Boston College (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) at Syracuse (4-4, 0-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Line: Syracuse by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Syracuse leads 34-22.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
This is the quintessential matchup of teams going in opposite directions. Boston College, winners of four straight, are a win away from being eligible for their first bowl berth since 2019. The Orange are trying to salvage their season following four straight lopsided losses. Syracuse needs two wins in its final four games to become bowl eligible for a second straight season. But that seems a tall order considering the way the team has been performing.
Plain and simple: Syracuse’s offensive line against the BC defense. If the Orange line can’t protect quarterback Garrett Shrader and open up running lanes for LeQuint Allen, it’s game over. Shrader was sacked a season-high eight times against Virginia Tech, and the offense managed minus-3 yards rushing and finished with 138 total yards. The offensive line must kick things up a notch, or else it will be a long night.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Shrader has looked uncomfortable in all of Syracuse’s losses. Whether it’s the result of poor offensive line play, a hit suffered against Clemson, or a recent bout with food poisoning, the senior quarterback needs to make things happen as he did against Purdue earlier this year. His performance against Virginia Tech marked the third straight game with fewer than 150 yards passing.
BC’s Thomas Castellanos is one of just four quarterbacks in the country with 1,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. He's also one of four FBS quarterbacks with multiple 100-yard rushing games and the only Power Five signal caller with multiple 100-yard rushing games. Castellanos leads the country in yards rushing by a quarterback at 673 and he’s tied with USC’s Caleb Williams for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with nine.
FACTS & FIGURES
Syracuse has defeated the Eagles the last two seasons. … The Orange have been outscored 150-34 in their last four games and have scored just two touchdowns during that streak. … Eagles cornerback Elijah Jones is tied for the ACC lead in pass break-ups (10) and three interceptions. … BC controlled the ball for more than 40 minutes in a 21-14 win over UConn last weekend, but had two turnovers and a missed field goal. … Kye Robichaux had his second straight 100-yard rushing game last week, finishing with 112 yards. … The Eagles run game ranks 10th nationally and first in the ACC, a huge improvement from a year ago when BC was last in both the FBS and ACC.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football