SU becomes bowl-eligible with win over Boston College

The Orange won 34-31 in a back-and-forth game that ended with last second-touchdown from quarterback Terrel Hunt.

Syracuse will remember the 2013 football season as one riddled with missed opportunities, close losses and blowout ones, too.

But it will also be remembered for the final 34-31 come-from-behind victory over Boston College Saturday at the Carrier Dome, catapulting the Orange into bowl-eligibility.

Trailing, 31-27, with just six seconds left in the game, Syracuse (6-6, 4-4) quarterback Terrel Hunt sprinted right, threw left and found tight end Josh Parris on the other side of the field for an 8-yard game-winning touchdown pass on the team’s final drive of the 2013 season.

Photo: Lenny Christopher
Syracuse celebrates after a touchdown pass with 6 seconds left in the fourth quarter that gives them the win over Boston College 34-31, and eligibility for a bowl game.

The play capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that the Orange orchestrated with no timeouts in just over two minutes.

“I just kept pushing. I didn’t even look at the clock,” Hunt said “I just played in the moment.”

The game-winning drive came after a Boston College (7-5, 4-4) field goal that was set up by a Hunt interception on the previous possession

Hunt checked down to a slant route, but BC linebacker Steele Divitto undercut the pass and set the Orange up for another missed opportunity and close loss.

“I told him he was having a great game. Besides that one mishap he was having a great game,” senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley said of Hunt. “I just told him keep it up. You can pad your legacy if you start if off the right way, and what better time than now?”

With the win on Senior Day, the Orange become bowl eligible for the third time in four years, even after dropping the season’s first two games and suffering difficult blowout losses to ACC rivals Clemson and Florida State.

“The thing I like most about this senior class is their character,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “We are seven points shy of having two more victories. We didn’t do it. We came up short. Today was a war. It was a war about character.”

Along with short and intermediate passes, Hunt utilized the option play and designed runs to pick up yards on the ground.

Hunt finished with 90 yards on 17 carries while working the option in with quick handoffs and draws to running backs Jerome Smith and George Morris, who ran for 46 and 40 yards, respectively.

“I’ve been running since high school. People say I’m slow, but I’m deceptively slow,” Hunt joked. “As long as it gets the job done I’m happy.”

Hunt got the job done running the ball on offense, but the same could not be said for Boston College running back and Heisman hopeful, Andre Williams.

Williams finished with just 29 yards on nine carries after being knocked out of the game on a hard hit from SU linebacker Marquis Spruill.

“Our coaches and defense did a great job,” Shafer said. “We wanted him to go east and west. We wanted to make him go sideways and rally and have our secondary tackle.”

Before the game against Boston College, Syracuse averaged just 173.5 passing yards per game. Hunt had 171 at halftime and finished with 270, something he says is a product of him learning the game.

“I’m really just starting to understand the game better,” he said. “I’m just more confident and my receivers are getting open. When they do their job it makes it easier on me. I just try to get the ball where they are.”

With Hunt passing and running effectively, SU made it hard for the Boston College defense to get off of the field. The Orange converted 12 of 18 third downs while Boston College completed just three of 10.

“You’ve just got to execute,” BC’s Divitto said. “Syracuse played really hard, credit to them, they played their tails off.”

With Williams sidelined in the second half, Boston College turned to running back Myles Willis. Willis’ speed proved problematic for the Orange defense, as the freshman rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries.

“That’s what I always practice for, I have to be ready,” Willis said. “Andre is a great back, but you always have to be ready. He takes a lot of carries, a lot of wear and tear on his body. So I knew that sometime this year the opportunity was going to come.

The Orange scored its season average in points per game (21) by halftime and made key stops on defense — especially after Hunt gave the Eagles great field position with his late interception — something Bromley said made the win even better.

“It means everything,” Bromley said. “This was a real team win offensively and defensively and that’s the greatest thing about it. We won this as a unit.” 

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