Boston College sends Syracuse to fifth straight loss, 16-13

MARK FRANK

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Boston College had all it could handle from a one-win Syracuse team that had lost four straight. Eagles kicker Aaron Boumerhi helped keep the Orange at bay.

BC (5-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) was clinging to a 13-6 lead when Syracuse freshman running back Sean Tucker lost a fumble with about six minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The takeaway led to Boumerhi's 22-yard, game-clinching field goal in a 16-13 win Saturday over the Orange, (1-7, 1-6).

“It certainly was not our cleanest game and probably not our best when we go back and look at it, but we’re 5-3,” said Boston College coach Jeff Hafley. “I told the guys I don’t care what the score is. When we win a game I expect the music to be blaring and the guys to be enjoying each other.”

Zay Flowers caught a 20-yard touchdown pass just before halftime and Boumerhi also kicked field goals from 33 and 34 yards.

The Eagles held Syracuse to 240 yards total offense.

Flowers had six receptions for 64 yards and David Bailey gained 125 yards on 25 carries, his first 100-yard game of the season and the fourth of his career. Travis Levy chipped in with 73 yards on the ground and he caught four passes for 33 more.

Phil Jurkovec completed 20 of 29 passes for 208 yards, but the Eagles failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities throughout.

“This game showed signs of a good football team because this year a lot of times our offense scored a lot of points,” Hafley said. “It’s not always going to happen. You’re going to have games like this. It's great to see the defense step up and hold them the way they did to 13 points. That’s huge. The offense needed it.”

The Syracuse defense held the Eagles' passing game, third in the ACC at 268 yards a game, to 208 yards through the air.

“We have to be happy about every win, even though today was sloppy and it really wasn’t what we wanted offensively,” Jurkovec said,

“I thought our defense... to get stops and get field goals on some of those red zone things were big," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. "I thought they really did play well. We’ve just got to find a way to balance that out, get some first downs, keep them off the field. We’ve got to do better on offense.”

Syracuse freshman JaCobian Morgan was 19-of-30 passing for 188 yards with one interception and a 1-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hackett with 21 seconds remaining in his first career start for the Orange.

“It didn’t look like he (Morgan) was too rattled," Babers said. “I thought he made some plays, escaped some things, and he took a shot. Check the box. I thought it was decent.”

Taj Harris had seven receptions for 61 yards and Andre Szmyt hit on field goals from 35 and 46 yards for Syracuse.

Syracuse, which converted just 23% on third down entering the game, was successful on just three of 11 opportunities Saturday.

The game was tied at 3 when Jurkovec connected with Flowers in the left-hand corner of the end zone with just 24 seconds to go in the first half, giving the Eagles a 10-3 lead at intermission.

The game was a stark contrast from last year's game between the two East Coast rivals, a 58-27 Boston College win.

BELOW AVERAGE

Syracuse entered the game 90th out of 102 teams in scoring, averaging 19 points a game.

LOVING THE DOME

David Bailey's total was his second straight 100-yard effort in the Carrier Dome. Last year he rushed for 172 yards against the Orange.

GOOD FOR STARTERS

Morgan was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Orange since Eric Dungey in 2015.

THE TAKEAWAY

Boston College: After taking Clemson down to the wire a week earlier, the Eagles struggled mightily against an out-manned Syracuse team, not a great sign heading next week's matchup against Notre Dame.

Syracuse: The Orange hung tough against the Eagles and may have found their quarterback of the future in Morgan, who showed great poise, a good touch and an ability to extend plays.

“He did OK,” Babers said. "We need to all play better to make it easier on him.”

UP NEXT

Boston College: After a two-game road trip, the Eagles return home Saturday to host No. 4 Notre Dame.

Syracuse: The Orange have a much-needed bye before hitting the road to face Louisville Friday, Nov. 20.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25