By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For all his accomplishments, awards and accolades, Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo entered the Seminoles’ game against Boston College having never made a game-winning field goal.
Not in college, high school, not even in Pop Warner.
But he crossed that one off his list Saturday with a late 26-yard field goal that lifted FSU to a 20-17 win over the Eagles on a rainy afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The kick also offered Aguayo a rare opportunity for atonement. He had earlier missed a field goal attempt for only the third time in his career.
“To win a game, I’d never felt that feeling,” Aguayo said. “I mean, it was a short kick. But I’ve seen other kickers this year miss 19-yard, 20-yard game-winners. So you’ve got to take a make as a make and I’m glad I made it.”
Aguayo’s kick came only a few moments after Boston College’s Mike Knoll pushed a 42-yard attempt wide left.
The miss was a devastating blow for the Eagles, who had mounted a 17-play, 67-yard drive that chewed up nearly nine minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We had a couple shaky points, but I feel we did our duty,” FSU defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell said. “We finally got clicking. We were finally able to get some crucial stops.”
An announced crowd of 82,300 watched as FSU (11-0, 8-0 ACC) extended its school-record winning streak to 27 and clinched a second consecutive perfect ACC record. The Seminoles can seal back-to-back 12-0 regular seasons when Florida visits next week.
Hollywood star and FSU grad Burt Reynolds attended the game and planted Osceola’s spear at midfield right before kickoff.
“Heck of a football game. Fun one to watch, I guess,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “That’s the way they go.”
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston stiff-arms a Boston College defender. Photo by Jeremy Esbrandt
Florida State departed from its usual method on Saturday. Rather than fall into an early deficit and then escape with a furious rally, the Seminoles built an early lead before surviving Boston College’s comeback attempt.
FSU started strong, marching down the field for a 14-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Karlos Williams’ 3-yard touchdown run.
The Seminoles, though, couldn’t turn that momentum into further separation on the scoreboard. The teams traded field goals before BC (6-5, 3-4) struck for a 49-yard touchdown from Tyler Murphy to Shakim Phillips, the apparent result of a blown coverage in FSU’s secondary.
Florida State then took a 17-10 lead into halftime thanks to a 30-yard hookup between Jameis Winston and senior tight end Nick O’Leary.
Winston finished 22 of 31 for 281 yards and was intercepted when a pass deflected off of receiver Rashad Greene’s hands and into the arms of BC’s Ty-Meer Brown.
Saturday marked the first time in 24 games that FSU’s offense didn’t reach 30 points with Winston under center. But his numbers were somewhat hamstrung by wet conditions that led to several drops by FSU receivers.
“(The weather) is kind of in your mind,” Winston said. “Especially with the guys and the routes, seeing the ball in and holding onto the football.”
Greene dropped a pass in the end zone, but bounced back to post eight catches for 106 yards.
He also overcame a second-half arm injury to rewrite two FSU records – career receiving yards (3,613) and consecutive games with at least one catch (40).
“I thought our seniors stepped up good again,” Fisher said. “(Greene) and Nick and those guys up front.”
The Eagles rallied back with a tenacious rushing attack that piled up 240 yards on 51 carries.
BC had three players run for at least 35 yards, including Murphy, whose 21-yard TD run late in the third quarter tied the game at 17.
“I think we played a hell of a football game against them today,” BC coach Steve Addazio said. “Florida State is a very good football team. They played their best football in the second half. They rise up.”
They did that once again with a late, 12-play, 66-yard drive that set up Aguayo’s winner.
Against the nation’s fourth-ranked run defense, FSU ran the ball eight times, down to the Eagles’ 9-yard line.
Dalvin Cook, the freshman from Miami, posted 76 yards on 14 carries to lead the Seminoles in rushing for the third time in four weeks.
“Dalvin is going to be a heck of a football player,” Fisher said, “and he’s really developing into that.”
After the game, attention turned quickly to FSU’s matchup with Florida next week. The Gators are just 6-4 this season and have already announced that coach Will Muschamp won’t return next year.
But like Boston College, UF features a physical, run-heavy offense that could present an obstacle to FSU’s unbeaten regular season.
Fisher, of course, expects nothing less.
“We’re going into battle,” he said. “These games are going to be dogfights. People are going to try and be the one that knocks us out, knocks us off.
“(They’ve) got nothing to lose.”