CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Syracuse left Boston College with thoughts of what might have been in their final Big East Conference meeting.
Diamond Ferri had three touchdowns, including an interception return in the closing minutes, to lift the Orange to a 43-17 upset of No. 19 Boston College, denying the Eagles their first conference championship in their final season in the Big East.
"In the history of the B.C. program, this could be their biggest game, and to come here and win the game the way we won is very special," embattled Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.
With Boston College (8-3, 4-2 Big East) needing a win to wrap its only league title before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, Syracuse (6-5, 4-2) came out the team with something to prove.
"We are not going to play anyone from the Big East again," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "After what we've been through, it has been a tough year and a half, everything said and unsaid.
"The animosity towards (Boston College) was not very good."
Beginning with the first play from scrimmage - a 69-yard touchdown run by Damien Rhodes - the Orange dominated the action, taking a 24-3 lead until the Eagles returned a blocked punt for a score with 31 seconds left before halftime.
The win created a four-way tie between Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Boston College atop the conference standings. The Orange have to hope for a Pitt loss at South Florida next weekend to earn the league's BCS bowl bid.
"Had we not lost to Temple, we would have been playing for a championship," Ferri said. "If you can't get the championship, why not get a piece of it?"
Ferri, who was thrown into an offensive role due to injuries to Walter Reyes and Rhodes, finished with 141 rushing yards on 28 carries, including a four-yard TD that gave the Orange a 21-3 lead 4:38 into the second quarter. On defense, the senior cornerback, who grew up in the Boston area, had six tackles and an interception return of 44 yards that killed the Eagles' comeback hopes with 5:08 left.
"You saw a kid that loves football and is someone who is the true definition of a football player," Pasqualoni said. "It was a special thing that happened today."
"I couldn't find a better way to end it," Ferri said about his senior season.
Playing both ways for the first time this season, Ferri needed to get two IVs at the half due to cramps.
Rhodes ran for 113 yards on eight carries in the first half before leaving with a leg injury for Syracuse, which finished with 309 net rushing yards.
"I never expected that we would never stop them," said O'Brien about Syracuse's offensive performance.
Quarterback Perry Patterson added 50 rushing yards with a five-yard TD in the fourth for the Orange, who improved to 28-17 all time against the Eagles.
Redshirt freshman Matthew Ryan, who was forced to make his first start at quarterback for Boston College due to an injury last week to Paul Peterson, completed 24-of-51 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Despite the devastating loss, the Eagles still are expected to receive a bowl invitation.
"We're 8-3," Eagles athletic director Gene DeFilippio said. "We're going someplace."