Syracuse Beats Boston College in Scott Shafer's Final Game

Nov 28, 2015

Credit Michael Burke/WAER Sports

As time expired, Cole Murphy's 35-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights, clinching a 20-17 victory for Syracuse over Boston College at the Carrier Dome on Saturday. The Orange stormed the field, but head coach Scott Shafer -- coaching his final game at Syracuse -- stood on the sideline and didn't move for a moment.

Then, offensive lineman Rob Trudo grabbed Shafer and hugged him. Not long after that, Trudo and fellow offensive lineman Nick Robinson lifted Shafer atop their shoulders and carried him around the field. While they did that, chants of "Thank you, Shafer" rang through the Carrier Dome and Shafer began to cry.

Then, he walked off the field for the final time as SU's head coach. With the win, the Orange finish at 4-8 on the season and Shafer finishes 14-23 in his tenure as Syracuse head coach. SU beat Boston College thanks to a stingy defensive effort and a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

Credit Jay Alter/WAER Sports

In the first quarter, Syracuse quarterback Zack Mahoney fumbled at SU's own 32-yard line and Boston College picked it up at the Orange's 33-yard line. The Eagles promptly took the ball 33 yards on four plays for a touchdown to grab a 7-0 lead, capping the drive when Tyler Rouse found the end zone from a yard out.

Syracuse answered with a seven-play, 65-yard touchdown drive of its own on the ensuing possession to tie the score at 7-7. Mahoney found Philips for a two-yard score. Later in the quarter, SU tacked on a field goal to grab a 10-7 lead before halftime.

In the second half, Mahoney hit Steve Ishmael for a two-yard touchdown strike to put Syracuse up 17-7. Boston College would come back to tie the game, though, after a two-play, 62-yard touchdown drive and a 43-yard game-tying field goal off the foot of Colton Lichtenberg. 

Syracuse got the ball back with less than three minutes remaining, but that was enough time for Mahoney to get the Orange in field goal range. He drove 51 yards on 10 plays, a drive highlighted by a third-down conversion from SU's own 44-yard line. On that play, Mahoney scrambled around before finding Philips for a first down. Syracuse ran the clock down to three seconds and Shafer trusted kicker Cole Murphy's foot to win the game. That paid off, as Murphy drilled a 35-yard field goal after Boston College called consecutive timeouts in an attempt to ice the kicker.

In the win, Syracuse's defense stood out. It held Boston College to just 239 yards of total offense. The Orange were especially successful against the Eagles pass attack. They held BC quarterback Jeff Smith to only one completion for nine yards, and he didn't register that completion until halfway through the quarterback. He was also picked off twice by SU.

Not long after the game, an emotional Scott Shafer stepped to the podium in the media room. He congratulated the team's seniors for a senior day victory and thanked his family, coaching staff, players and the soldiers at Fort Drum, where the Orange held a week of training camp each season. Then, Shafer stepped away from the podium and left the press room. And with that, his career at Syracuse was over.