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FSU football preview and Nolecast: Boston College

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Friday night football at Doak Campbell Stadium.

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State is set to host Boston College this week in a rare Friday night matchup, the first such game to be hosted at Doak Campbell Stadium.

That the game is being played under Friday night lights is fitting, perhaps, as Boston College’s offense has been high school quality in 2016, ranking 122nd in scoring, 111th in yards per rush, 105th in yards per pass attempt, and 126th in yards per play overall. Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings have BC’s offense as the nation’s 122nd-ranked unit so far this season, and the Eagles rank 117th or worse in four of the six components of S&P+ offense.

The FSU defense shouldn’t have trouble getting the Eagles offense behind schedule, as BC has been downright awful on first down, and not much better on second or third downs. Kentucky transfer QB Patrick Towles has barely completed over 50% of his passes this year, and has featured completions percentages of 32.1 against Virginia Tech and 28.6 against Syracuse, a unit that ranks 87th in opponent-adjusted defense.

BC has scored just 19.4 points per game this season, a number that plummets to just 12 per game when excluding games against UMass, Wagner, and Buffalo. BC’s three best opponents, VT, Clemson, and Louisville, all held the Eagles to fewer than 4 yards per play. Suffice it to say, seeing the Noles surrender more than a score or two to this offense would be an outright disappointment.

Offensively, Deondre Francois continues to struggle with accuracy while still putting up respectable numbers for a redshirt freshman. His 8.4 yards per attempt are top-20 nationally, while he’s thrown three times as many TDs as INTs (although he was lucky to avoid a critical pick late against NC State thanks to a drop by Shawn Boone). An FSU offense that ranks seventh in S&P+ could be even better if Francois manages to hit more easy throws. He should be able to get things going and stay on schedule against a defense that struggles mightily on standard downs, but his accuracy issues won’t magically disappear at this point.

BC has allowed explosive plays on passing downs, so emerging star Noonie Murray (9 catches, 153 yards, TD in last two weeks) could see more big plays coming his way.

Dalvin Cook was limited by an aggressive run defense at NC State, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry in Raleigh after averaging 8.9 against Clemson. BC is very good against the run and boasts a top-25 opponent-adjusted defense, but teams like Clemson (230 yards on 6.5 ypc) and Louisville (210 yards on 5.8) have gotten things going on the ground against BC, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Cook get his on Friday.

Be sure to listen to this week’s preview edition of the Nolecast, where Bud and Ingram – as always – provide insight unmatched by any other outlet, with the help of Louisiana Hot Sauce and Madison Social.