Florida State has not started 4-0 in back-to-back seasons since 2002 and 2003, but on Saturday in Chestnut Hill, the eighth-ranked Seminoles will look to buck that trend as they visit Boston College. Boston College comes into the contest with a 2-1 record after being blown out by USC its last time out. Like Florida State however, Boston College is 1-0 in ACC play and will look to gain the upper hand on the Seminoles in the Atlantic division race. Florida State is coming off of back-to-back home victories over Nevada and Bethune-Cookman by a combined 116-13 margin.
Against the Eagles, Florida State has won three straight including a 51-7 thumping last season in Tallahassee and a 38-7 victory in 2011, its last trip to Chestnut Hill. The last victory for Boston College in the series came in 2009 when Montel Harris’ late touchdown run lifted the Eagles to a 28-21 victory. Since Boston College joined the ACC in 2005, Florida State holds a 5-3 edge in the series and will look to make it six of nine on Saturday and four straight overall. To get it done, here are the keys to Seminole success for Saturday’s match-up at Boston College:
Get “On”dre off the field
The last two weeks, the Florida State defense has struggled early on to stop opposing running games keeping its defense on the field for too long. Last week, Bethune-Cookman held the ball for 36 minutes and for more than six on the game’s opening drive. The week before, Nevada won the time of possession battle by holding it for 33 minutes against the ‘Noles. Boston College is certainly a run-first football team and has a very talented senior back in Andre Williams. Williams and the Eagles will look for a similar recipe for success against Florida State on Saturday by keeping the ball in Williams’ hands and the high-powered Florida State offense on the sideline. To slow down the run, the Seminoles will need a big day from interior defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan, Jacobbi McDaniel and Nile Lawrence-Stample. Linebacker Telvin Smith has also been solid this season in terms of coming up and stopping the run.
Wild and freewill
After a solid rushing effort in the season opener against Pittsburgh, the Florida State rushing attack has really come to life over the last two weeks. In the last two weeks, the Seminoles are averaging better than 320 yards-per-game thanks partially to the position move of Karlos Williams from safety to running back. Florida State already had one of the best rushing combinations in the ACC with James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman, but Williams adds a blend of speed and size to an already outstanding duo in the backfield. Williams has averaged just shy of 100 yards-per-game over the last two weeks while Freeman has gone over the century mark in each. Wilder’s rushing numbers have not been as impressive, but he has found the end zone two weeks in a row. Look for the Seminoles to give Boston College a steady diet of that three-headed monster on Saturday.
Make efficiency BC’s deficiency
After throwing more touchdown passes than incompletions over the first two weeks, Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston was just a pedestrian 10-for-19 for 148 yards on Saturday against Bethune-Cookman. The Seminoles won easily and the offense did score touchdowns on each of Winston’s final four drives, but overall, it was not as crisp as it had been in previous weeks. Boston College will give up a lot of yards, but very few big plays which will force Winston to make quick reads and accurate throws on Saturday. If Winston can do that, his numbers should be far more resembling of the first two weeks rather than last week’s 10-for-19 effort against the Wildcats.