Troy Stradford scored the go-ahead touchdown on a five-yard run late in the third quarter as Boston College, its passing game shut down by Syracuse for the third consecutive year, launched a rushing game that gave the 13th-ranked Eagles a 24-16 victory yesterday in Foxboro, Mass.

Later, Athletic Director Bill Flynn said representatives of the Cotton Bowl had "made Boston College its No. 1 choice" and that the university would accept the offer, when it is officially made next Saturday, to play on New Year's Day.

Stradford's touchdown with 2:25 left in the third quarter put Boston College (7-2) ahead, 14-10. Kevin Snow's 25-yard field goal made it 17-10 early in the fourth quarter.

The margin grew to 24-10 when Kelvin Martin ran back his second punt return in as many games, going 78 yards with 6:04 left. But Syracuse (6-5) rallied on Mike Kmetz's 49-yard touchdown pass to Scott Schwedes 49 seconds later. That made it 24-16; the two-point conversion attempt failed.

Boston College's Doug Flutie, who had thrown for only 256 yards in his last two games against Syracuse, yesterday was 10 of 21 for 136 yards.

After Schwedes' score, linebacker Ed Romanowski intercepted Kmetz's pass and Boston College got the ball at its 28. A 10-play, 72-yard march in which Flutie threw just three times, completing one for 13 yards, included runs of 18 and 14 yards by Stradford, 11 by Steve Strachan and eight by Ken Bell on the play before Stradford put the Eagles ahead.