One more regular season game. Imagine people saying that with a sigh of relief after the Orange finished off their magical 6-0 run to start the season. Oh, how things have changed. SU has limped to its regular season finale with five consecutive defeats, only worsening Dino Babers’ horrific record in November.
To make matters worse, Syracuse has to play in unfamiliar conditions this weekend when it visits Boston College. The forecast predicts it will be dipping into the mid-to-low 40s in Chestnut Hill by kickoff Saturday night. That doesn’t bode well for an Orange squad used to playing inside the Dome. The good news? The Eagles don’t exactly pose a big challenge.
For a minute there, it looked like QB Phil Jurkovec might hoist himself into the class of BC quarterbacks that includes Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan. Not so fast. Following a putrid start to the season that has led the Eagles to a 3-8 record, the only class Jurkovec finds himself is with Dwight Howard for being incredibly salty towards his former team (check out Jurkovec’s most recent Instagram post). The sad thing is, this was a huge step back. Boston College had been bowl eligible for six consecutive seasons prior to this one.
HEAD COACH JEFF HAFLEY
Last December, Hafley joined a Boston sports talk radio show as a guest and proclaimed that times were exciting in Chestnut Hill. At the time, he was right. Last year’s Eagles squad was ravaged with injuries and Hafley still managed to get them to a bowl game (that was eventually cancelled due to COVID). His background shows why. Hafley spent seven years in the NFL as an assistant coach before jumping back to the college game as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator in 2019. Needless to say, he’s been around the block. This is the first bad season he’s had as a head coach, which is going to make it interesting to see how BC performs next year. Additionally, Hafley has split his head coaching duels with Babers, though both have been in Central New York.
QB EMMETT MOREHEAD
Morehead took over for the aforementioned Jurkovec at the start of November, and honestly didn’t look too shabby at the beginning. The Woodside, CA native threw for 330 yards on the nose in his first two starts, but barely eclipsed the century mark in a 44-0 loss to Notre Dame last week. That inconsistency along with the fact that he is a redshirt freshman makes it a little difficult to gauge Morehead. But Jordan Travis and Sam Hartman both torched the Orange defense the last few weeks, so Morehead has a blueprint in front of him.
WR ZAY FLOWERS
In a season full of bad for Boston College, Flowers has been very very good. The Fort Lauderdale native needs just 33 receiving yards on Saturday to hit 1,000 for the first time in his collegiate career. Flowers has four 100-yard receiving games and 10 touchdowns this season. He has been a model of consistency for Boston College this year, and it’s no coincidence he’s found paydirt in all three of the Eagles’ wins this year.
DE DONOVAN EZEIRUAKU
In a time when Syracuse’s offensive line draws perhaps more ire than any other position group from Orange fans, it feels fitting to talk about another menacing defensive lineman. Ezeiruaka has 11.5 tackles for loss along with six sacks, both of which lead the Eagles. Keep the ball away from the Williamstown, NJ native too, as he’s got three forced fumbles this season. We talked about guys like Jared Verse and Ryan Smenda Jr. the past few weeks. Ezeiruaka is the next of that group SU’s offensive line has to deal with.
DB ELIJAH JONES
Jones’ ability to disrupt passes is something else. The Harlem native is tied for the ACC lead in pass breakups, and if you include interceptions in that category he is the conference leader. Jones doesn’t really slack off either. The senior has a pass breakup in each of the Eagles’ last nine contests. That is some consistency. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen Oronde Gadsden become less effective in the SU offense because defenses are focusing on him. Now he has to deal with one of the top defensive backs in the ACC.
This game marks the ending of what has been a painful second half of the season. On paper, SU should win this game. But we would be fools to consider it a lock considering Babers’ November record. Oh yeah, it’ll be Senior Night in Chestnut Hill too.