Boston College Eagles at Florida State Seminoles game preview
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s going to be a historic night at Doak Campbell Stadium on Friday when Florida State and Boston College face off.
For starters, the Seminoles, who moved up four spots to No. 18 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, will be hosting a Friday game in Tallahassee for only the second time — and the first since 1957.
But the history that Seminole fans are no doubt hoping to witness — and Eagles fans no doubt hoping their team doesn’t become a footnote to — is Dalvin Cook’s continued quest of Florida State’s all-time rushing record.
With 3,833 yards through three seasons, the junior from Miami is now 127 yards away from breaking the 20-year-old record held by running back Warrick Dunn. And, ironically, Cook averages 126 per game.
So, yeah … stay tuned.
And if you’re a member of Boston College’s defense, better stay alert.
"Dalvin Cook I think is one of the better running backs in the country," Eagles coach Steve Addazio said Monday. "We obviously know Dalvin well. He has 196 carries, for 1,134 yards, 5.8 average, 12 touchdowns, 25 catches. He’s their marquee guy. This will be a great challenge for us. I’m looking forward to this week."
Cook hasn’t run wild on Boston College (4-5, 1-4 ACC) during his three years at Florida State (6-3, 3-3) like he has against other teams. Last year, during the Seminoles’ 14-0 shutout win in Chestnut Hill, Mass. — also on a Friday night — the Eagles’ then-No. 1 ranked defense held Cook to a season-low 54 yards. And In 2014, Boston College limited Cook to 76 yards during the Seminoles’ 20-17 victory.
So, yes, Cook — who has rushed for 100-plus yards in five of his last six games — may very well get the coveted school rushing record Friday night.
But, no, Boston College is not afraid of the Heisman Trophy candidate one bit.
"They are going to play you tough and physical, every week, even when they have been defeated," said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, who is 6-0 against Boston College since taking over in 2010. "Their up-front people play great and they play tremendous leverage. Set edges on the defense, play inside their hands real well. Technique very physical. Big, strong, physical guys. Play the box real well. Play a lot of man with big, long, lanky secondary people. Tackle very well in space. Hit you very well. (Addazio) does a very good job with them."
Fisher, too, has done a good job in his seventh year at the helm — but by his own lofty standards he set for the program, he would undoubtedly consider those efforts not great.
In the last three seasons, Florida State’s meeting with Boston College was to keep the Seminoles’ ACC Championship hopes alive. But with three losses — all to ACC opponents — those titles hopes are well out the window now. A porous defense — ranked 73rd in total defense out of 128 FBS programs — is mostly to blame for the team’s struggles, resembling nothing like that of the 2013 unit which sent all 11 starters to the NFL.
In fact, in two of Florida State’s three losses, the Seminoles had a lead with four minute or less to play and the defense simply could not hold it.
"Discipline (is how we can improve)," Fisher said of his team’s defensive struggles. "I mean, just keep staying on guys and coaching the heck out of them, just like we do in practice."
The good news for the Seminoles — 21-point favorites against the Eagles — is that their defense has looked good against mediocre offensive teams. And Boston College (ranked 126th in the nation in total offense) is certainly that. Florida State held Miami to its lowest rushing total of the season in Week 6 and the defense didn’t allow a touchdown against Wake Forest (for the third straight season) a week later.
But two weeks ago, the defense regressed, allowing 37 points at home against Clemson, then putting its offense in a late hole last week against N.C. State before the Seminoles came back to win 24-20.
Boston College, meanwhile, is coming off a 52-7 home shellacking by No. 6 Louisville — a loss not too dissimilar from Florida State’s 63-20 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals earlier this year.
Addazio said that he believes those types of results are indicative not of Boston College or Florida State going through down years, but rather that ACC 2.0 is suddenly really, really good.
"I mean, we’re playing — we have elite teams in this conference," said Addazio, who’s 21-26 in his fifth season with the Eagles. "I think more in our conference than in some of the other conferences. Every conference has got an elite team, but we have a series of them (this year)."