Eagles Romp on Orange Senior Day

Eagles Romp on Orange Senior Day

Published on November 26, 2017

Story by Jude Allume 
Photos by Peter Benson

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange (4-8) lost its fifth straight game in blow out fashion to the Boston College Eagles (7-5) 42-14 at the Carrier Dome to end the season, Saturday afternoon.

“When you’re playing the type of team that we’re playing, you have to be able to exchange punches with them,” Orange head coach Dino Babers said. “What you saw was a boxer and a brawler and it’s a physical game. You get hit, you get hit, you got to hit back. It comes a point you get tired of doing it.”

The Start of a Long Day

From their first possession, the Eagles’ offense gave the Orange a taste of what would take place all day. With Boston College backup quarterback Darius Wade filling in for the injured Anthony Brown, the Eagles leaned heavily on their running attack. Running back AJ Dillon capped off the drive with a 22 yard touchdown run for the early 7-0 lead.

With Eric Dungey out for the third straight week, redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper got the start and the Orange responded with a scoring drive of its own. After a kick out of bounds gave Syracuse possession with good field position, the Orange picked up three first downs before the drive was capped off by a 37 yard catch and run by Steve Ishmael to even the score at 7.

That was the closest Syracuse would get for the remainder of the day however, as the Eagles went on to score rushing touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, building up a 21-7 lead halfway through the second quarter.

Have a Day, AJ

The Orange had no answers for the Eagles’ running game. True freshman AJ Dillon led the BC running attack with three touchdowns and 196 yards. The Eagles finished the game with 333 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Bright Spot for the Orange

Steve Ishmael had the best game of his collegiate career, finishing with 11 receptions for a career high 187 yards and one touchdown. Ishmael broke two school records with his performance, surpassing the single-season receptions record of 94 catches and career receiving yards record of 2,728 yards. On the season Ishmael has 105 catches for 1,347 yards, good for second and third in the NCAA respectively.

Tough Goodbye for the Seniors

The loss was not the preferred way to end the season for the Orange, especially for the seniors who played their final game for Syracuse and for some, possibly the last game of their careers.

“When a football player retires from college, there’s nowhere to go,” Babers said. “Twenty-two guys aren’t playing in the park with pads.”

Instead of letting the loss sting as the final memory of a long season, with five seconds remaining in the game, Babers called timeout. One by one, he called off the seniors on defense including Zaire Franklin and Parris Bennett and embraced them as they walked off the field to the cheers of those left in the crowd.

“I was very surprised,” Bennett said. “I definitely appreciated it though. Definitely very emotional. You don’t really realize it’s your last game at the Dome until it’s over with.”

What’s Next

Boston College completed its regular season at 7-5 and awaits an invitation to a bowl game.

Syracuse finishes the season at 4-8 for the third straight year and fails to qualify for a bowl game for the fourth straight year.