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The Seminoles outclassed Boston College Saturday night, but the on-field performance was not all that impressive. Here are my thoughts on the game as it unfolded.
The score looked much better than last Saturday. The quality of play, however, wasn't anything special. Florida State beat a horrible Boston College team. Florida State was not crisp or disciplined, yet repeated blown coverages by Boston College bailed out Florida State early, allowing huge gains through the air. Defensively, Florida State seemed disinterested in defending the run, instead looking to rush the passer. Because of that, BC gashed the Seminoles on the ground in the early goings.
The talent disparity on the field, however, was enormous. It didn't appear that BC had more than a couple of players who could theoretically start for the Seminoles. And that showed throughout the game.
And credit Florida State for getting sharper as the game wore on, mounting some drives that weren't the result of BC's mistakes.
Before the Seminoles pulled their starters with a 41-7 lead, they had amassed 540 yards on 56 plays (9.64/play) and surrendered only 202 on 50 plays (4.0/play). It was a dominant score, but there is plenty upon which FSU still needs to work.
Here are my real-time reactions to the game as it unfolded.
Boston College drove for a long drive to open the game assisted by two Florida State penalties and at least one uncalled false start on Boston College and a huge non-called hold on the Eagles. But Florida State's defense held strong at the goal line, stopping 3 runs and then a pass on fourth down.
FSU's opening drive began from its one-yard line, sloppily. But after a fumble recovered by the Seminoles and a poor throw, Manuel found Shaw on a deep corner/out route for 23, and Shaw raced the remaining 54 yards for the touchdown.It was poor coverage by Boston College.
This hold was uncalled.
Florida State then came out firing from its own 42. Manuel audibled to a deep ball and then threw too high for Kelvin Benjamin, who was wide open in the seam. Manuel then misfired on a corner route for Kenny Shaw. He then found Haggins wide open on a coverage bust in a 3-deep concept for 42 yards. The 'Noles then ran for six from the eight, and ran it in with Lonnie Pryor for the Florida State TD and a 14-0 lead.
FSU wasn't particularly sharp in building the lead. BC is just a very bad football team.
The 'Noles put some reserves in for the third defensive drive, especially on the defensive line, and they played fairly well. BC gained one first down before punting.
Rashad Greene foolishly fielded a punt at the five, returning it to the 17.
Florida State's third drive was promising, and advanced the ball from its 17 to the 33, but Manuel was sacked on a scramble.
On BC's next drive, they advanced the ball some on a few draw plays, but could't sustain the drive, which entered into the second quarter.
Florida State's next drive picked up a first down on an out for eight, a run for three and a play-action pass down the middle to Benjamin for 46. A run for 9 on inside zone and a pass for 2 picked up the first down, plus a PF penalty on BC moved FSU to the BC 9. Manuel then hit James Wilder for three and Wilder stretched for a TD on the flare.
Despite the 21-0 lead and the egregious no-calls on Boston College, Florida State was not that sharp. BC repeatedly bailed out the Seminoles with blown coverages.
On the next series Tank Carradine had an excellent pass rush and then had a very nice block shed on the next play against a counter. Ronald Darby then had a great tackle to hold a pass short of the first down.
On the ensuing drive, Manuel found Kenny Shaw in stride off play action for 48 yards to the 10. Manuel then ran QB sweep for 4 and (smartly) did not take a hit. Manuel then hit Kelvin Benjamin for six yards and the 28-0 lead. It was the first drive that featured a Seminoles' drive based more on execution as opposed to major BC errors.
On Florida State's next drive, BC drew Florida State offsides, Florida State brought some creative blitzes, and was generally focused on stopping the pass with a 28-0 lead. The Seminoles were undisciplined and got out of their gaps, allowing BC to run some. A long scramble and throw converted a third down. FSU then had a nice TFL (Jernigan), but was called for DPI allowing a first down. Another DPI call moved BC to the FSU 22. A third and six turned into a TD when Florida State sent a big blitz, didn't get home, BC dumped it to its tight end from the backfield, and Brooks and Joyner missed tackles.
Florida State has a 28-7 lead and is not playing all that well. Playcalls aren't much different from last week (more passes, but with the blown coverages, that makes sense). The Seminoles aren't sharp on offense, and misfires are being bailed out by huge BC coverage errors. Defensively, BC has remained patient while FSU wants to play nothing but the pass, and is getting run on some.
Manuel's pass was intercepted due to a bobble by Rashad Greene. It was a good ball and would have been a long play. BC took over at the Florida State 38.
A holding penalty backed BC up to the Florida State 48, but a TE slip out of the backfield against the blitz gained 19 and took BC to the Florida State 29. Timeout. FSU wasn't lined up properly on the 2nd & 1, and BC converted. FSU then intercepted Boston College and returned it to the FSU 44.
Florida State took over with 19 seconds, threw for a first down, took a timeout, threw for another first, took a timeout, and sent the field goal team on from the 33 for a 50-yard try. Hopkins made the kick, secured the all-time ACC scoring record, and sent the Seminoles to halftime with a 31-7 lead.
Despite the lead, Florida State did not play a great half. Florida state was sloppy and anything but sharp, but major errors by Boston College bailed out FSU repeatedly.
Florida State opened the second half with a play action pass in rhythm to Rodney Smith for 28 on the customary smash concept. Some perimeter passes and a nice inside run moved it down, and Florida State was in business from the three. FSU then converted in the red zone with a three-yard run by Lonnie Pryor.
The Seminoles came out and stopped BC, forcing a punt.
BC outkicked its coverage and Rashad Greene returned the 52-yarder for 25 yards. Florida State took over at its own 49.
Florida State hit a square in and got a great block to pick up the first down. On the next play, Manuel overthrow a deep cross off his back foot on play action and it was intercepted. While the previous interception was not his fault, this one was.
Florida State then forced a three-&-out to get the ball back to the offense.
Rashad Greene then fair caught a ball when he should not have, as he had a clear 10 yards between himself and the closest potential ball carrier.
Florida State had a good mix of run and pass on the ensuing drive, particularly with the short passing game as Boston College backed of its coverage to prevent the deep ball. Third-string RB Devonta Freeman entered the game and ran well. It was good to see him return to action after the recent murder of a close family member.Florida State's drive stalled in the red zone, but FSU did attempt a fade route to Kelvin Benjamin, which had been called for by many fans and some media. Benjamin again didn't run his man off very well, and didn't catch the ball. Hopkins' field goal made it 41-7.
BC picked up a first down, but FSU's defense played tight coverage and would allow no more. Nick Waisome had excellent coverage on deep ball, and FSU had several reserves in.
Florida State picked up at its own 23, threw to Greg Dent for 7, ran for a first down with Thompson on a nice run, and then a longer ball to Greg Dent, which resulted in a long delay as the officials sorted out where Dent's knee was down, whether he fumbled, and if a penalty for blocking in the back should be assessed if it occurred after the runner was down.
At the end of the third quarter, Florida State held a 41-7 lead.
FSU's drive continues with some short passes and a few runs. For some reason Chris Thompson continued to take carries despite a 34-point lead. He was finally pulled, and Manuel hit James Wilder Jr on play action TD of 12 yards. 48-7 Seminoles.
After that, the Seminoles' reserves forced a punt. Florida State pulled EJ Manuel at the 10-minute mark, and then embarked on a lengthy drive that ended in a field goal.
After that, the backups traded punts and ineffective drives.