Big East: Orange takes BC out of BCS

Associated Press
Published November 28, 2004

BOSTON - If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

Syracuse wasn't able to follow Boston College to the ACC or stop the Eagles from leaving the Big East. The one thing the Orange could do was deprive BC of a spot in the BCS and a farewell Big East title.

"We heard it all week," said defensive back turned running back Diamond Ferri, who scored two touchdowns on offense and one on defense to help Syracuse beat Boston College 43-17 on Saturday. "If they want to leave the conference, we wanted to send them out with a loss."

BC needed a victory for its first outright championship in a league depleted by the defections of Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC.

Damien Rhodes ran for a 69-yard touchdown on the first play and 107 yards in all before leaving with a leg injury. With star tailback Walter Reyes already injured, the Orange turned to Ferri, a starting safety and former high school running back.

"That's probably one of the biggest performances I've ever seen in my entire life, in any sport, to be able to come in and play big-time college football like that," Rhodes said of his understudy.

The Orange, who woke up Saturday morning ineligible for a bowl, moved into a four-way tie with BC, Pittsburgh and West Virginia for first place in the conference.

Syracuse has a chance at a BCS game if Pittsburgh loses to South Florida next weekend; if Pitt wins it likely would earn a Fiesta Bowl matchup with Utah.

"It gives us a share of the Big East championship. We've had a lot of special things that have happened here, but it's pretty special," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "I'm just going to enjoy that we're bowl eligible."

BC was playing without quarterback Paul Peterson, who broke his right hand in last weekend's victory over Temple. Freshman Matt Ryan was 24-for-51 for 200 yards with three interceptions and several early dropped passes. BC mustered little offense and fell behind 24-3 before scoring on a blocked punt in the final minute of the first half.