SYRACUSE It took until the final offensive play of the season, but the Syracuse University football team put itself in line for a bowl berth for the third time in four years.
SU quarterback Terrel Hunt found Josh Parris for an eight-yard touchdown with six seconds left to complete a dramatic, 34-31 comeback victory over Boston College on Saturday in front of an energetic Carrier Dome crowd of 37,406.
The Orange finished the regular season 6-6 overall and 4-4 in its first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference and will wait for bowl pairings to start being released next Sunday.
Our creed has always been that character wins out and we will never, ever, ever give up. Never, said Scott Shafer, the first rookie head coach to lead SU to a bowl game since Paul Pasqualoni in 1991.
Well never give up. I dont care if its Florida State where we got our butts kicked or Clemson where we let ourselves down. We never quit.
With the Orange trailing 31-27, Hunt led an eight-play, 75-yard drive in 2 minutes, 2 seconds before finding Parris in the end zone.
Obviously they played their hearts out today, said BC coach and former SU assistant Steve Addazio, whose team dropped to 7-5, 4-4. We cant let a team go down for 75 yards, we cant let that happen. We have to make them get off the field. We have to make a play, thats what it is.
Hunts game-winning throw capped off the first fourth-quarter comeback of the sophomores career.
He threw an interception on the second play of the Oranges previous drive.
I was really just playing in the moment, said Hunt, who completed 29-of-43 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, adding 90 yards and a score on the ground.
I wasnt thinking about the time or the down. That pick kind of messed with me, but (backup quarterback) Charley (Loeb) and a bunch of the other guys said Hey. Youre going to go win this one. So, you just keep playing.
Senior center Macky MacPherson recovered a fumble by Hunt to keep the game-winning drive alive.
I was about ready to collapse, I can tell you that much, MacPherson said. It was a hard-fought game and to be honest with you, I think thats one of the top five Syracuse games ever played at the Dome. Ive been watching games here a while and to go out like that, Id say thats going out with a bang.
SU senior linebacker Marquis Spruill added: I think I just went blank. I was jumping, running around, screaming, and I probably said some other stuff. But I was very excited, very happy, because I love this team Theres something different about this team, were closer. And I just wanted a little more time with them.
Boston College running back Andre Williams, who was the nations leading rusher and had eclipsed the 200-yard mark in each of the last four games, was held to a season-low 29 yards on nine attempts.
He was injured on BCs opening drive of the second half and did not return.
SU and Ohio State are the only two teams in the nation that have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher.
The 200-yard games, we knew that. Second in the Heisman, we knew all those things, senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley said of Williams.
We wish the best for him but when you come into the Carrier Dome youre not going to win a Heisman on us. Thats how we looked at it as a defense and we took that personally.
SU drove to within the BC 10-yard line on its first two drives and came up empty with a missed field goal of 30 yards, and a turnover on downs at the two-yard line.
SU kicker Ryan Norton made field goals of 42 and 44 yards in the second half, setting career longs on each kick.
Parris caught a one-yard touchdown from Hunt in the second quarter, the first of his career.
Freshman running back George Morris II also scored his first career touchdown for the Orange on a four-yard run in the second quarter that put his team up 14-7.
All I can think about now is that I get another opportunity to play, MacPherson said. I dont care who we play or where, we can play in Alaska for all I care. I just want to go out there and play one more game.