CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – In a game that saw the Florida State defense set a season high of 11 tackles-for-loss, Keir Thomas and Fabien Lovett pressured Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec one final time to force an interception to force an Akeem Dent to hang on to a 26-23, improving to 5-6.
“The defense kept battling and overcoming adversity,” FSU head coach Mike Norvell said. “All the things that showed up, but I’m so proud of our football team to find a way at the end. From all of the situations we worked to be able to put ourselves in a position to close off and end a game like that. It went down to the last second and I’m really pleased with our players and their execution.”
In front of 33,363 at Alumni Stadium, the Noles held the Eagles’ (6-5) offense to back-to-back three and outs to start the game, and FSU capitalized with an eight play scoring drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Travis to Ontaria Wilson.
After Boston College cut the lead to four with a field goal, Travis tossed his second touchdown of the day to Lawrance Toafili, who returned to the lineup after missing two games. His seven-yard touchdown catch put FSU up 14-3.
Boston College responded with a drive of their own, but the stingy FSU defense stuffed the Eagles on fourth and two at the FSU 11 to take over on downs.
After a 39-yard punt from Alex Mastromanno to pin the Eagles at the 10 yard line, Thomas recorded his first sack of the game, and Kalen DeLoach sniffed out a screen pass and tackled the runner in the end zone for a safety to make the game 16-3. Ryan Fitzgerald tacked on three points with a 36 yard field goal to give the Noles a 19-3 lead into halftime.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Noles went 75 yards in just 2:32 thanks to an acrobatic 15-yard touchdown catch from Malik McClain to take a commanding 26-3 lead.
However, the Eagles stormed back with 20 unanswered points and the ball with 8:00 to go in the fourth quarter.
Boston College drove down the field looking to tie or win the game, but the defense held at FSU’s 37 yard-line, forcing the Eagles to throw on fourth and nine. Jurkovec heaved a pass as Thomas and Lovett applied pressure and Dent snagged his first-career interception, sealing the win for the Noles.
Jarques McClellion led the Noles with eight tackles, a career high, while Thomas posted a season-high seven tackles and tied his season high of two sacks. Thomas has now recorded 13 tackles in the past two games.
Offensively, Travis once again led the offense going 20-34 with 251 yards and three touchdowns, tying a career high.
Travis spread the ball around to 10 different receivers with Wilson leading the group with three catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Ja’Khi Douglas added four catches for 44 yards while McDonald secured three balls for 54 yards.
Jashaun Corbin led the Noles on the ground with 62 yards on 13 carries. Treshaun Ward added 25 yards on four carries.
“We’re going to continue to work away,” Norvell added. “It sets us up a huge week ahead. To be able to stand in front of those guys in that locker room to know they’ve battled back to this point. We’re 0-4 at the beginning of the season and not many people gave us a chance and we’re going into this last week with an opportunity to earn one more and that’s special.”
The Noles will battle rival Florida next week at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The game will begin at noon and be broadcast live on ESPN.