SYRACUSE, NY - It's never fun getting up at 4 a.m. for any reason, but when it's for a Boston College football game in Syracuse, it's totally worth it.
After driving for nearly five hours, with a few pit stops along the way, I've arrived at the Carrier Dome for today's regular season finale featuring the Boston College Eagles and the Syracuse Orange.
Both teams are bowl eligible entering today's finale, with Boston College coming in at 6-5 overall (4-4 ACC) and Syracuse at 7-4 overall (4-3 Big East).
The Eagles are coming off of a 17-13 win over Virginia last Saturday that made them bowl eligible for the 12th consecutive season.
Syracuse didn't enjoy a similar fortune last week, losing 26-3 to Big East rival Connecticut. The loss bumped the Orange into third place in the Big East, dashing their hopes of a first-place finish in the conference.
The story of the game for Boston College today is freshman running back Andre Williams, who will be starting in place of junior tailback Montel Harris after he injured his left knee on the final play of the third quarter last Saturday.
Harris finished with 114 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries before leaving prior to the fourth quarter against Virginia. He exited in second place on the Eagles' all-time rushing list with 3,600 yards. This season, Harris has collected 1,278 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 269 carries for Boston College.
As for Williams, he has a career total of 210 rushing yards on 34 carries in 10 games this season. Williams burst onto the scene last week against Virginia, rushing for 108 yards on 12 carries, including a 59-yard scramble that set up Harris' only touchdown of the game.
It will be very interesting to see how Williams responds to the challenge in the Eagles' final regular season game. Harris' status for a bowl game is unknown, as he had arthroscopic surgery on Monday.
Boston College and Syracuse haven't met since 2004 when the Orange steamrolled the Eagles 43-17 at Alumni Stadium. The game was Boston College's last as a member of the Big East, as it moved to the ACC the following season.
Saturday's game marks the 46th time the two schools have faced off. Syracuse leads the all-time series against Boston College 28-17. It is the second longest series in Boston College football history, as the Eagles have only played more games against Villanova.