No. 3 Florida State (10-0, 7-0 ACC) vs. Boston College (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
(Note: We’re using the College Football Playoff Committee’s rankings, because they are what will decide the matchups that determine the national championship.)
When/Where: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300)
TV/Radio: ABC or ESPN2/Seminole IMG Radio Network (103.1 FM in Tallahassee)
Boston College Eagles
Coach: Steve Addazio (13-10 in two seasons at Boston College, 26-21 overall)
Last game: Boston College jumped out to an early lead over Louisville but couldn’t overcome four interceptions by quarterback Tyler Murphy in a 38-19 loss to the Cardinals on Nov. 8. The Eagles managed just 332 yards of total offense.
Last game vs. Florida State: BC gave FSU’s 2013 team its only true scare of the regular season, building a 14-point lead before eventually succumbing, 48-34. It was Florida State’s closest margin of victory before the national championship game.
Boston College vs. Florida State all-time: Florida State leads the all-time series 8-4 and is 3-2 against the Eagles at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU is 5-3 since BC joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005.
1957: BOSTON COLLEGE 20, Florida State 7
1976: Florida State 28, No. 13 BOSTON COLLEGE 9
1980: FLORIDA STATE 41, Boston College 7
2005: Florida State 28, BOSTON COLLEGE 17
2006: No. 22 Boston College 24, FLORIDA STATE 19
2007: Florida State 27, No. 2 BOSTON COLLEGE 17
2008: Boston College 27, No. 20 FLORIDA STATE 17
2009: BOSTON COLLEGE 28, Florida State 21
2010: No. 16 FLORIDA STATE 24, Boston College 19
2011: Florida State 38, BOSTON COLLEGE 7
2012: No. 12 FLORIDA STATE 51, Boston College 7
2013: No. 8 Florida State 48, Boston College 34
2014: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE vs. Boston College, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game
Boston College: It’s a little too obvious to pick the quarterback, but Tyler Murphy is the choice for different reasons. Even though Murphy doesn’t throw much (129.3 yards per game), he’s one of the most effective running QBs in the nation. Through 10 games, Murphy, who transferred to BC from Florida, has run for 1,011 yards. That’s tops nationally among quarterbacks and just 56 yards behind the conference record for single-season rushing by a quarterback.
Linebacker Josh Keyes is one of the most dynamic players on a BC defense that ranks 16th nationally. In addition to 56 tackles, Keyes has a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Florida State: As usual, BC boasts a stout run defense. The Eagles allow just 96.6 yards per game, the fourth-fewest in the country. Which means that FSU can take control in a key area if it’s able to find some holes in the front-seven. Dalvin Cook, who has seen his role increase exponentially in recent weeks, could play a big role Saturday. He’s run for 380 yards and five TDs in FSU’s last give games.
Jalen Ramsey was a force on defense last week, the product, he said, of finally becoming more comfortable in his new “star” nickel back position. Ramsey will be at the forefront against the Eagles as he’s asked to cover BC’s receivers while also keeping an eye on the elusive quarterback Murphy.
Total offense: FSU: 446.6 YPG (39th nationally); BC: 399.1 (65th)
Scoring offense: FSU: 37.1 PPG (16th); BC: 26.6 PPG (78th)
Passing offense: FSU: 318.3 YPG (11th); BC: 135.1 YPG (120th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 128.3 YPG (102nd); BC: 264.0 (11th)
Total defense: FSU: 385.8 YPG (56th); BC: 323.5 (16th)
Scoring defense: FSU: 22.8 PPG (34th); BC: 21.9 PPG (23rd)
Passing defense: FSU: 246.1 YPG (93rd); BC: 226.9 YPG (63rd)
Rushing defense: FSU: 139.7 YPG (36th); UM: 96.6 (4th)
“To do it on the road (was important), because before we had faltered a little bit earlier in the year when our winning streak started. You have to learn to (come back on the road). Once you do that and you grow from it, I think it was a big turning point. — FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on how FSU’s win at BC last year sparked its run to the national title
“They’ve shown on film that when that game is in the balance and on the line, I mean, they play at a high level that I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s really impressive.” – Boston College coach Steve Addazio on FSU’s second-half comebacks this season
“If a quarterback is going to take off like a running back, you definitely want to make him pay for just taking off like that. – FSU defensive back Tyler Hunter on the need to be physical with BC quarterback Tyler Murphy
“We talked about the whole situation and how lucky you can be as far as the opportunity you have in life. You never know what happens in this world. You count your blessings every day for the things that we have.” – Fisher on what he said to the team in the wake of an on-campus shooting early Thursday morning. A gunman opened fire on FSU’s Strozier Library and injured three people before he was killed by police.
This one is maybe a touch overplayed, but, come on, it’s the most famous play in BC history and one of the most famous plays in college football history. Plus, it happened at the expense of a rival.
Bobby Bowden weighs in on FSU’s standing in latest playoff rankings, writes Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel
By the numbers: Florida State’s case for No. 1, by David Hale of ESPN.com
Our own Bob Thomas takes a look at FSU’s five most perfect Novembers
Tyler Murphy finally gets his wish, writes Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald
There may never have been an atmosphere like the one we’ll see at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday. The university, as well as the city of Tallahassee, was shaken by the tragedy that took place early Thursday morning. But there’s also been an incredible show of support for the FSU community, as students and staff have gathered at various places around campus to pray, sing and be with each other.
Football, of course, doesn’t mean much when compared to such harrowing life experiences. But, as athletics director Stan Wilcox said in his statement yesterday, sports “can help in unifying both the student body and community.”
He’s right about that.
Between the emotional backdrop from the week’s events and the fact that so many beloved seniors will be celebrated before the game, it should make for a special day for everyone who loves Florida State.