If there was going to be a game-defining turnover, it looked like it might come on a third-and-long from the Boston College 3-yard line. Yet the Eagles survived third down, converted and put together their longest drive of the game.
As the Eagles drove down the field and neared a potential game-tying touchdown, however, the turnover came at the most inopportune time. At the Eagles’ 41-yard line, running back Jon Hilliman fumbled, and Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey scooped the ball up and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
Boston College needed to play a perfect game to upset No. 9 Florida State, but that turnover ended the Eagles’ upset bid. In a tough road environment on a short week, the Seminoles, who have yet to turn over the ball this season, won their ACC opener 14-0 thanks to grit and a timely fumble.
Florida State can now rest up during the bye week. The Seminoles knew this road trip was about "survive and advance," and they did just that.
What the win means for Florida State: The Seminoles likely couldn’t afford a loss in their ACC opener with two more troublesome road games looming. Florida State still has to travel to Georgia Tech in October and Clemson in November. And the Seminoles must continue to work on an offense that is struggling. With a bye week, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has an extra week to continue tutoring Everett Golson, who played well enough but still looks uncomfortable at times. The bigger issue is a leaky offensive line that is unable to hold up in pass protection. The offensive line could have cost the Seminoles a win Friday. The defense was impeccable for a third consecutive game, and it will have to carry the team at least a few more times this season.
What the loss means for Boston College: It’s a disappointing loss for Steve Addazio, who knew the Eagles had to be the beneficiary of a costly turnover to pull off the upset as a home underdog. The bigger loss for Boston College comes at quarterback, however. Starter Darius Wade suffered what appeared to be a serious ankle injury in the fourth quarter, and he could miss several weeks if not considerably more. Defensively, Boston College is for real and has a top-tier unit in the ACC. The Eagles’ defense should keep them in most games.
How the game was won: Near the end of the third quarter, the Eagles took possession at their 1-yard line, and it looked as if Boston College was in jeopardy of a safety. The drive probably began with the intention of just creating some room for a punt and to try to flip field position as much as possible. But the Eagles moved the ball out past their own 40-yard line, and the drive had the look of one that could have produced a game-tying touchdown. On a second-and-11 from the Eagles’ 41-yard line, Hilliman was held up by Florida State’s defense and Demarcus Christmas punched out the football. Ramsey, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, picked up the ball and ran untouched to the end zone.
Stat of the game: Boston College never crossed the Seminoles’ 39-yard line. Florida State allowed BC to cross the 50-yard line only twice. The Eagles are far from an explosive offense, but the Seminoles locked them down when they took shots. The rest of the time, there was rarely any room for BC to operate. Boston College averaged 3.4 yards per play and completed only 5 of 15 pass attempts. That put BC in a lot of third-down situations, and the Seminoles didn’t allow the Eagles to sustain drives.