There are several reasons why the Boston College (4-4, 0-4) season is heading in the wrong direction. Some of those flaws showed up last Saturday at Syracuse. Inconsistent quarterback play of late led coach Jeff Haffley to split the duties in this game. Neither Dennis Grosel nor freshman Emmett Morehead did enough in the dome to quiet those concerns. Maybe the most alarming part of the game was watching the Eagles get pushed around at the point of attack. The offensive line and especially the front seven on defense had a difficult time doing their jobs. These flaws that have all of a sudden become hard to understand must be fixed and in a hurry. To be fair, the offensive line did lose Tyler Vrabel to injury in the first quarter. The line shuffling that took place because of the injury did not help the offense get untracked. On defense, they were up against the nation’s leading rusher in Sean Tucker (207 yards a career-high, and a score). But this unit got taken to school by a Syracuse offensive line that some say is slightly above-average.
On offense, to simply put it, the Eagles could not move the ball. The two quarterbacks combined to throw for 180 yards and the run game was not much better gaining only 71 yards for the game. BC’s best weapon was their placekicker Connor Lyfton who scored all of the Eagles points on two field goals, one in the second quarter (49 yards), and in the third quarter (24 yards). With just under eight minutes to play in the third, Boston College had a 6-0 lead. Then the roof collapsed on them. Three straight Syracuse scores, a Tucker 51 yard touchdown run, quarterback Garrett Shrader’s 48-yard run to the house, and a punt return for a score by Courtney Jackson that went for 64 yards. All of that had the Eagles down 21-6 and in big trouble.
Despite being down only 15 points with a whole quarter to go, it never looked or felt like the Eagles could get back in the game. This is where the quarterback play, or lack of it, is becoming a real problem for Boston College. Grosel was 9-of-17 for 93 yards and he was sacked once. Morehead was 6-of-15 for 87 yards and he was sacked four times by the Orange defense in his first game action as an Eagle. The offensive line could not give either single-caller a clean pocket to work with, and thus putting drives together never happened. The only good news for the offense was Zay Flowers having another 100-yard receiving day (six catches for 116 yards). Other than that, not much else took place.
On defense, the Syracuse offensive line was the story as they controlled the point of attack all game long. Both Tucker and Shrader had big days running the ball. Shrader went for 120 yards on the day to go along with Tucker’s 207 yards. They averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 47 runs. Shrader never needed to put the ball in the air as he attempted only 14 passes and completed just five for 65 yards. On this day, the Orange were able to run the ball down BC’s throat and pick up their fifth win of the season.
It does not get any easier for Boston College. They have a short week to prepare for a Friday night home game vs Virginia Tech. A team that in the past has given BC all kinds of problems. Not to mention a short amount of time to fix what is ailing this team at the present time. Not that long ago, this team was 4-0 and feeling pretty good about themselves. Now, not so much. Let’s see how the coaching staff handles their first real crisis since taking this program over. A bowl game is still in front of them, but not if these problems cannot be fixed.