TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Boston College plans to start a freshman at quarterback Saturday against the nation’s leading pass rush defense when it visits 16th-ranked Florida State in a matchup of teams going opposite directions.
The Seminoles (5-1, 3-0 ACC) are riding a four-game winning streak while the visiting Eagles (2-3, 0-2) have lost three straight games in which they’ve been outscored 94-30.
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Freshman quarterback Chase Rettig will make his second career start for Boston College, lining up against a Florida State pass rush that leads the nation with 26 quarterback sacks.
“It’s not an easy problem to say the least,” concedes Eagles coach Frank Spaziani. “The quarterback is where it all starts.”
Mike Marscovetra, who replaced Rettig in a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 2, will be the backup Saturday with freshman Josh Bordner in the wings if necessary. Last year’s starter, Dave Shinskie, is out with a concussion.
Rettig started against the Fighting Irish but left the game after he sprained his left ankle in the second quarter. He was 5 of 10 for 72 yards and a touchdown before being hurt.
He hopes that brief experience benefits him against the Seminoles.
“I feel like I can go out there a little bit more confident and a little bit less nervous about what to expect,” Rettig said. “You’re trying to tell yourself to focus on what your job is.”
Rettig will be the third straight true freshman to start against the Seminoles in Tallahassee. BYU’s Jake Heaps and Wake Forest’s Tanner Price didn’t have much success, managing only 66 yards passing between them.
Despite the uncertainty of its quarterback situation, Boston College’s players are taking a nothing-to-lose approach to the game.
“We have to be, like coach Spaz says, ‘running scared,'” said defensive end Alex Albright. “He explained it’s not scared, but just kind of like your backs are against the wall.”
His teammate, Billy Flutie, agrees.
“It’s just another opportunity to take down one of the big dogs,” said Flutie, the nephew of former Heisman Trophy winner and Boston College icon Doug Flutie. “We beat them the past couple of years and I think we can do it again.”
And that alone worries first-year Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
“They are still big and strong up front,” Fisher said. “A physical football team.”
Boston College pits its top-ranked run defense in the ACC against the Seminoles’ veteran offensive line, which helped them average 223.5 yards per game on the ground, mostly behind tailbacks Jermaine Thomas and Chris Thompson.
And the Boston College defense, led by linebackers Luke Kuechly and Mark Herzlich, will also have to contend with Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. He’s completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,017 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“You see what the maturity has done for the quarterbacks that we’ve played the past couple of weeks,” Albright said.
Florida State’s defense will try to slow down Boston College tailback Montel Harris. The former prep star from Jacksonville has run for 300 yards and three touchdowns in victories over the Seminoles the last two years. Those wins evened the series at 4-4.