SYRACUSE, N.Y., NOV. 14 -- Sugar Bowl president Jerry Romig, who had said during the week he was prepared to offer Syracuse an unofficial invitation, was a nervous wreck today. Relinquishing his seat with the Syracuse chancellor, he paced the sidelines and walked around the corridors of the Carrier Dome.

The sixth-ranked Orangemen (10-0) were the reason for his concern, spotting Boston College 17 points before coming away with a 45-17 victory in front of a crowd of 49,892. Syracuse is expected to play the Southeastern Conference winner in the Sugar Bowl.

"For a while, I thought it would be a long trip back to New Orleans," Romig said. "But now, it will be short and sweet."

He declined to say if he had informally invited the Orangemen (10-0). Rather, he said he would wait until 6 p.m. Nov. 21, the official date for invitations.

He wasn't the only one worried today. The Orangemen hadn't fallen so far behind all season, as the Eagles (5-6) converted on three of their first four drives to go ahead, 17-0, with 10:41 left in the first half.

But the Orangemen, who didn't get a first down until 8:04 of the second quarter, tied the score before intermission, thanks to Don McPherson's passing and running.

"The slow start had to do with us being complacent," said defensive tackle Rob Burnett. "It didn't help either that we had a 6:45 a.m. wakeup call. We don't play many noon games."

"When it was 17-0, we knew it was time to wake up now or never," said Syracuse wide receiver Tommy Kane, who would make his 16th and school-record 17th career touchdown catches.

Behind the running of Jim Bell (115 yards on 26 carries) and the passing of Mike Power (10 of 14 for 108 yards), Boston College drove 60 yards to a 7-0 lead. Bell's touchdown came on a delayed handoff from six yards out with 5:34 remaining in the first quarter.

On the first play of Syracuse's next turn, McPherson fumbled the snap and defensive tackle Mark Murphy recovered at the Orangemen's 27. Four plays later, Brian Lowe kicked a 37-yard field goal.

The Eagles made it 17-0 when they drove 70 yards, 35 of them gained by Bell on the ground. Power threw to wide receiver Tom Waddle for an eight-yard gain to the 1, then William Hislop scored.

"We were a 9-0 football team on the verge of getting blown out," said Syracuse offensive guard John Flannery.

But Syracuse's offense, which had been averaging 436 yards and 31 points, got going. McPherson set up the Orangemen's first score with a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Rob Moore to move the ball to Boston College's 9. Two plays later, McPherson threw to Kane on a post pattern in the end zone.

"Right then and there, we knew on offense they couldn't stop us," Flannery said. "I think Boston College knew, as well."

On Boston College's next possession, Power was replaced by junior Mark Kamphaus, and the offense fizzled. Even though Power was nearly flawless, BC Coach Jack Bicknell said he had planned to alternate the quarterbacks.

"We scored 17 points with {Power}, so I wasn't unhappy with him," said Bicknell. "I've been doing this with them all year."

Syracuse then drove 62 yards to Tim Vesling's 31-yard field goal. After stopping the Eagles, the Orangemen scored with nine seconds left in the half when tailback Robert Drummond ran three yards.

"I think we gradually began to wear them down in the second half," said McPherson. His passes to tight end Pat Kelly helped the Orangemen score the first two times they had the ball in the second half, and it was no contest from there on.

Boston Coll. 10 7 0 0 17 Syracuse 0 17 14 14 45

BC -- Bell 6 run (Lowe kick)

BC -- FG Lowe 37

BC -- Hislop 1 run (Lowe kick)

S -- Kane 6 pass McPherson (Besling kick)

S -- FG Vesling 31

S -- Drummond 2 run (Vesling kick)

S -- Johnston 2 run (Vesling kick)

S -- Drummond 1 run (Vesling kick)

S -- Kane 20 pass from McPherson (Vesling kick)

S -- Owens 1 run (Vesling kick)

A -- 49,892.

Boston Col. Syracuse First downs 18 18 Rushes-yards 45-172 46-208 Passing yards 151 211 Return yards 11 51 Passing 15-26-2 10-20-0 Punts-average 6-34 4-35 Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1 Penalties-yards 7-45 7-39 Tim

RUSHING -- Boston Coll.: Bell 26-115, Frager 6-33. Syracuse: McPherson 9-57, Drummond 14-56.

PASSING -- Boston Coll.: Power 10-14-1, 108 yards, Kamphaus 5-12-1, 43. Syracuse: McPherson 10-19-0, 211, D

RECEIVING -- Boston Coll.: Flutie 6-66, Waddle 3-32, Bell 3-21. Syracuse: Kelly 3-70, Kane 3-52.