Boston College became bowl eligible last week and now has a chance to clinch a winning campaign when it visits ACC rival Syracuse on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Eagles have won four out of five overall after a 39-16 victory over Connecticut at Fenway Park, once again riding the powerful legs of running back AJ Dillon.
The freshman ran for 200 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns, and he enters the week 48 yards behind Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson for the ACC lead. Since their stunning upset of Clemson, the Orange have dropped four games in a row and were embarrassed by Jackson and company in a 56-10 loss to the Cardinals last Saturday. Star quarterback Eric Dungey missed his second straight game with a foot injury and the junior - who has thrown for 14 TDs and still leads Syracuse in rushing yards (595) - is not expected to get any action in the finale. “I would like to see if he could or he couldn’t, but I wouldn’t bet that he would (play),” coach Dino Babers told reporters.
TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: Boston College -3.5
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (6-5, 3-4 ACC): The Eagles have some quarterback questions of their own after senior Darius Wade - who was starting in place of the injured Anthony Brown - was limited to 55 yards passing on 15 attempts at Fenway, although the team recognizes that the dominant ground game had plenty to do with that. “Really proud of Darius,” coach Steve Addazio told reporters. “He played well, made some big plays, managed the game well, did some really good things. That was a week for him to get back and get all the reps.” Freshman EJ Perry, a dual threat that should challenge Brown for playing time down the road, made his collegiate debut against UConn and is expected to share practice reps with Wade this week, according to Addazio.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (4-7, 2-5): Senior Zack Mahoney threw for 384 yards and three scores in a loss to Wake Forest on Nov. 11 but sputtered against Louisville, completing 5-of-15 passes and tossing a pair of interceptions. Redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper also threw two picks among his 19 pass attempts and Barber indicated both should see action in the finale. The defense has given up 1,461 combined yards the last two games.
1. Dillon needs 27 rushing yards to surpass Darren Evans (1,265 with Virginia Tech in 2008) and move into second place in ACC history among freshman.
2. Orange WR Steve Ishmael needs 25 receiving yards to eclipse Marvin Harrison’s career record (2,728) at the school.
3. Syracuse leads the all-time series 31-19, including a 28-20 triumph in Chestnut Hill last year.
PREDICTION: Boston College 35, Syracuse 27