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Dillon (Lawrence Academy) is top ACC rookie for Eagles


Boston College running back A.J. Dillon earned one of the top individual awards from the Atlantic Coast Conference this week.

Dillon is a freshman out of Lawrence Academy in Groton.

In voting results released Tuesday by the league, Dillon was named the conference’s top rookie .

Dillon had 47 votes in both overall and offensive rookie voting after rushing for 1,432 yards — second most among freshmen in league history.

Virginia free safety Brenton Nelson won defensive rookie honors.

Big day vs. Orange

Dillon didn’t practice all week, didn’t run, didn’t do anything physically — until last Saturday.

Boston College’s stellar freshman tailback rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns, and the resurgent Eagles beat Syracuse 42-14 in the season finale for both teams.

BC (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won five of six and won in the Carrier Dome for only the second time in six tries.

“It’s not easy to do. It’s a credit to our players,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “We played physical. We played relentlessly. We played together for each other. That’s what I really enjoyed seeing the most.”

It was the fifth straight loss for Syracuse (4-8, 2-6) since its riveting upset of then-No. 2 Clemson just over a month ago.

Dillon had twice topped the 200-yard rushing mark in a game, only the second freshman in ACC history to do so, and entered the game ranked fourth in ACC history in rushing yards by a freshman with 1,239. Dillon, who had 23 carries, scored on his first of the game, a 22-yarder midway through the first quarter, tacked on an 8-yard TD late in the first quarter, and added a 1-yard score early in the third for a 35-14 lead.

“It’s a testament to how hard we’ve been working,” said Dillon, who was recovering from an undisclosed injury. “It’s all starting to click. It’s all starting to come together. It’s not just one group or one player.”

The Eagles, who only punted once and held the Orange scoreless in the second half, had gained a 28-7 lead midway through the second quarter on Jeff Smith’s 64-yard run and a 30-yard fumble return by Will Harris.

With Dillon, the Eagles have a stellar run game that finished with 333 yards against the Orange and will serve them well in the postseason. — AP

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