It didn’t take long for Florida State to establish itself as the more athletic, explosive, and physical team against Boston College on Saturday.
Trey Benson returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to the house, breaking several tackles and making it look easy. The play provided an early glimpse into what the bulk of the night would look like, as the Seminoles smashed the Eagles, 44-14, in Tallahassee, Fla., in a game that was even more lopsided than the score indicates.
“You go up against a team like this, in an environment like this, and you give up an opening kick for a touchdown, it’s usually not going to end well,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said.
Omarion Cooper intercepted Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec (15 for 23, 105 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) a minute later, then Lawrance Toafili scored from 1 yard out a minute after that.
The Eagles (1-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) looked out of sorts right away as the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0) built a two-touchdown lead 2:08 into the game.
Boston College turned in another dud on the road, adding another uninspiring and disjointed performance to a young season full of them.
“Right now, we’re not good when we go down,” Hafley said. “I think it affects us, and we need to fix that.”
The Seminoles proved, once again, that they’re capable of contending in the conference. They entered as 17.5-point favorites and had the luxury of playing in front of a sellout crowd of nearly 80,000 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The result ended up even more lopsided than expected. Benson added a 15-yard score to make it 21-0 through one. Ryan Fitzgerald drilled a 30-yarder early in the second, and Jordan Travis (16 for 26, 321 yards, 1 TD) hit Kentron Poitier for a 31-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left to give the Seminoles a 31-0 halftime lead.
Hafley said the Seminoles didn’t throw much at the Eagles that they hadn’t prepared for during the week. It was simply about FSU executing at a higher level and getting BC out of its element.
“We’ve got to play better,” BC linebacker Vinny DePalma said. “We’ve got to execute better and tackle.”
Florida State racked up 327 yards in the half, compared with 64 for BC. BC averaged just 1.5 yards per rush, totaled four first downs, and ran 27 plays to FSU’s 44.
The way both teams’ seasons have unfolded, it wasn’t a surprise that FSU made its presence felt early. It was a surprise, however, that the Eagles allowed 31 points in the half. They hadn’t surrendered more than 27 in a game this season, but they had no answer for Travis and Co.
Treshaun Ward extended the lead to 37-0 on a 22-yard rush early in the third. The Eagles finally got on the board with 3:31 left in the quarter, on a 5-yard toss from Jurkovec to freshman Alex Broome, but it was far too little and far too late.
FSU led, 37-7, through three, then Benson scored again, from 36 yards out, with 9:30 remaining. Boston College backup quarterback Emmett Morehead hit freshman Joseph Griffin Jr. for a 4-yard TD strike in the final minute.
BC managed just 235 total yards, while FSU finished with a whopping 530. The Eagles are now 5-15 in the series and have lost four straight.
There were some bright spots for BC. DePalma registered a game-high 11 tackles, Broome and Griffin flaunted their potential, and Zay Flowers eclipsed 150 career receptions.
There weren’t nearly enough, however, and this was another setback for a team struggling to gain momentum.
“We’re not playing great right now, so we’ve got to pick it up together and fight through for the next week,” running back Pat Garwo said.
The Eagles host Louisville (2-2, 0-2) on Saturday at noon. BC is in desperate need of a win before a particularly tough stretch with Clemson and Wake Forest following the Cardinals.
“We’ve just got to stay true to what we believe in and how we started this year,” Garwo said. “Together.”
Trevor Hass can be reached at email@example.com.