Noles 'Bowl' over Boston College
For three decades, there's been nothing so certain in college football as Florida State playing in a bowl game.
The Seminoles qualified for a bowl for the 30th consecutive year on Thursday night, when EJ Manuel threw for one touchdown and ran for another to lead Florida State to a 38-7 victory over Boston College.
''That's one of our goals we knew from the beginning of the year, and now we've knocked that one off,'' coach Jimbo Fisher said after the Seminoles extended the streak that was already the longest in the NCAA. ''Thirty years in a row. There's something about that. Everybody says it's no big deal, but don't do it and see what happens.''
Manuel completed 12 of 16 passes for 180 yards and ran 16 times for 37 yards to help Florida State (6-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) open a 28-0 halftime lead and coast to its fourth consecutive victory. The sixth win means the Seminoles are bowl-eligible; representatives of the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta were in the press box to scout the game.
''I think it would be something that we would be ashamed of if we were the team that didn't continue with the great tradition of Florida State,'' Manuel said. ''We should win at least six games every year at Florida State. At least.''
Boston College (2-7, 1-5), which had gone to a bowl game for 12 straight years, was guaranteed its first losing season since 1998 and was eliminated from bowl contention.
Chase Rettig completed 11 of 18 passes with one touchdown and one interception for Boston College, splitting time with freshman Josh Bordner after the first six drives resulted in five punts and a fumble. Bordner was 1 of 2 for 37 yards, and he ran seven times for 45 yards.
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Luke Kuechly had 20 tackles - 12 solo - for Boston College, his 31st straight game with 10 or more.
''I don't think with this team, with this BC team, anybody's going to quit,'' Kuechly said. ''I don't care about what's not available. I'm going to come out and win against N.C. State'' next week.
Devonta Freeman ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and Nick O'Leary caught three passes for 87 yards as Florida State did most of its damage with touchdowns on three straight possessions in the first half. With 4:51 to play in the second quarter, the Seminoles led 28-0; they had outgained BC 214 yards to 16 and held the Eagles without a first down.
''We got licked,'' BC coach Frank Spaziani said. ''Couldn't get a first down; couldn't get out of our own way for a little bit there.''
Bordner came into the game and, sharing time with Rettig on the drive, led BC 74 yards to the Florida State 1 before Rolandan Finch fumbled.
Finch, a former fourth-stringer who had 243 yards against Maryland last week, had two fumbles in the game while gaining 59 yards on 28 carries.
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''If you're going to be a great football team, you've got to have a great defense,'' Seminoles safety Lamarcus Joyner said. ''You've got to control the line of scrimmage, and that's what the guys are doing. We've been doing that the past three weeks.''
Manuel threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 34-0 victory over North Carolina State - the Seminoles' fourth consecutive game with more than 425 yards of total offense. Against BC they had 307.
Florida State failed to get a first down on its first possession, but it got the ball back on the BC 2 when Anthony McCloud knocked the ball free from Finch and Smith fell on it. Two plays and a penalty later, Manuel hit Bert Reed for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
The Seminoles scored early in the second quarter on Freeman's 12-yard run and, after another BC three-and-out, Manuel completed a 58-yard pass to O'Leary before taking it in himself from 1 yard out to make it 21-0. After another BC three-and-out, Freeman marched Florida State down the field before scoring from the 3 to give the Seminoles a 28-0 lead.
Bordner entered the game for BC and, on his first snap, ran 25 yards for the Eagles' first first down of the game. From the Seminoles' 39 he hit Bobby Swigert on a 37-yard completion that brought the ball to the 2.
But Finch was stuffed for a 1-yard gain on first-and-goal, and on second down he lost the ball on his way to the line of scrimmage.