TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jimbo Fisher first noticed that things were a little different when he turned on his T.V. this afternoon and, instead of the usual slate of college football games, saw soap operas and Law and Order re-runs.
Just one of the many quirks of playing on a Friday.
Things were different once the Seminoles took the field, too – and in way that Fisher can get behind.
In a season full of close contests and stressful finishes, the Seminoles on Friday flipped the script against Boston College.
They started fast, jumped out to an early lead and finished with most of their starters watching from the sidelines as FSU’s reserves polished off a 45-7 victory over the Eagles.
The Seminoles improved to 7-3, 4-3 in ACC play. They’ll wrap up their conference slate next week at Syracuse.
“It felt weird,” Fisher said with a laugh. “We used to do that a lot.”
Indeed, for as unique as Friday’s setting was – it marked FSU’s first Friday home game since 1957 – the game itself felt a lot like old times.
The Seminoles dominated an ACC opponent from the start, forcing a quick punt after the opening kickoff then scoring on their first drive of the game.
FSU built a 21-point lead by halftime and appeared to be cruising toward a shutout before BC punched in a late score against the Seminoles’ second-team defense.
Until that point, the Eagles had moved across the 50-yard line just once.
“That was my Friday talk – learning about getting ahead and staying ahead,” Fisher said. “We need to play from ahead and finish, and we did all of those things.”
The Seminoles appear to have dodged a major bullet, too.
With FSU leading 35-0 late in the third quarter, quarterback Deondre Francois absorbed a late blow from Boston College’s Zach Allen and got up favoring his right shoulder.
Allen was flagged for roughing the passer and Francois left the game with what was later announced as a shoulder contusion. He didn’t return, but Fisher said afterward that he was fine and is expected to play at Syracuse next week.
“It didn’t dislocate or anything, just a bruise,” Fisher said. “We’ll heal him up and be ready to go.”
Francois was in the midst of an efficient performance at the time of his injury. Aided by a 9-of-11 first quarter, Francois finished 16 for 24 with 183 yards and three touchdowns – two of them to sophomore Auden Tate.
Fifth-year senior Sean Maguire, who took part in Senior Day ceremonies prior to the game, threw for 53 yards and two touchdowns in relief.
“I gave Sean a new nickname: ‘Mr. Always-Ready,’” junior running back Dalvin Cook said. “…We’re just lucky to have him as a teammate and to be a part of this offense. Sean’s a great teammate and a great guy to be in the locker room with, and I love him to death.”
Tate paced FSU’s receivers with career-highs in catches (six) and yardage (101) to go along with those two scores. And junior Travis Rudolph chipped in six catches for 81 yards, including a 20-yard catch-and-run down the sideline and into the end zone that put FSU up 28-0.
Cook, meanwhile, continued to flirt with Warrick Dunn’s career rushing record, but his date with history will have to wait. Cook entered the game needing 127 yards to surpass Dunn’s total of 3,959. He finished with 108 – reaching the century mark for the sixth time this season – and easily could have had more had Fisher not pulled his starters in the fourth quarter.
“I went over to him and said I’d have never forgiven myself if he went out there in the fourth quarter – with what this team can still achieve and the year it can still have – and for him to get injured at the end of the football game. …
“And he said, ‘Coach, we won the game. That’s what I’m here for.’ (That’s) another sign of why he’s Dalvin.”
Boston College’s offense has struggled for most of the season, and the Seminoles made sure not to break the trend.
The Seminoles limited the Eagles to an anemic 146 total yards and surrendered just 3.0 yards per play.
That total was aided in large part by nine tackles for loss and three sacks of BC quarterback Patrick Towles, who completed just 3 of 11 passes for 29 yards.
Linebackers Matthew Thomas and Ro’Derrick Hoskins tied for the team lead with six tackles, and DeMarcus Walker was credited with 0.5 sacks to bring his season total to 11.
“It was effort and execution,” Walker said. “We didn’t do anything special. We just lined up and played football.”
Some things stay the same, regardless of when the game is played.