Sports, Football, Fall

Eagles Crumble in Second Half, Fall To Syracuse In Final Game Of Season

In 2021, Boston College football quarterback Emmett Morehead made a cameo first appearance as an Eagle against Syracuse, switching off with then-backup Dennis Grosel during the 21–6 loss. Syracuse sacked BC five times in the loss—its lowest scoring showing of the 2021 season—with an inexperienced Morehead under center. 

Saturday night, in BC’s final game of a nine-loss season, Morehead was making no cameo. Instead, Morehead was starting his fourth straight game. Despite tossing for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the air with no interceptions, two fumbles cost the Eagles (3–9, 2–6 Atlantic Coast) the game, and BC fell to Syracuse (7–5, 4–4) 32–23.  

Saturday, however, BC’s defense was the group gathering sacks. The Eagles took down Syracuse’s quarterback Garrett Shrader seven times—five times in the first quarter alone. Prior to Saturday, BC’s highest single-game sack total this season was four. 

But the second half was all Orange. Two first-half missed field goals and four-straight Syracuse scoring drives in less than 10 minutes spoiled the Eagles’ strong defensive start and propelled Syracuse to a victory in Chestnut Hill on BC’s senior night. 

After giving up an opening-drive score in each of its last four games, BC changed its tone on Saturday. Bryce Steele strip-sacked Shrader on the third play of the game, recovered the ball, and opened up the field for the Eagles’ offense on Syracuse’s 17-yard line. 

The Eagles managed a 28-yard Connor Lytton field goal, and their defense stepped up once again on the following drive. Edwin Kolenge blocked an Orange punt, giving BC the ball on Syracuse’s 15-yard line. Morehead then connected with Zay Flowers for a 7-yard score—and one step closer to more history. 

Later in the game, Flowers’ second touchdown made him BC’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 29, passing Kelvin Martin’s 28 career touchdowns. 

Flowers finished the 2022 season with 12 touchdowns—also the most in BC history for a single season. In Week 12, Flowers became BC’s all-time receptions leader and the week before that, became BC’s all time leader in career receiving yards.  

While Syracuse led in total yards 145–133 heading into halftime, the Eagles’ defense limited the Orange to just three first-half points, the lowest number of first-half points BC’s allowed all season. Syracuse’s sole red zone trip came as a result of a Morehead strip sack, giving Syracuse the ball at the Eagles’ 27-yard line. 

But just six yards from the end zone, Cam Horsley sent Syracuse six yards back by tackling running back Sean Tucker. A pair of Orange penalties then pushed Syracuse out of field goal range before halftime, keeping BC up by seven. 

BC’s defense stayed strong initially in the second half, continuing to put pressure on Shrader. A Donovan Ezeiruaku sack on third down sent Syracuse back four yards and prevented the Orange from reaching the end zone in the third quarter. Andre Szmyt knocked in a 29-yard field goal to cut the Eagles’ lead to 10–6. 

Rushing has been a struggle for BC all season—it ranks dead last in the FBS. But Saturday, running back Pat Garwo III had his best performance of the season and showed life of his 2021 self

Garwo finished with 86 yards and one touchdown from the ground, and a 4-yard run capped off a nine-play, 78-yard Eagles scoring drive that put BC up 17–6 in the fourth quarter. Garwo had only two touchdowns on the season until that point.  

The Orange responded immediately. A head-scratching roughing the passer call on Ezeiruaku kept Syracuse’s offensive drive alive, and an 8-yard pass to Devaughn Cooper cut BC’s lead to five. 

But on Syracuse’s two-point conversion attempt, the Eagles collapsed on a scrambling Shrader and stopped him short of the goal line, keeping it a five-point game. 

BC’s offense couldn’t put anything together, and Syracuse took advantage with a 58-yard dart to a wide-open Damien Alford that put the Orange up 18–17, Syracuse’s first lead of the game. 

Morehead’s most costly play of the night—a second strip sack—gave Syracuse the ball right back, and BC’s defense had lost its intensity. The Orange marched downfield and took a commanding 25–17 lead on their third consecutive touchdown. 

The collapse continued, as Tucker put the icing on the cake with a 29-yard rushing touchdown to hand BC the 32–23 loss in its final game of the season.

November 26, 2022
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