The Morning After: Orange beat Boston College 21-6

The Morning After: SU football beats Boston College

Our key takeaways from Syracuse's win over the Eagles.
Published: October 31, 2021
Syracuse Football vs Boston College
Garrett Shrader (16), Dakota Davis (57) and Airon Servais (68) celebrate Shrader's 48-yard rushing touchdown.

Sean Tucker rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown in Syracuse’s 21-6 win over Boston College on Saturday. It was the most productive week he’s had on the ground in an Orange jersey. He rushed for 24 more yards than his previous best: 181 yards against the Ohio Bobcats earlier this year.

After opening conference play with three straight losses, the Orange (5-4) have strung together consecutive ACC wins for the first time since November 2018. Syracuse would clinch a bowl berth for the first time since that same 2018 season by winning one of their three remaining matchups.

Sean Tucker is legitimately one of the best backs in the country:

Syracuse fans have known this, but Tucker’s performance on Saturday was as routine as getting up and brushing your teeth in the morning. It was his seventh consecutive game with 100 yards on the ground and his eighth this season. Tucker passed Floyd Little, Larry Csonka, and others to move into third all-time on SU’s single-season rushing leaderboard. His 1,267 rushing yards trail only Walter Reyes (1,347) and Joe Morris (1,372).

“It’s a good feeling,” Tucker said after Syracuse’s win against Boston College. “I definitely have to start by giving credit to my o-line. They opened up holes throughout the game, definitely more in the second half, and then getting me to the second level. A couple more games left so I’m definitely trying to finish off strong.”

Tucker deserves to be in the Heisman conversation right next to Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III, who commanded a 195-yard five touchdown afternoon that ended while Tucker was still barreling the Eagles. Tucker leads the nation in rushing yards, but that will likely change following Syracuse’s bye week.

Syracuse Beats Boston College 21-6
Courtney Jackson (85) scored the second touchdown of his Syracuse career on a 64-yard punt return in the third quarter.

Maybe, the offense isn’t as balanced as we thought…

Just a week ago, Garrett Shrader threw 236 yards, the highest output of his college career, against Virginia Tech. Against the Eagles on Saturday, Shrader completed just five of his 14 pass attempts for 65 yards.

SU’s identity has been the run game this season – Shrader rushed for 78 yards and a score against the Eagles on Saturday – but the Orange passing game continues to befuddle. Shrader’s 35.7% completion percentage was the lowest of any game he’s thrown 10 or more passes in this season.

The defense looked like itself again:

Shrader had to have a career game against Virginia Tech to make up for the uncharacteristic Orange defensive performance against the Hokies. Virginia Tech piled on 437 total yards and 36 points against Syracuse. SU couldn’t afford to replicate that performance against BC, who averaged 28 points and 371 yards per game leading up to their matchup against Syracuse.

The Orange prevented Boston College from crossing the goal line and held them to 251 yards of total offense. It was the second time this season SU prevented its opponent from scoring a touchdown after limiting Ohio to nine points in Week 1. Boston College scored a touchdown in all of its games before facing Syracuse on Saturday.

“I think back to the defense being able to keep those touchdowns off the board and keeping them to field goals and keeping us within reach, within hope of one quick strike,” head coach Dino Babers said.