Syracuse football loses fifth straight game, falling to Boston College 16-13
SU football loses to Boston College 16-13
Searching for only the second win of the season, Syracuse football entered Saturday’s game against Boston College with the odds stacked against them.
A team led by a rookie quarterback and with something to prove, heading into the game with a losing record, injuries wreaking havoc on the roster and penalties pushing back forward movement: it all sounds like the storyline of a typical sports movie.
But, in this case, it’s actually the makeup of the Syracuse/Boston College game that saw the Orange lose to the Eagles, 16-13.
Syracuse backup quarterback, and recent leading man, Rex Culpepper sat out today’s game due to injury. True freshman JaCobian Morgan, who took over for Culpepper in last week’s matchup against Wake Forest, lined up behind center for the Orange on Saturday.
Morgan earned the start following last week’s performance – which saw him throw for one touchdown and 57 yards after replacing a struggling Culpepper. Saturday’s game marked the first career start for the freshman.
Both teams came out evenly matched, exchanging punts off fourth downs to start. Boston College took the early lead with a field goal at 1:03 in the first quarter. Syracuse answered with three points of their own from Andre Szmyt, who sent the equalizer through the uprights at 11:59 in the second.
The Eagles widened the gap even further before the end of the first half, adding a touchdown with 24 seconds remaining to bring the score to 10-3.
Syracuse held Boston College to a field goal attempt on their first drive of the second half. Aaron Boumerhi missed the 39-yard field goal for the Eagles, giving Syracuse back the ball at the 22-yard line. The Orange drove down the field quickly, but again had to settle for a field goal. Szmyt easily sunk the 46-yarder to narrow the gap to 10-6.
Shortly after, the Eagles would once again further their lead, kicking another field goal to go up 13-6. Boston College added another field goal late in the fourth to bring the score to 16-6.
The Orange started targeting running back Cooper Lutz late in the fourth, and the redshirt sophomore’s 35 yards on three receptions gave Syracuse some momentum. Capitalizing on Boston College penalties and a first down rush from Morgan, SU moved within the red zone for the first time all game.
On first and goal, Morgan dropped back and found Aaron Hackett in the back of the end zone for Syracuse’s first, and only, touchdown of the game. It was too little too late for Syracuse, whose final push took place in the final minute.
SU attempted an offside kick but failed to send the ball 10 yards. Boston College took over with solid field position for a last-minute drive. Time ticked off the clock before the Eagles could score again. With the 16-13 loss, the Orange drop to 1-7 this season.
Morgan’s performance left more to be desired after his impressive showing against Wake Forest, even with the late touchdown pass to Hackett. The freshman quarterback went 19/30 and threw his first interception. He was also sacked four times, but that falls more on his offensive line than the rookie himself.
As for his freshman quarterback, head coach Dino Babers liked what he saw.
“It didn’t look like he was too rattled,” said Babers. “JaCobian doesn’t talk much. He’s one of those guys that everything is action by him, and I’d be very careful what you ask him because he’s a fantastic listener. He doesn’t talk much, and he listens a lot. That’s the most I can tell you about JaCobian.”
While injuries have changed the landscape of SU’s roster – forcing Morgan into a starting position that surely would’ve taken at least a full season to earn – that can only be an excuse for so long. The Orange were riddled by penalties on both sides of the ball. These errors both brought the ball back on huge plays for the Orange and handed the Eagles significantly better field position. By the end of the game, Syracuse had lost 69 yards in seven penalties alone, not including forward movement called back.
“Anytime you’re playing someone that young, you have to find a way to win with veteran guys,” said Babers. “There were some penalties out there from some veteran guys that I’m not happy with.”
Despite the loss, the Orange showed promise in some aspects of the game. SU’s defense was able to hold back Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who had three passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns coming into Saturday’s contest. Still, the Orange will need more than just a strong defensive showing if they want to win more than one game this season.
“Just keep fighting and keep preparing in that we just need to keep preparing harder and harder because we’re not getting the result we want,” said Garrett Williams. “We shouldn’t ever get comfortable losing regardless of how hard or how good we play because that’s not the standard here.”
The Orange return to the road in two weeks, traveling to Louisville to take on the Cardinals on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 at 7 p.m.