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By The Numbers: How SU Righted Its Ship Against BC, 32-23

Credit Mark Stockwell/AP PHOTO

For the third time in the last seven years, Syracuse football just ended a regular season with a victory over Boston College. This time, SU had to work deep into the fourth quarter to overcome the woeful Eagles and to end its regular season 7-5 – the program’s first winning season since 2018. Before we take a look toward bowl season, let’s break down some of the numbers that helped the ‘Cuse get past BC.


For most of the evening, Syracuse looked primed to lose its sixth game in a row to end the year and join a select club of 6-0 to 6-6 sufferers. Only 2011 Illinois and 2016 Baylor had ever pulled off the feat at the FBS level, but SU staved off the ghosts of ultimate collapse with a 26-point fourth quarter explosion. The Orange trailed 17-6 with 12:58 to go in the game, but launched an 11-point comeback to prevail by nine. Only a last second feel-good touchdown to get BC wideout Zay Flowers some additional program records prevented a larger margin of victory.

The 26 points scored by SU in its final period marked the most for an Orange squad since Dino Babers’ first season in 2016. That year, Syracuse traveled down to Pitt in its season finale and lost a game so noteworthy that it has its own Wikipedia page. In a 76-61 (!) drag race, SU laid on 27 points in the fourth quarter but still couldn’t catch up to the Panthers’ future NFL tandem in quarterback Nathan Peterman and running back James Conner.


Part of the reason Syracuse was behind by two scores in the fourth was due to a familiar and nagging issue. SU’s penalty problems have marred its entire season and Babers’ seven-year tenure. The Orange racked up 14 penalties for 91 yards against BC and finished with 105 on the regular season, good for most in the ACC, second-most of Babers’ SU career (107 in 2019), and the most of any FBS squad in a 131-team division. Yikes.

On a day when SU athletics embarrassed itself on more than one playing surface, Syracuse football threw tar on an otherwise positive win with some humiliating moments. From Enrique Cruz’s haymaker and ejection to ‘Cuse’s teamwide postgame flag incident, Babers’ squad was again cringeworthy with its lack of discipline. It’s an open question as to why things like this are still happening in Year 7 under Babers’ regime, but all he and the rest of Orange Nation can do now is hope penalty problems don’t ruin whatever bowl game the ‘Cuse draws.


On a lighter note, Syracuse’s offensive performance lit up the field for the second straight week. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s unit started slowly, but eventually came to life against a weak BC defense. Syracuse rolled up 443 total yards and achieved a rare feat of balance. Garrett Shrader threw for 285 yards, Sean Tucker ran for 125, and tight end/wide receiver Oronde Gadsden tacked on 106 receiving yards to lead the team. The game marked the first time in 1,162 days that Syracuse finished with a 280-plus yard passer, a 100-yard rusher, and a 100-yard receiver in the same game.

The last time SU showcased such a high level of balance came in 2019. In September of that year, SU blasted Western Michigan inside the Dome 52-33. Current Fighting Illini member Tommy DeVito finished 27-of-35 for 287 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Moe Neal dashed for 123 on the ground. Wideout Trishton Jackson rounded out the effort by scorching the Broncos for 141 yards and two receiving scores. 


Fittingly, Syracuse ended its year with a complete offensive performance in what was its best all-around offensive season in a decade. Garrett Shrader finished his regular season with 2,310 passing yards, and Sean Tucker ended with 1,060 for a combined 3,370 between the two in their respective major categories. Even with one game remaining, 2022 marks the first time since 2012 that an SU team has finished with a 2,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

2012 wasn’t just the heyday of Gangnam Style and the would-be end of the world – it marked a high-water mark for an SU football program that had suffered through roughly eight years of cellar-dweller football. In head coach Doug Marrone’s fourth season, the 2012 Orange finished 8-5 and smacked West Virginia 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl. Quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for a still-program record 3,749 yards, while running back Jerome Smith powered to a 1,171-yard season. Pretty good company for Shrader, Tucker, and Anae to keep 10 years later.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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