SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Terrel Hunt hit tight end Josh Parris with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining, and Syracuse stunned Boston College 34-31 on Saturday to become eligible for the postseason for the third time in four years.
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 was injured in the third quarter and did not return, finishing the game watching from the sidelines.
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.
Hunt hit Alvin Cornelius III for 14 yards before the winning TD.
BC quarterback Chase Rettig had provided BC with the go-ahead score with his legs, stunning the Orange with a 54-yard run. Rettig started left and cut completely back across the field before being tackled at the Syracuse 17. He then scored on a keeper with 7:49 left for a 28-24 lead.
Syracuse had taken a 24-21 lead on Ryan Norton's 42-yard field goal late in the third, and he added a 44-yarder with 5:03 remaining in the game.
Something had to give in this one. 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, who had nine 100-yard games and three straight 200-yard games coming in, finished with 29 yards on nine carries and scored once.
Hit hard repeatedly in the first half, Williams was hurt on a run up the middle on the first play of the third quarter in a big pileup that also sent Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill to the sidelines.
With their star in the locker room, the Eagles tied the game at 21-all. Rettig had scrambles of 16 and 13 yards to key the drive and hit Jake Sinkovec for a 9-yard TD.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, Syracuse benefited from great field position to score two straight times in the second quarter as the Orange defense repeatedly stuffed Williams. He was held to 24 yards on eight rushing attempts in the first half, and one of those carries was a 26-yard TD.
Despite getting pinned deep in his own territory after the BC defense had stopped Syracuse at the 2 on fourth down, Rettig engineered a 96-yard drive in just five plays to give BC a 7-0 lead. Standing on the back line of his own end zone, Rettig zipped a 15-yard pass over the middle to tight end C.J. Parsons and followed with a 55-yard completion to a wide-open Mike Naples over the middle on the next play.
Williams, held to a yard on his first four carries and thrown for losses on three of them by the fired-up Syracuse defense, then scored around the left side with 1:57 left in the first.
With their season on the line, the Orange scored the next three times they had the ball.
Syracuse finally broke through on its third trip inside the BC 20-yard line, and Hunt did the bulk of the work, rushing for 49 yards on six keepers. Facing a second-and-goal from the 1, Hunt faked a pitch left and hit wide-open Josh Parris in the right corner of the end zone to tie it at 7-7 early in the second.
Syracuse notched the first turnover of the game when linebacker Cameron Lynch intercepted a Rettig pass at midfield, and George Morris scored on a 4-yard run with 6:12 left for a 14-7 lead.
A shanked punt by Freese gave Syracuse the ball at midfield again, and Hunt guided them to a touchdown in nine plays. Hunt hit Jeremiah Kobena with a 17-yard pass and Durell Eskridge, the Orange's starting free saftey, for 19 more on a third-and-10 play before scoring on a 1-yard run and a 21-7 lead with 70 seconds left.
With Williams struggling, Rettig worked his magic again, rolling right and hitting Alex Amidon for 52 yards down the left side. The play worked once, so might as well try it again. On the next play, Rettig hit Parsons with a throwback left for a 9-yard TD to move the Eagles within 21-14 at halftime.