SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)Boston College coach Steve Addazio likes to play old-school football, and his Eagles gave Syracuse a big taste of it.
AJ Dillon and David Bailey combined for 414 yards rushing and five touchdowns, Dennis Grosel passed for 195 yards and three more scores, and Boston College blew past Syracuse 58-27 on Saturday , the Orange’s fourth straight loss.
BC (5-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) set a school record with 691 yards offensively, averaging 9.2 yards per play, and the Eagles’ 496 yards rushing were the most ever allowed by the Orange and just 22 yards off BC’s school record set 46 years ago against UMass.
”When you can do what we do like we did it, that’s overwhelming for a defense,” Addazio said. ”First of all, we move at a pretty good clip, and what happens on the other side, your DBs, your safeties, they’re taking a beating, they’re tackling 250-pound backs, and if you can stay on the field, you start to wear them down. They start creeping in the box, they start abandoning their coverage and then you’re hitting them on play-actions.”
Dillon, who scored three touchdowns, rushed for 242 yards on 35 carries to boost his season total to 1,286. He entered the game ranked fourth nationally in rushing yards and rushing yards per game (130.5) for a unit that was averaging 255.6. Bailey added a career-high 172 yards rushing on 16 carries as the bruising backs – Dillon weighs 250 and Bailey 240 – had their way.
”I always want to be the guy, not in a cocky way or in an ego way,” Dillon said. ”But I feel comfortable with my teammates and my coaches knowing that if we need to get a score you can put the ball in my hands and I’ll do everything I can to get that.”
Boston College, which had dropped three of four, stunned the Orange with big play after big play in the decisive second quarter, racking up 294 yards and scoring 34 points.
”We came in here with the focus on making sure we took care of our individual business,” Dillon said. ”I know me and David go out there with the mindset that we’re the best player on the field.”
Grosel started the carnage with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Kobay White on the first play of the second quarter to tie the game at 17-all. Using the play-action pass to attack a defense braced for the Eagles’ staunch run game, Grosel then hit Zay Flowers for a 50-yard score after Andre Szmyt’s 20-yard field goal had given the Orange (3-6, 0-5) their last lead in the game.
Both White and Flowers were wide-open behind a confused secondary, and then Dillon ripped off a 51-yard run, going untouched through the left side of the line and breaking free. Bailey followed with a 74-yard run and Grosel hit Isaiah Miranda for a 4-yard touchdown in the final minute for a 44-20 halftime lead.
”We keep pounding and pounding,” Bailey said. ”Most defenses, you know, start arm-tackling. If we keep pounding and pounding, the defense will wear down.”
BC outgained Syracuse 484-196 in the opening half, 336 of that on the ground, to easily overcome two lost fumbles.
”Going into a bye after a loss like this is difficult,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. ”I’m not going to lie and sit up here and try to paint it a different way. We’re going to find out something about ourselves.”
Tommy DeVito hit Aaron Hackett and Trishton Jackson with touchdown passes for the Orange in the first quarter, Jackson’s 26-yard catch giving the Orange a 17-10 lead in the final minute. Jackson also had an 85-yard touchdown reception late in the third.
Boston College: The Eagles host Florida State next week. With Dillon and Bailey operating at a high level in the backfield and Grosel efficient under center – he was 8 of 10 passing – the Eagles need just one win to qualify for a bowl game.
Syracuse: The injury-plagued Orange get a much-needed bye week to try to get healthier before playing their last two road games of the season in succession, at Duke and Louisville. Achieving six wins to qualify for the postseason seems a longshot at best for the only team in the ACC without a conference win.
”We’ve got to find something to hang our hat on,” Babers said. ”Going into a bye after a loss like this is difficult, I’m not going to lie.”
Syracuse entered the game with 11 turnovers on the season and had not committed one in 242 offensive plays, including 172 pass attempts. The spotless span included the previous three games, the best streak since Babers took over four years ago. The streak ended when DeVito lost a fumble late in the second quarter.
The Eagles won the toss and drove 71 yards in 13 plays, taking a 3-0 lead on Aaron Boumerhi’s 21-yard field goal. The Orange came right back on their first possession, with DeVito hitting tight end Aaron Hackett for a 9-yard score. That gave the Orange a 7-3 lead and was the first lead change in a Syracuse game this season. There were three more before BC took charge.
Boston College hosts Florida State next Saturday at noon.
Syracuse has a bye week before traveling to Duke on Nov. 16.
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