Boston College-Florida St. Preview

After suffering its first loss in stunning fashion, Florida

State may have to settle for trying to win the ACC Atlantic

Division instead of getting a shot at the BCS title.

Having fallen nine spots in the Top 25 following last weekend’s

upset, the No. 12 Seminoles look to bounce back against struggling

Boston College on Saturday.

With a chance to move to 6-0 for the first time since a 12-0

start in 1999 that led to the program’s last national title,

Florida State (5-1, 2-1) fell 17-16 to North Carolina State last

Saturday. The Seminoles, who entered the game with their highest

ranking since 2003, were outscored 17-0 in the second half.

“This was a tough loss, a heartbreaking loss,” said coach Jimbo

Fisher, who’s come under scrutiny this week for two fourth-quarter

offensive calls that may have cost Florida State a shot at winning.

“We have to forget it and move on. This team isn’t like last year.

We have to regroup and move on.”

Fisher has to be hoping his team responds better than it did

after its first defeat last season, 23-13 to then-No. 1 Oklahoma

that started a three-game slide.

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani won’t speculate on how the

Seminoles will react to the loss, but he’s definitely not

underestimating an opponent that has won its home games by a 225-40

score.

“Despite what happened last night to them, they have a bevy of

football players,” Spaziani said Sunday. “It’s a very good football

team. … we have to prepare like we do every week for everybody’s

‘A’ game.”

The Seminoles offense wasn’t at its best last week as two

first-half drives into the red zone ended with field goals from

Dustin Hopkins, who needs seven points to become the all-time ACC

leader with 394.

Florida State, 14th in the nation with 510.8 yards per game,

finished with a season-low 343. EJ Manuel was sacked a season-high

four times and threw for 218 yards.

“When you’re moving the ball and getting field goals when you

needed touchdowns, you have to go out and know you need touchdowns

in the red zone,” Manuel said. “We have to be better on that next

week.”

For Manuel and his teammates, winning the division crown is now

the likely focus. Florida State is tied with Clemson in the

Atlantic, with Maryland at 1-0 in the league.

The Seminoles, seventh in the FBS with 45.2 points per game,

will face an Eagles team that’s allowed 101 points and 1,731 yards

during a three-game losing streak.

Boston College yielded a season-high 595 yards – 516 on the

ground – in a 34-31 loss at Army on Saturday.

“Looking at what has happened the last couple weeks, I think

we’ve been in the right place. We just haven’t been able to

execute,” Spaziani said. ” … There’s nobody erasing the mistakes

and making some big plays.”

The Eagles are giving up 259.0 yards per game on the ground, and

they’ll face a Florida State rushing attack that’s averaging 238.5.

The Seminoles are led by senior Chris Thompson, who’s run for 572

yards and has surpassed the 100-yard mark in three of the last four

games.

The Seminoles are equally adept at stopping the run, allowing

71.3 yards a contest on the ground, and they’ll be tasked with

shutting down Andre Williams this week. The junior rushed for a

career-best 191 yards and two TDs against Army.

Boston College’s Chase Rettig leads a passing attack that’s 16th

in the country with 311.8 yards per contest.

The Seminoles held the Eagles to 94 rushing yards in a 38-7 road

victory Nov. 3 that clinched their NCAA-best 30th straight bowl

appearance. Boston College was knocked out of bowl contention for

the first time since 1998 with the defeat.

The Eagles have lost seven straight to ranked opponents since a

27-17 victory at then-No. 20 Florida State on Nov. 15, 2008. The

Seminoles have taken two in a row in the series.