As we get closer and closer to the start of the 2021 Florida State Seminoles football season, Tomahawk Nation is breaking down each opponent the Noles will face over the course of the year.
Opponent: Boston College Eagles
Date: Saturday, November 20
Last matchup: 38-31, FSU (2019)
After facing off every year from 2005 to 2019, Florida State and Boston College didn’t play in 2020 due to the ACC’s revised pandemic scheduling.
The Eagles scratched and clawed their way to a 6-5 record, with its 40-14 loss to Virginia Tech early in the year being its only true blowout loss. It’s last year’s performance that has the expectations high in Chestnut Hill, with the ACC media recently picking Boston College to finish third in the Atlantic.
Not exactly the forte of the Steve Addazio “dudes being dudes” era, BC’s offense should be the strength of the team in 2021 with wide receiver Zay Flowers, offensive guard Zion Johnson and center Alec Lindstrom all earning All-ACC Preseason honors, with Flowers and quarterback Phil Jurkovec also receiving votes for Preseason ACC Player of the Year.
Flowers (933 total yards, 10 total touchdowns) leads a deep group of receivers, who will be fed by Jurkovec (2558 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions). All five starters return along the offensive line, establishing a strong unit with experience.
The main concern? Possibly running backs.
From our SB Nation sister site BC Interrupted:
The biggest question for this position group is: Who will be the goal-line and short-yardage back? [Travis Levy] isn’t much of a bruiser at 198lbs and has been better suited where he can use his speed and agility, including returning kicks. [Patrick Garwo III] has that much thicker build you’d look for in a goal-line back, but he’s a bit undersized at 5’9” as was mentioned earlier and may struggle in the role David Bailey and AJ Dillon were so successful at. Don’t count him out for that role, but I wouldn’t bet on it for him. Looking at the rest of the position group, it’s unclear who else could do it...
And here comes the tradeoff for the uptick in offensive prowess — a defense that faltered in 2020 and may continue to in 2021. Our friends at BC Interrupted expect a dip in a defense that already had its struggles last season, though the defensive backfield should be the strength as new coach Jeff Hafley has emphasized it in recruiting.
“On defense, we have to get off the field on third down,” Hafley said at the ACC Kickoff media event. “And we have to play better in the red zone. With really a limited spring football and limited training camp, we were really vanilla. I think you’re going to see some new things on defense that are going to help us do that. We’re going to eliminate explosives, we’re going to play better on third down, we’re going to get better in the red zone, especially in that low red zone area.”
Florida State vs. Boston College Final Thoughts
Late in the year, this game is going to likely be crucial for FSU’s chances at ending the season successfully. If the Seminoles find themselves at five wins heading into the final three-game stretch of the season, winning this game is going to be their best shot at hitting the postseason. It’s going to be a challenge facing off against a team that in 2020 experienced similar conditions, challenges, and weaknesses as FSU and still managed to reel off six wins, but winning these type of games are going to be crucial to the Norvell tenure.