Syracuse bowl eligible after beating Eagles

The odds were stacked against the Orange in their Saturday afternoon matchup against No. 21 Boston College.

Already without star tailback Walter Reyes, who was out with a torn shoulder muscle, Syracuse also lost understudy Damien Rhodes to a leg injury early in Saturday's game.

With a paucity of options, the Orange turned to starting strong safety Diamond Ferri, who took over at tailback and ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns, as Syracuse upset the Eagles 43-17 and became bowl eligible. It was Ferri's afternoon as he also added a 44-yard touchdown on an interception. It was a sweet homecoming for the Syracuse star, who hails from nearby Everett, Mass.

For Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East), it was a form of revenge after Boston College (8-3, 4-2) announced earlier this year that it would be headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference, joining former Big East schools Miami and Virginia Tech in the conference.

With the loss, the Eagles were eliminated from a Bowl Championship Series game. Had Boston College won, it would've won the Big East outright and likely would've played Utah in the Fiesta Bowl.

Instead, it could be the Orange who ends up with a BCS bid. Syracuse, who started the game ineligible for any bowl game, moved into a four-way tie for first in the Big East along with Boston College, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Should Pittsburgh lose to South Florida next week, Syracuse could find itself in a BCS game. Otherwise, Pittsburgh will be the Big East representative.

The Orange got started early as Rhodes took a handoff on the first play from scrimmage and went virtually untouched for a 69-yard touchdown. The junior would finish with 107 yards before leaving with a leg injury.

Boston College kicker Ryan Ohliger would add a field goal before Ferri scored from seven and four yards to give Syracuse a commanding 21-3 lead with 10:18 left in the first half.

The Eagles, listless for much of the first half, would get a surge when they blocked Brendan Carney's punt toward the end of the second quarter. DeJuan Tribble rumbled in from 47 yards out to pull the Eagles to within 11.

But Boston College couldn't build on its momentum, having trouble offensively all afternoon. Freshman Matt Ryan, filling in for starter Paul Peterson (right hand), was the victim of early dropped passes, and threw several questionable passes under pressure.

Ryan's biggest mistake came in the fourth quarter with the Eagles trailing by 13. He unleashed a pass that Ferri intercepted and returned for a touchdown, all but ending the game. Ryan finished with 200 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three interceptions.

His counterpart, Perry Patterson, rushed for the game's final touchdown and added 88 yards through the air on 9-for-16 passing.

Many predicted that this could be Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni's final regular season game at Syracuse regardless of what happened. Earlier this month, one of Pasqualoni's top supporters, athletics director Jake Crouthamel announced that he would retire this spring.

Also, the Orange has struggled in the past two years. Last year, Syracuse went 6-6 and the year before that, 4-8.

Needless to say, the win complicates that. Pasqualoni has one year left on his contract.

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