Boston College will play the University of Iowa in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. This was perhaps the most attractive option for which the Eagles were being considered — strong alumni presence, noted but not great team. Iowa defeated Ohio State 55-24 in early November, but finished the season 7-5, same record as BC.
It usually took this many Syracuse players to stop BC freshman A. J. Dillon. Photo by Charles Wainwright.
The Eagles ended their regular season with a 42-14 rout of Syracuse yesterday in the Carrier Dome. BC’s point total was its highest ever against the Orangemen, and the Eagles gained 581 yards in offense. Freshmen running back A. J. Dillon continued to shine, rushing for 193 yards on 23 carries and scoring 3 touchdowns, including a 22-yard score on his first carry.
It was about as easy a game as BC has had in a long time. While Syracuse gained more than 400 yards in the game, the Eagles limited the Orangemen to 2 touchdowns, both in the first half. BC scored twice in each of the first 2 quarters to lead 28-14 at the half, and then added a touchdown in each of the final 2 quarters.
Also scoring for the Eagles were Jeff Smith on a 64-yard run, Will Harris on a 30-yard run following a fumble recovery, and Travis Levy on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Darius Wade.
BC finishes the regular season with a 7-5 record, 4-4 in the ACC. The Eagles won 5 of their last 6 games. The 4 conference wins this season ties for the most in a season under coach Steve Addazio. The Eagles also won 4 in 2013 and 2014.
Dillon finished his regular season with a total of 1,432 yards, averaging 5.3 yards a carry. He’s the first freshman at BC to rush for more than 1,000 yards.
With 6+ wins, the Eagles qualify for a bowl game for the 4th time in 5 seasons. We will learn which bowl next Sunday, following the conference championship games. Clemson and Miami play for the ACC championship Saturday.
The University of Connecticut had never beaten Boston College in football. That status continues (BC is 12-0-2). Yesterday, hosting BC at Fenway Park, in front of 20,000 cold and wet fans, the Huskies gained more yards than the Eagles, possessed the ball longer, passed for 2 touchdowns of more than 40 yards, and still lost by 23 points, 39-16. Indeed, the Huskies’ 2 long touchdowns came in the last 6:31 of the game, after they had trailed 39-3.
BC’s win brings its season total to 6, which makes the Eagles bowl-eligible for the 4th time in coach Steve Addazio’s 5 seasons. BC is 6-5, 3-4 in ACC play, with one conference game to go. UConn fell to 3-8.
After the 1st quarter, during which UConn went up and down the field for more than 10 minutes, gaining 172 yards, the Huskies had only 3 points on a field goal. BC exploded for 33 points in the second and third quarters, mostly on the running of “the beast,” true freshman A.J. Dillon, who had a “monster” game. (Get the theme?)
Dillon added to his BC freshman rushing record, gaining 200 yards on 24 carries. His highlight was a 53-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter, when he dragged 4 UConn defenders into the endzone. He scored again on a 20-yard run in the third quarter. Junior Jon Hilliman gave Dillon, but certainly not the Huskies defense, a breather in the fourth quarter, gaining 107 yards on 10 carries and scoring once.
BC had only 64 offensive plays for the game for 385 yards. UConn gained 412 yards on 74 plays. The Eagles ran on 49 of their 64 plays, and on 22 of their 26 plays on first down. Passing, QB Darius Wade was 7 of 15 for 55 yards and a touchdown.
It was not a good day for BC’s erratic kicker, Colton Lichtenberg. The natural grass field, wet and windy conditions, and bad holds may have been factors, as Lichtenberg missed his one field goal attempt badly and also missed his last 3 point-after attempts.
San Diego Eagles at the UConn gamewatch.
BC finishes the regular season next Saturday at Syracuse. Game time 9:20 am PT.