SAME OLD STORY: SU edged by Williams, BC rushing attack in disappointing regular season finale

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 26, 2010 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Doug Marrone held up the stat sheet from Syracuse’s loss to Boston College Saturday. To the SU head coach, this sheet was a microcosm of the formula that has led to four straight home losses for the Orange. And the formula ends with one common thread. ‘We haven’t stopped people from running the football,’ Marrone said. Saturday, Syracuse failed to do so again. Time after time, in one crucial situation after another, Andre Williams exposed the recurring flaw in the Syracuse defense. Williams, Boston College’s freshman running back, led the Eagles’ offense. His methodical churning led to long drives and a huge time-of-possession advantage for BC. It all eventually led to a 16-7 Boston College victory.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text In its regular-season finale in front of 42,191 inside the Carrier Dome, Syracuse (7-5, 4-3 Big East) fell victim to a Boston College (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) rushing attack that was predicated on Williams. ‘You can’t win games,’ SU senior safety Max Suter said, ‘if you can’t stop them.’ With an offensive game plan similar to teams like Pittsburgh, Louisville and Connecticut before them, the Eagles rushed Williams at every chance and every situation. And he took on the challenge, carrying the ball an astounding 42 times for 185 yards and a touchdown. With Williams starting in place of injured ACC-leading rusher Montel Harris, BC didn’t miss a beat. Boston College only passed on 20 plays, while Williams, James McCluskey and quarterback Chase Rettig combined to rush 51 times. ‘We just got a little unbalanced,’ BC head coach Frank Spaziani said, ‘because of the situation of the game.’ A helpless defense against the run cost SU once again, much like when Louisville’s Jeremy Wright and Connecticut’s Jordan Todman were able to run all over the Orange in previous games this season. While BC marched down the field methodically in the first half with Williams, eating up clock and converting on five of its first seven third-down conversions, SU only chalked up 98 yards in the half. On its first drive of the game, Syracuse whipped up three quick plays that went 41 yards. From there, the drive stalled quickly. Subsequent drives came and went. Three plays, four yards. Three plays, eight yards. But that changed as soon as the Orange got the ball to open the second half. Twelve plays and 80 yards later, SU almost matched its entire first-half output. Syracuse converted on a crucial third-and-1 from the 11-yard line, as Antwon Bailey’s 4-yard rush proved to be the difference between a field goal and touchdown. Bailey would finish the job with a 5-yard run into the end zone. ‘That is the story of our season,’ SU quarterbacks coach and offensive playcaller Nathaniel Hackett said. ‘We get one perfect drive, and then all of a sudden things start breaking down.’ Immediately, SU’s defense couldn’t take advantage of the momentum. And things started to break down. The unit allowed a response from BC — a 10-play, 78-yard drive that included two third-down conversions. The drive was capped off by the second third-down conversion, as Williams barreled 1 yard into the end zone to give BC a 13-7 lead. The Eagles went 11-for-18 on third-down conversions in the game. ‘Yeah, I want to punch somebody when that happens,’ SU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer said of the frequent third-down conversions against his unit. And Boston College was able to convert four times on a drive that spanned the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters, setting up its final field goal to put the finishing touches on its win. On all three of those conversions, it was Williams or Rettig rushing up the middle. And on two of those conversions, Williams got the ball in third-and-long downs that he admitted were ‘usually not running situations.’ But BC ran Williams in any and every situation. On the drive that sealed the game, the common thread appeared again. The formula to beat Syracuse. The formula that was displayed on the stat sheet. It was a formula that Williams and the rest of the Eagles knew all too well. ‘We ran the same plays over and over again,’ Williams said. ‘They were wearing down at the end of the second quarter.’ [email protected]last_img

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