Boston College will look to get back to .500 on Friday night, but to do so, the Eagles (4-5, 1-5 ACC) will need to pull off an upset on a short week while making a long trip. One week after picking up its first ACC win in more than a year, Boston College was manhandled by Louisville 52-7 and will be facing another ranked team – this time on the road.
No. 22 Florida State (6-3, 3-3) is coming off a thrilling 24-20 victory over NC State to become bowl eligible and is looking for a seventh win. Boston College boasts a very good defense and the Seminoles have struggled at times this season against good defenses. The good news is that the Eagles will be the worst statistical offense that the Seminoles have faced this year and winning shouldn’t require a lot of points.
Under head coach Jimbo Fisher, Florida State is a perfect 6-0 against Boston College, but the games have been close in recent years. The Seminoles won 14-0 last season at Chestnut Hill and needed a last-second field to win 20-17 in the Eagles’ last trip to Tallahassee in 2014. Boston College will be looking for its first win over a ranked opponent since knocking off USC in September 2014.
Boston College at Florida State
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN2
Spread: Florida State – 21
Three Things to Watch
1. Dalvin Cook
Cook was held in check last week against NC State, finishing with only 65 rushing yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. A junior, Cook now sits just 127 yards away from breaking Warrick Dunn’s career rushing mark at FSU, but will be facing a top-10 rush defense on Friday.
The Eagles are allowing a little more than 100 yards per game on the ground and much of that has to do with a very good corps of linebackers led by senior Matt Milano. The Eagles will likely gear up to the stop the run early and containing Cook is a must if they want to keep this game competitive. In two career games against Boston College, Cook has just 130 rushing yards on 29 carries and no touchdowns.
2. FSU Offensive Line vs. Boston College Defensive Line
Boston College was able to hold Florida State to just 217 total yards last season and only 98 yards on the ground, thanks largely to a dominating effort up front. Defensive end Harold Landry leads the Eagles with nine sacks and 11 tackles for loss. As a team, Boston College ranks 13th nationally with 27 sacks and protecting quarterback Deondre Francois has been a sore spot for the Seminoles this season.
Despite being without starting guard Landon Dickerson last week, FSU yielded only one sack against a very good front four for NC State. With the Eagles likely to gear up to stop Cook, protecting Francois would go a long way in FSU being able to adequately exploit the weakest aspect of the Boston College defense – the secondary.
For Florida State to lose this one, the Seminoles would probably need to aid Boston College’s effort by beating themselves. For the most part, FSU has done a good job taking care of the ball this season and ranks second in the ACC in turnover margin. Penalties and breakdowns in coverage however, have been a problem.
With a Boston College offense that is among the worst in the country, quarterback Patrick Towles will need short fields to put points on the board. Somehow, the Eagles will need to force FSU into mistakes and then take advantage of them if they have any chance of pulling off the upset.
As was the case last year, Boston College is good enough on defense to keep Florida State from lighting up the scoreboard. The Eagles allowed an opening drive touchdown to FSU a season ago and nothing else the rest of the way before Jalen Ramsey returned a fumble for a Seminole score. Offensively however, Boston College has been quite inept with Patrick Towles completing just 51 percent of his passes for only 6.5 yards per attempt. On the ground, the Eagles are averaging less than four yards per carry. The Seminoles haven’t been great on defense by any stretch of the imagination, but have gotten considerably better over the last month. It’s worth noting that FSU does have the nation’s leader in sacks in defensive end DeMarcus Walker and the nation’s leader in interceptions in cornerback Tarvarus McFadden.