SYRACUSE (AP) — Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt picked the perfect time to come of age.
With bowl eligibility on the line for the Orange, the sophomore capped a regular season that has been something of a struggle, hitting tight end Josh Parris with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining as Syracuse stunned Boston College 34-31 on Saturday.
Hunt was 29 of 43 for 270 yards and two touchdowns passing and rushed for 90 yards and another score, outgaining the Eagles by 1 yard.
Most importantly, he guided Syracuse 75 yards to the winning score moments after throwing an interception that sent many fans for the exits.
The victory made Syracuse eligible for the postseason for the third time in four years.
“This was my best game — ever,” said Hunt, who was beaten for the starting job in preseason by Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen. “To have a game like this and win a game for the seniors, it was amazing.”
The victory was oh-so-sweet for first-year coach Scott Shafer, who has had to juggle his lineup as injuries mounted. Parris, a redshirt freshman, stepped in for the injured Beckett Wales and caught seven passes for 47 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career.
Boston College (7-5, 4-4 ACC) had won four in a row behind star tailback Andre Williams, the nation’s leading rusher, but he suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return, finishing the game watching from the sidelines. Averaging 6.5 yards a carry coming in, Williams finished with 29 yards on nine carries and scored BC’s first TD on a 26-yard run in the first quarter.
“There was no letdown,” said BC tailback Myles Willis, who gained 70 yards on 17 carries in the second half. “They have confidence in me.”
It was a must-win game for Syracuse (6-6, 4-4 ACC), and Hunt provided the dramatic finish after the Eagles had settled for a field goal after a late turnover.
It was a tough loss for BC quarterback Chase Rettig, who rallied the Eagles after Williams went out. He passed for 168 yards and two scores and stunned Syracuse with his footwork, rushing for 85 yards and scoring once on only four carries.
Rettig had provided BC with the go-ahead score with his legs. He ripped off an impressive 54-yard run, starting left and cutting completely back across the field before being tackled at the Syracuse 17.
He scored on a keeper with 7:49 left.
Williams entered the game with 2,073 yards rushing and Syracuse was one of three FBS teams, along with Ohio State and Wisconsin, not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Williams had nine 100-yard games and three straight 200-yard games coming in.
Hit hard repeatedly in the first half, Williams was hurt on a run up the middle on the first play of the third quarter.
UNH romps in playoff opener
DURHAM — Jay Colbert notched three of the 15th-ranked University of New Hampshire football team’s season-high 10 sacks and R.J. Harris recorded eight catches for 173 yards and a touchdown in yesterday afternoon’s 45-7 NCAA first-round victory against Lafayette College at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which won for the seventh time in eight games to improve to 8-4 overall, advances to the second round, where it will meet fifth-seeded and No. 8 Maine (10-2) on Saturday, (2 p.m., ESPN3) at Alfond Stadium.
The Wildcats defeated the Black Bears, 24-3, at home Nov. 23 to retain the Brice-Cowell Musket and hand Maine its only CAA loss of the season.
Sean Goldrich went 15 for 30 for a season-high 267 yards and two touchdowns and added four rushes for 31 yards. Harris, who registered his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and 10th of his career, moved into fifth place on the University’s all-time receptions list (188).
The Wildcats rushed for 283 yards, led by a game-high and career-best 84 yards on six carries for Dalton Crossan.
The redshirt freshman, who compiled 131 all-purpose yards, scored on a 17-yard reception that staked the Wildcats to a 21-0 lead with 12 seconds left in the first quarter and a 56-yard rush with 8:30 left in the fourth that built the lead to 45-0.