BC beats Syracuse in regular season finale, 28-7
Nov. 29, 2014
BOSTON (AP) — Tyler Murphy even surprised himself how well he ran this season.
Murphy set the Atlantic Coast Conference single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback and threw a TD pass to lead Boston College to a 28-7 win over Syracuse on Saturday.
Entering the season, Boston College was expecting to feature the running Murphy, a graduate transfer from Florida.
On Saturday, he completed a record year, carrying 11 carries for 20 yards, raising his total to 1,079 for the season. Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler held the previous mark with 1,061 yards, set in 2001.
"It was a fun year. I definitely ran a lot more than I thought I would," Murphy said. "Yeah, I would definitely say I was surprised. I really didn't know what to expect coming into the season."
Tyler Rouse added a 42-yard scoring run and Jon Hilliman had a 7-yarder for the Eagles (7-5, 4-4 ACC), who are bowl-eligible for the second straight season under second-year coach Steve Addazio. It was also Boston College's second consecutive year with seven victories.
The Eagles had a three-year bowl drought before Addazio's hiring.
"Last year was great because it was the first time we were able to become bowl eligible and get there," Addazio said. "(This year), sure, we'd love to have nine wins right now, and that wouldn't have been a stretch."
Three of the Eagles' losses came down the final minute, one against No. 1 Florida State last week.
AJ Long had 4-yard TD run, but completed just 7 of 18 passes for 59 yards with a costly interception that led to a Boston College TD.
It was the fifth straight loss for Syracuse (3-9, 1-7).
"I'm not satisfied unless we're winning games," Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said when asked about the offense's development. "We have a lot of work to do with these kids. We're just trying to win football games."
Murphy completed 13 of 17 passes for 160 yards with no interceptions, but it was his legs that made the team's season.
He came to BC after being recruited by Addazio — then an assistant at Florida — to play for the Gators.
"It would have been unbelievable to see that guy play here for three, four years," Addazio said, before joking, "but that's my fault."
The Orange sputtered on offense most of the game, collecting just eight first downs and 128 total yards. BC had 302 total yards, 142 rushing.
"I didn't throw the ball well and didn't make good reads," Long said. "I had a lot of mental errors."
The Eagles marched in for a go-ahead score late in the first half when Murphy — off a well-designed play fake — hit Sherman Alston with a 26-yard TD pass with 1:10 to play. Murphy faked a handoff, stepped toward the line briefly before taking a step back and finding Alston wide-open in the right corner of the end zone, making it 14-7.
BC capitalized on linebacker Mike Strizak's interception of Long at Syracuse's 30 on the Orange's first possession of the second half. Three plays later, Hilliman's TD run made it 21-7.
Murphy set up the score with his record-breaking run around the left end, taking the ball to the 10.
Rouse's TD run put the game away — on his first carry of the day — with just under 9 minutes left.
Coming off the tough 20-17 loss at Florida State last Saturday, BC jumped ahead 7-0 when Myles Willis took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a score.
Syracuse tied it late in the opening quarter on Long's TD run off a read-option, taking it in around the right side.
At the end of the first quarter, BC celebrated the 30th anniversary of its 1984 team — infamous for the "Miracle in Miami" when Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie completed a TD pass on the game's final play to beat the Hurricanes.
Late in the first quarter, there was a brief melee in front of Syracuse's bench. Three Orange players were assessed personal fouls, including an ejection of defensive lineman Ryan Sloan. BC's players, including Murphy, started sprinting from their sidelines, but they were stopped by the coaches.
Flutie had held the school's career rushing record, gaining 939 yards in four seasons (1981-84).