Prepare for the worst, Eagles fans, because with Boston College heading to Tallahassee, Florida to take on the Seminoles of Florida State, the rudderless Eagles are heading into one of their toughest match ups of the season. Fresh off a 45-17 victory over the Miami Hurricanes, it is fair to say that Florida State is clicking offensively and defensively.
Led by senior quarterback Christian Ponder, a pre-season first team ACC selection, Florida State’s offense currently ranks 18th in the nation with 36.7 points per game. So far this season, Ponder has accumulated 1017 yards with 10 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a highly efficient quarterback rating of 133.6. Surprisingly though, it the Seminole’s rushing attack which has propelled Florida State’s offensive success. Behind the three-headed monster of running backs Chris Thompson (9 yards per carry), Jermaine Thomas (5.9 yards per carry), and Ty Jones (7.9 yards per carry), the Seminoles have accumulated 223.5 rushing yards per game, ranking them 16th in the nation.
Defensively, the Seminole’s have been even more impressive, ranking 16th in the nation in points against, allowing only 15.7 points per game, and only once giving up more than 20 points (to Oklahoma, who defeated the Seminole’s 47-17). Florida State’s defense, while not complex in its schemes, is amongst one of the most athletic in the nation. Because of their athleticism, Florida State challenges teams to beat their man coverage, a coverage that allows them to consistently bring extra pressure.
Just like the previous three opponents the Eagles have played, look for Florida State to stack the box, forcing the BC offense to challenge, and beat the tight man coverage of the FSU cornerbacks on the outside. Unless Rettig proves early that he is the next coming of Matt Ryan, the Eagles will have a tough time establishing the pass against such an aggressive defense.
Unfortunately, with Florida State most likely stacking the box — especially given the struggles of the BC offensive line — the Eagles will also struggle in establishing the run. Against a team that will have its ears peeled back, and that will consistently bring its safeties and linebackers on blitzes, the Eagles best chance may be to establish screen passes to Montel Harris early in the game, with the hope of quelling the aggressiveness of the FSU defense. If the Eagles do find success with the screen pass, it may open more room for both the Eagles passing attack, and rushing attack.
On defense, the Eagles will be tested by the Seminole’s athleticism. By never leaving the base 4-3, head coach Frank Spaziani and defensive coordinator Bill McGovern place a heavy responsibility on the linebackers, often requiring them to cover slot receivers, and to pick up running backs out of the backfield. Against a hyper-athletic FSU squad, that means a mismatch by design on almost every play. As the Eagles saw against Russell Wilson, mature quarterbacks, such as redshirt senior Christian Ponder, are easily able to dissect the soft-zone of the Eagles. To add on to the Eagles woes, with an abundance of playmakers on offense, small gains can often turn into big plays for the Seminoles offense, especially against a team that has been tackling as poorly as the Eagles in recent weeks.
The Eagles, unfortunately, do not have much of a chance heading into Tallahassee to take on a Florida State team that is playing as well as it has in years. In past years, when the Eagles were able to defeat the Seminoles, Montel Harris was able to consistently slice the Seminole defense for large gains. If the Eagles have a shot at winning, then the same has to happen on Saturday. Unfortunately, with an offensive line that has struggled, and an FSU defense that will simply not respect the pass, it does not appear likely that Harris will find much success on Saturday. Defensively, the Eagles have played poorly as of late, and Florida State’s offense is one of the best in the ACC. In other words, the Seminoles, who have scored at will on every opponent except Oklahoma, should have no trouble putting up points on the Eagles.
Prediction: Florida State 49 – Boston College 16
About the Author
Written by Ian Boynton
Student at Boston College. Avid fan of St. Louis Rams, Boston Red Sox, as well as all Boston College Sports.