This Saturday at noon FSU will be in Chesnut Hill, MA to take on the Boston College Eagles on the ACC Network.
Boston College is 5-4 with wins over Virginia Tech, Richmond, NC State and Syracuse and losses to Kansas, Wake Forest, Louisville and Clemson.
The last time the two schools played was in 2018 and FSU won the game 22-21 in Tallahassee. The last time FSU went to Boston the result was completely different as Boston College and AJ Dillon dominated the Seminoles 35-3.
It is expected to be 40° and sunny at kickoff on Saturday.
Obviously quite a lot has happened this week. After getting embarrassed by the rival Hurricanes in Doak, Willie Taggart was relieved of his duties as head coach. Odell Haggins will finish out the season as the team’s interim head coach just as he did in 2017. Former analyst Jim Leavitt has been promoted to an on-field position to fill the extra coaching spot.
Athletic director David Coburn said the coaching search would probably last until the end of the month. With that information it seems less likely that FSU will land Bob Stoops since he is the only candidate currently in his off-season. Mark Stoops, Kentucky head coach, Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach, Dave Clawson, Wake Forest head coach and Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator, seem like the most likely choices at this time.
Captain and defensive tackle Marvin Wilson had surgery on his hand on Monday and will miss the remainder of the season. He is currently the number 25 player on ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s draft prospect rankings.
Observations from the last game
This was the worst game FSU has played on offense all season. The Seminoles managed just 203 yards, their worst performance since 2006. This forced the defense to try to defend a short field. They were able to hold their own for most of the game except for when they were unable to get to the quarterback with the blitz. The rushing defense only gave up 60 yards on the ground, but got beat by the deep ball too many times.
Florida State offense versus Boston College defense
The Boston College defense will be one of the worst units that FSU has faced this season. The Eagles are 99th in the bowl subdivision in scoring defense with giving up 33.8 points per game. Kendal Briles will most likely use quick passes due to the suspect tackling of the Boston College secondary. DJ Matthews, Keith Gavin and Tamarrion Terry should get targeted early and often. With BC’s poor tackling and only 5 receivers available for Florida State, Cam Akers will get passes from out of the backfield and could even be split out wide to start the play. Even with all the poor tackling and the bad yardage numbers, the Eagles have been opportunistic as they have forced 14 turnovers this season.
The best player on this side of the ball for the Eagles is linebacker Max Richardson. Richardson is the team leader and 23rd in the FBS in tackles with 87. He also has 13.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2019. Linebacker John Lamot has had a good year as well with 56 tackles. Other defensive leaders are safety Mike Palmer, who has two interceptions, and defensive end Brandon Barlow, who has 2.5 sacks.
Florida State defense versus Boston College offense
Boston College features one of the nation’s best rushing attacks led by an experienced offensive line and running back AJ Dillon. The Eagles use this combination quite a bit as Dillon has 15 more rushing attempts (232 attempts) than the entire team has passing attempts. On those 232 carries Dillon has 1,286 yards, which is 2nd in the FBS, and 13 TDs, 6th in the FBS.
When Dillion is not in the game BC turns to David Bailey, who is just as big and powerful as Dillon. Bailey has 698 yards rushing and 6 rushing TDs this season.
Boston College’s quarterback coming into the year was Anthony Brown but he has missed the last three games due to an injury. Former walk-on Dennis Grosel has taken his spot under center and will start against the Seminoles. Grosel is an excellent runner and has not been asked to throw the ball too much.
BC’s run a heavy offense has been tough to stop for most opponents as the Eagles have rushed for 273 yards per game, good enough for 5th in the FBS. Last weekend at Syracuse they piled up 496 yards on the ground in route to a 58-27 victory. When the Eagles throw ball they like to target one of their three tight ends, Hunter Long, Jake Burt and Korab Idrizi.
After an abysmal start to the season against the run, the Seminoles have done considerably better the past few games except for the Clemson game. With this in mind it was looking like FSU might have a chance to slow the Eagles ground attack to force them into passing situations. The Seminoles ability to do that took a major hit with the news of Marvin Wilson’s injury. Backup defensive tackles Cedric Wood and Tru Thompson will need to play their best games of their careers to slow down the Eagles’ big backs.
The special teams units are almost even according to the stats. Ricky Agauyo is only 5/10 this season, but he has a couple of missed field goals from over 50 yards and his counterpart Aaron Boumerhi is 8/10 but has yet to attempt one from over 50.
After a successful start to Tommy Martin’s first year as the starting punter, he had his worst game into 2019 after he had a couple punts go off the side of his foot. Grant Carlson has been steady with 12 punts over 50 yards and 12 that have been downed inside the 20. FSU has the better athletes returning kicks but the numbers suggest this is not as big of an advantage as most would think.
After an emotional week and facing one of the nations best offenses it felt like it would be a tough game for the Seminoles to win. But after hearing that FSU would be without its leader and best player on defense, Wilson, that task got that much harder. I think the two-headed monster of Dillon and Bailey will put up close to their usual numbers. At the same time Alex Hornibrook and Cam Akers will be able to move the ball on the BC defense as well. But at the end of the day it will not be enough. Florida State 32 Boston College 42.