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FSU survives Boston College in first scare of 2023: Postgame analysis from ACC opener

The Seminoles almost throw it away in Chesnut Hill but came out victorious to end up. 3-0

NCAA Football: Florida State at Boston College Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles bandwagon seemingly lost some weight on the flight back to Boston this weekend, as Saturday’s performance provided the first display of mortality in the Seminoles.

There is no reason to sugarcoat it: FSU collapsed in the second half. If not for a missed extra point, the score is, at best, 31-31 against a team that beat Holy Cross by a field goal. Boston College started blazing, scoring on their opening drives and giving Jordan Travis one possession in the first quarter. The ‘Noles capitalized on their opportunities and led 17-10 at the break-even if the offense played only 12 minutes of game action.

Florida State erupted to start the 3rd quarter with two touchdowns in the first 4 minutes and took a 31-10 lead. After that, no one has an explanation for what happened next. Mike Norvell said FSU “ pressed” on the sideline, and the coach implored his players to keep their “edge.” Florida State exhibited the former as two turnovers, no points the rest of the game, and atrocious third down defense led to a collapse in Alumni Stadium.

Suddenly, the scoreboard read 31-29, and if not for a bonehead facemask penalty, BC would get the ball back. Florida State survives in a win that felt like a loss. DJ Lundy and Rodney Hill seemed calm in the press conference, but this performance will not fly next week at Clemson — or against most of the schedule remaining.

Norvell mentions three words over and over again during press conferences: Consistency, intensity, and speed. Each one of these words plagued the Seminoles yesterday and is a word that needs to be focused on closer to dissect what went wrong for the Seminoles yesterday.


In his opening statement, Mike Norvell said, “We did not play a full 60 minutes today.” Florida State has not played a complete game since the season began. In the third quarter yesterday, FSU outscored Boston College 28-0, held BC to 11 yards on ten plays, and blew the game wide open. If they play like they did during the other portions of the game, welcome back to a second-tier bowl at the end of the year.

From a holistic standpoint, Florida State does not look like the same team game to game; the numbers reflect that. Situational football was a catastrophe yesterday. Multiple fumbles during special teams play (luckily on one near catastrophic moment, Keon Coleman muffed the ball and it went out of bounds), BC converting 50% on third and fourth down, and losing the turnover battle are unlike how they played against LSU or USM.

Florida State’s success came because of its ability to get off the field on “cash downs” and continue staying on the field when they got the chance (FSU offense 4-5 on 4th down last week). The Seminoles lost the turnover battle for the first time yesterday, aiding the Eagles back into the game instead of making the put-away play with an interception in the last two games. Finally, stopping the quarterback run play lifted FSU to victory against the Tigers and Southern Mississippi and would be their number #1 reason for a loss against Boston College. After mostly holding Jayden Daniels in check two weeks ago, Castellanos ran all over the FSU defense, continually making his biggest plays in the most significant moments and keeping Boston College in the game. Consistency did not make the trip to Boston; hopefully, the Seminoles packed it with them on the way to South Carolina.


No player will outright say it, but Florida State got trapped yesterday. All week at practice for Southern Mississippi, the intensity was through the roof because everyone knew it was the letdown game. FSU decided to delay its trap game for the following week. On a red bandana day, the Seminoles would always have difficulty matching the energy from Boston College. Florida State did not look ready for play yesterday. The defense had three busted coverages on the first drive, resulting in a touchdown, and when the game started to get close, both sides of the ball wilted. There seemed to be a lack of energy on the sideline, which transpired to the field.

After going up by 21 points, the sideline took a deep breath, and the result almost led to an almost unimaginable loss. Florida State constantly mentions its veteran presence, but where were the leaders yesterday? They were not ready to play coming out at the start of the game, and they were pushed around in the 4th quarter. A lack of intensity and focus is at the top of why it happened.

Although it may sound like Florida State is the worst team in the country, I am buying stock and not selling because this will not be an issue every week. I do not doubt that next week against Clemson, Florida State will bring the energy and fight. This week of practice should be challenging, fast, and physical.

Good teams play bad games. Even Georgia almost blew it on the road to Missouri last year. A few years ago, Florida State would be the team to implode and lose a game as a four-touchdown favorite, and they did not today. If anything, this wake-up call is what they need going into Clemson, helping eliminate the question on what the standard is going into another noon kickoff on Saturday.

The Seminoles, at their best, still look like a college football playoff contender.

But the post-LSU honeymoon phase is over. The cracks on this team are starting to show.

Get it right this week, and FSU goes 4-0 into their bye with three straight home games after that.

Get it wrong, a season that once looked magical will end in misery.