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BC running back Pat Garwo is in the end zone with the Eagles' first touchdown scored early in the third quarter, which gave the Eagles the energy that was missing in the first half against Florida State.
BC running back Pat Garwo is in the end zone with the Eagles' first touchdown scored early in the third quarter, which gave the Eagles the energy that was missing in the first half against Florida State.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

For two-plus quarters Saturday, the Boston College football team looked sluggish, disjointed, and simply out of sorts against Florida State.

The Eagles fell behind by 16 at the half and 23 early in the third, and their chances of staging what would have been the biggest comeback in program history seemed bleak.

“We started off slow and flat,” quarterback Phil Jurkovec said. “I’m not sure exactly why. We just didn’t have energy.”

Then suddenly, following a Pat Garwo touchdown midway through the third quarter, the Eagles resembled the team they have been for the bulk of the season when Jurkovec has been healthy. They exploded for 20 unanswered points in a span of less than 13 minutes, putting a major scare into Florida State before FSU snatched back the momentum.

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The Seminoles came up with a critical interception with 1:42 remaining, as the Eagles fell, 26-23, at Alumni Stadium. Boston College (6-5, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) nearly gave its fans another thrilling victory, but instead, the result was an agonizing defeat.

“I’m proud that we didn’t go down,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “We fought back. It does say a lot about our team. Trust me, I’m definitely still very angry about losing this game, but our guys fought back. We just need to start faster.”

The Seminoles (5-6, 4-4) dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half, racking up 231 yards and holding BC to 95. Florida State pummeled Jurkovec (10 for 24, 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 17 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD) and gave him minimal time to throw. The Seminoles stopped both the run and the pass, and when Jurkovec did have some breathing room, he missed throws that are typically automatic.

FSU built a 19-3 halftime advantage on a 16-yard touchdown grab from Ontaria Wilson late in the first quarter, a 7-yard TD reception from Lawrance Toafili early in the second, a Kalen DeLoach safety late in the second, and a Ryan Fitzgerald 36-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining.

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Freshman Connor Lytton drilled a 46-yard field goal early in the second for the Eagles, but it was all FSU in the half. BC’s offensive line, which has been elite at times and inconsistent at others this season, struggled to stymie the Seminoles, and BC’s defense had trouble slowing down slithery quarterback Jordan Travis (20 for 34, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 13 carries, 58 yards).

“We needed to play faster today,” Hafley said. “They got us out in space. They really spread us out, and their players made our players miss. We’ve got to get more people to the ball.”

The Eagles, who erased a 21-7 second-quarter deficit just a week ago in a 41-30 road triumph over Georgia Tech, came roaring back once more. A 3-yard score from Garwo on fourth and goal, a 3-yard run from Jurkovec on fourth and goal, and a 36-yard bomb from Jurkovec to Flowers sliced the deficit to 26-23 with 10:21 remaining.

FSU bottled up Flowers in the first half and held him without a catch, but from there he juked his way for a 44-yard gain, scored his third touchdown in the last two games, and moved into fifth place in BC history with 17 in his career. He finished with three catches for 92 yards and gave the Eagles some much-needed moxie.

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“They had a lot of pressure in the first half, so it was hard to throw the ball,” Flowers said. “In the second half, our offensive line came out and played better, so we had more time to throw the rock around.”

Trailing by 3 with plenty of time, the Eagles got the ball back at their own 11 with 8 minutes left following another key stop by the defense. Jurkovec, Garwo, and Flowers orchestrated a methodical drive that put BC into FSU territory, but on fourth and 10, the Seminoles got to Jurkovec one final time.

He had no choice but to loft the ball into space and hope that Flowers could make another play, but FSU’s Akeem Dent leaped up to corral the interception and curb BC’s valiant comeback attempt.

Jurkovec said the Eagles always felt they were capable of rallying, even when the lead ballooned to 26-3. They believed even more when Garwo scored, and even more when Jurkovec and Flowers delivered, but in the end, it wasn’t quite enough.

BC is set to host Wake Forest next Saturday to close out the regular season before heading to a bowl game. Hafley knows there’s more football to be played.

“Our guys are definitely hurting right now, but we’ll get them back,” Hafley said. “We’ve got two football games left, and I’m excited for that.”

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec and teammates celebrate after the quarterback’s 3-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec and teammates celebrate after the quarterback’s 3-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Florida State defensive back Akeem Dent sealed the win with this interception of a pass intended for Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) late in the fourth quarter.
Florida State defensive back Akeem Dent sealed the win with this interception of a pass intended for Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) late in the fourth quarter. Barry Chin/Globe Staff
 Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers is in the end zone beating Florida State defensive back Jarvis Brownlee Jr. for a touchdown reception that brought the Eagles within three points of FSU 23-26 late in the fourth quarter.
Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers is in the end zone beating Florida State defensive back Jarvis Brownlee Jr. for a touchdown reception that brought the Eagles within three points of FSU 23-26 late in the fourth quarter. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Trevor Hass can be reached at trevor.hass@globe.com.