The first half was rough for the majority of the Florida State offense, but especially for starting QB Deondre Francois. He ended the 1st half 12-26 for 157 yards and 2 interceptions. Despite the defense intercepting the Eagles twice, the ’Noles were unable to capitalize.
True freshman wide receiver Keyshawn Helton got his first start of the season due to a DJ Matthews injury (wrist) and quickly became one of few bright spots for an anemic offense. On the very first offensive play, he went 25-yards - showing dominance despite his diminutive stature, bulldozing through Boston College defenders. Later on, near the end of the first quarter, Helton continued to show promise, as he picked up another 23-yards on this jet sweep:
Wow. Keyshawn Helton absolutely bulldozed Lukas Denis en route to a 23-yard gain and first down. Big chunk play for FSU's offense, which has looked pretty out of sync. Denis seemed to lead with his head, too. pic.twitter.com/B3V9FEGG55— Bradley Smart (@bradleysmart15) November 17, 2018
The Seminoles’ first drive looked promising as Helton’s reception was followed by a 19-yard rush by Cam Akers, but as Florida State crept toward the end zone, their momentum stalled, and Ricky Aguayo’s 45-yard field goal was blocked (2nd straight game with a blocked kick after the middle of the line got caved in).
Florida State’s next drive started off with a nice 10-yard gain on a quarterback keeper, but a holding penalty on Arthur Williams negated any positive yardage, and the Seminoles were unable to put together a successful drive, once again. The FSU defense put the ball right back into Francois’ hands, giving the offense another opportunity, but the quarterback responded by throwing it right back to BC on the next play.
The Seminoles were gifted another set of downs on the following drive after an Eagles defender roughed Logan Tyler after a three-and-out. Unfortunately, once again, Florida State was unable to put any points on the board, and the first quarter ended 0-0.
At the start of the second quarter, Francois threw another interception in Boston College territory. However, he wasn’t the only Seminole to make mistakes. False starts on two different drives by RT Jauan Williams and TE Tre’ McKitty hindered an already struggling offense. Aguayo gave the Seminoles their first points of the game after making a 35-yard field goal. To close the half the Seminoles put together a solid 8-play, 77-yard drive, but were held to a 25-yard field goal by Aguayo. LT Derrick Kelly went down with what appeared to be a leg injury as the first half expired.
Despite Florida State’s inability to score a touchdown, the young receivers were a bright spot, foreshadowing a seemingly bright future in this Gulf Coast Offense.
FSU’s first drive of the 2nd half mimicked the struggles of the first 30 minutes, but on the next drive, the Seminoles put together a 5-play 85-yard TD drive. During the drive, Francois hit back-to-back explosive plays to WR Nyqwan Murray for 45-yards (3rd & 2), and TE Naseir Upshur for 28 yards, setting up an easy 4-yard rushing touchdown for Cam Akers.
After the inspired scoring drive, the offense went three-and-out. The Seminoles’ first drive of the fourth quarter started off with a bang, as Akers danced around Boston College defenders for 55 yards. The drive ended with a crucial drop by McKitty (his second big miss of the contest), forcing another Aguayo field goal. The kick was good from 37-yards.
With only 2:45 remaining in the game, Florida State put together a scoring drive to give them the lead for good. Francois found Tamorrion Terry for a 74-yard touchdown bomb giving the ’Noles a one-point lead, 22-21:
After giving up a long kickoff return to Boston College, the defense held strong one last time, giving FSU (5-6) a much-needed win, as they look to extend their winning record and bowl streaks.
Akers had his first 100-yard rushing game this season, ending the night with 114 yards on 14 attempts (7.9 YPC).
Terry continued to reel in the explosive plays and went 112 yards on 3 plays. The redshirt freshman star now has 32 catches for 666 yards (20.81 yds/catch) and 8 TD’s this season.
Helton ended the night with 73-yards on 6 receptions (on 6 targets), including some diving grabs.
Francois ended the night 19-39 for 322-yards with the touchdown and two interceptions. He also added 35 yards on 9 carries (taking out the sack yardage), including a keeper on the zone read. I thought OC Walt Bell did a good job keeping BC somewhat honest by using Francois in the run-game this week. It’ll be interesting to see if that continues next weekend against Florida.