series, as well as a farewell league crown. The win

gave Syracuse a share of the Big East title and made the Orange

bowl eligible.