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Hamstring issue has BC quarterback Patrick Towles day to day

BC quarterback Patrick Towles had to come out of the game against Syracuse in the fourth quarter.mary schwalm/Associated Press/Associated Press

A trio of injuries will leave Boston College with question marks at crucial positions going into a critical road matchup against North Carolina State.

Running back Jonathan Hilliman (ankle) and linebacker Connor Strachan (shoulder) both missed Saturday’s 28-20 loss to Syracuse, but perhaps the most pressing concern is the hamstring injury that forced quarterback Patrick Towles to leave the game in the fourth quarter.

With their Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak now at 12 games, those are personnel losses the Eagles can’t afford. While Hilliman looks close to game-ready and Strachan is improving, coach Steve Addazio said it’s too early to tell with Towles.


“We’re a young team, and it’s hard to have that many of your so-called best players not out there, but that’s life,” Addazio said. “I’m hopeful that all three of them will be available for the game.”

Aside from knee woes that ended the seasons of receiver Chris Garrison and tight end Jake Burt, the Eagles have by and large avoided the type of injuries that took such a toll a year ago. But nagging injuries have lingered throughout the year.

“Sometimes you cruise through this stuff unscathed, and that’s a little bit of luck of the draw, and sometimes you get beat up pretty good.” Addazio said. “Right now, aside from Garrison and Jake Burke, we haven’t really had many season-ending injuries. But we’ve had enough injuries to hurt us in a consistency fashion.”

Towles was limping on the sideline after being taken out of the game. He practiced Sunday, Addazio said, but his status is day-to-day.

“I think he’s feeling better every day,” Addazio said. “I think with those injuries, it’s always a race on the clock a little bit. It’s hard to really tell when you’re through with those. They run their course, and they’re all different.”


The possibility of losing Towles could put the Eagles in a tricky predicament. Darius Wade, who finished out the fourth quarter against Syracuse, would take over if Towles can’t play. If Wade starts, freshman Anthony Brown would become the backup. Brown hasn’t taken a snap this season, leaving his redshirt eligibility intact, but if something happens and Brown has to step in, Addazio would have to decide whether to throw Brown into the fray more quickly than intended.

“But sometimes you’ve got to be careful with them, too, because they can linger or you can reaggravate them, which usually means that you double your time if you get him back. So we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of Patrick and for his health and not put him at risk, and we’ll play it day by day.”

“Anthony is a really talented guy, and we have a lot of faith in Anthony,” Addazio said. “Right now, we wouldn’t just put Anthony in unless we felt like we had to put Anthony in, because once we do that, that year is over for him in terms of redshirting.”

Syracuse reprimand

Syracuse director of football operations Brad Wittke was issued a public reprimand by the school’s athletic department, after consultation with the ACC, for coming in contact with BC’s Will Harris during an altercation on the sidelines on in Saturday’s game.

Syracuse athletics director John Wildhack reviewed video of the incident and determined that Wittke “engaged in unsportsmanlike behavior” by touching Harris.


“I hold all members of our athletics program to highest standard of conduct, and support the Atlantic Coast Conference’s commitment to sportsmanship,” Wildhack said in a statement. “I’ve spoken with Brad, and he fully understands that his actions were not appropriate.”

The dust-up started when Orange quarterback Eric Dungey chased down Harris after an interception and flung him out of bounds. Dungey then shoved BC linebacker Matt Milano, starting a scrum on the Syracuse sideline. A Syracuse staffer could be seen on video shoving Harris as officials were trying to restore order.

In the same statement, Wittke offered an apology.

“I apologize to William Harris, Coach Addazio and the entire Boston College football team for my actions Saturday,” Wittke said. “While trying to prevent the situation from becoming worse I made contact with William, causing him to fall to the ground. I take responsibility for that and regret that it happened.”

Before the public reprimand came down, Addazio said he would leave the matter up to the conference. The league said there will be no further action.

“That’s in the league’s hands,” Addazio said. “They’re all over that and where they go with that is where they go with that. Probably not really appropriate for me to really have too much commentary on that. It is what it is. It’s documented on the video. They do a great job. They’ll handle that.”

Official mistake

The conference acknowledged that officials mishandled a holding call on a Syracuse first-and-5 play late in the third quarter. Dungey took a sack at the 15-yard line, but Milano was held on the play by Syracuse lineman Aaron Roberts.


Officials never gave Addazio the choice to decline the penalty and take both the loss of yards and the loss of a down. Addazio pleaded his case at the time, to no avail. Three plays later, the Orange scored on an 11-yard pass from Dungey to Steve Ishmael for a 21-10 lead.

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.