With just six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Boston College had possession. They held a five point lead over FSU, and the only goal in mind was to keep the ball moving and get the clock to drop to zero.
The Eagles were doing exactly what they had to do. Quarterback Anthony Brown hit wide-receiver Kobay White for 15 yards on 3rd and 10. Running back AJ Dillon picking up some nice yards on the ground. The game seemed to be in BC’s hands.
Then it happened. The clock was hovering below the three minute mark, and BC was sitting at 4th and 1. Throughout the entire game, BC had been aggressive on fourth down, converting on 3 of 6 attempts. But it was here where Steve Addazio reverted back to the coach we know and love.
But, he outthought himself. He decided to not go for it on 4th and 1, despite arguably the best half-back in the ACC standing on his sideline. After failing to tempt FSU to jump offsides and instead receiving a delay of game penalty, BC punted it back deep into FSU territory.
FSU had 2:31 left on the clock, still down by five. After an 8 yard run by running-back Cam Akers and a short scramble by quarterback Deondre Francois, the Seminoles picked up a first down and had 1:49 left on the clock. Francois hiked the ball, dropped back, and saw wide-receiver Tamorrion Terry streaming up the right flank. As if in slow motion, Francois lobbed up a perfect ball right as Terry blew past his defender. He would take it for 74 yards, giving FSU the lead and the victory, 22-21.
Steve Addazio, on his decision to not go for it on fourth, stated in his post game interview: “Honestly thinking about it (going for it on fourth) really wasn’t the right thing to do, and maybe it would’ve had a different outcome, but it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.”
Addazio later emphasized how leaving points on the field, such as a Brown interception in the red zone and a missed field goal, ultimately was the reason for the loss.
It is a haunting loss defined more by what BC failed to do then by what FSU managed to accomplish. At times, BC was vastly undisciplined. Towards the end of the first, two penalties pushed BC from the goal line to the 12 yard line. The worse field position eventually led to a missed kick by Colton Lichtenberg.
Play calling on the day was also highly questionable. Addazio couldn’t move away from trick plays, with most ending in either a loss of yards or an incomplete pass. In the running game, Dillon has struggled with injuries all year, never seemingly being at 100%,.Yet Addazio ran him 37 times. Travis Levy, the second string back, only tallied three carries.
Dillon reached the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the season, and, while he showed grit all-day, it was far from efficient running. He ended the day with 116 yards and 2 TDs on 37 attempts—but averaged just 3.1 yards per carry—a couple yards shy of his season-long average per attempt.
Anthony Brown experienced an inconsistent day, where it seemed as if every great play was followed up by a misread. In the first half, he threw two interceptions and completed just 4 of 12 passes for 37 yards. In the second half he played a bit better, throwing for a touchdown and 260 yards through the air. Nevertheless, on the final BC drive of the game, he went 0-4 on a combination of wide receiver drops and poor throws.
Brown ended the evening with 297 yards and a TD while completing just 50% of his passes.
Although the defense gave up a few big plays, they played strong through most of the day. Early in the first quarter, star defensive end Zach Allen blocked FSU’s first field goal attempt. Allen ended the day with 6 tackles, a sack, and a blocked field goal.
On top of that, in the first half, Brandon Sebastian and Hamp Cheevers both managed to pick off Francois. Yet, BC failed to score on either possession following the forced turnovers.
FSU had their own issues on the day, but the magic of playing at home sparked a fire underneath them.
FSU’s Akers ended the day with an efficient 110 yards and a TD, a big turnaround for a team that has averaged just 86 rushing yards per game to this point.
Francois struggled through most of the game prior to his 74 yard bomb, ending with 248 yards, 2 interceptions, and a 47% completion percentage.
With this win, FSU keeps their bowl hopes alive, as they improve to 5-6 on the season. If they can knock off Florida next week, the Seminoles can extend their bowl game streak to 37 consecutive years.
As for BC, this loss will certainly push them out of the rankings next week and most likely for the rest of the season. This season is shaping up to be a lot more similar to the rest of Addazio’s tenure as a coach than most would’ve thought, despite a few strong victories over the likes of Miami and Virginia Tech. The Eagles now fall to 7-4 and will look to take on No. 12 Syracuse next week at Alumni Stadium at noon.
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