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Katherine McCabe / Gavel Media

BC Football Comeback Falls Short Versus Florida State

Boston College football hosted Florida State on Saturday afternoon, losing 23-26 in the ACC match-up. Early in the third quarter, the Eagles were down 26-3 but managed to claw their way back before falling just short, turning the ball over on downs on the edge of field goal range late in the fourth quarter.

For most of the game, the Florida State defense put significant pressure on Phil Jurkovec while locking up his receivers, resulting in 17 total rushes by the quarterback.

Penalties were one of the reasons why Boston College was able to get back into this game after falling behind by 23 points in the third quarter. FSU committed 13 penalties, yielding a total of 120 yards to the Eagles.

Zay Flowers ended the day with a couple of huge plays for Boston College, earning 92 yards––a game-high for any player––and a touchdown on three receptions. FSU quarterback Jordan Travis, who recorded three passing touchdowns, ran an offense-by-committee, as FSU had 365 total offensive yards but not a single player with more than 62 yards individually.

Both teams started slowly on offense in the first quarter, punting on the first three drives of the game.

FSU got on the board on their second drive after a BC face-mask penalty advanced them into the red zone on 3rd down. FSU made BC pay immediately with a 16-yard touchdown catch and run by junior wideout Ontaria Wilson, who made the play diving to the left pylon.

BC was able to put some kind of response together with a field goal on the other end. In part thanks to a targeting penalty and ejection on FSU defensive back Jammie Robinson, the Eagles worked their way into the red zone, before a second-down sack and an incomplete pass on third and long stopped their progress. Connor Lytton scored three points on an impressive 46-yard field goal in the beginning of the second quarter.

Florida State got up the field in a hurry on their next drive with four different double-digit yard gains. They capped it off with a 7-yard screen pass out left to Treshaun Ward for the touchdown, extending their lead to 14-3.

BC almost managed to score again on the following drive. Needing points, Jurkovec handed the ball off to Pat Garwo on 4th and two from the  FSU 12 yard line, but Garwo couldn’t quite get the first down and the ball went back to FSU.

The Seminoles got a huge gain on the first play of the drive, a 41-yard catch by Ontaria Wilson up to midfield. But penalties quickly killed the drive as consecutive false starts and illegal snap penalties forced a punt after lining up to go for it on 4th and one at the BC 43. The punt pinned Boston College on their own 10-yard line.

BC couldn’t handle the FSU rush defense, as a sack sent them back to their six yard-line, followed by a short pass to Levy in the end zone that resulted in a safety, extending FSU’s lead to 13 points and winning them the ball back.

They brought the ball back down the field and put up another three points on a 36-yard field goal, making their lead 19-3.

The Eagles went three-and-out on their next drive. Back on defense at the end of the half, they were able to prevent FSU from going into the locker room with any more points as BC’s Marcus Valdez sacked Travis on third down.

But the bleeding continued at the start of the second half as FSU went back onto the field and scored another touchdown, this time a fantastic contested catch by Malik McClain in the corner of the end zone, resulting in FSU’s largest lead of the game, 26-3.

The comeback attempt officially started on the following drive, as Alec Sinkfield returned the kickoff 45 yards. On third and long, Jurkovec couldn’t see any open receivers, but his offensive line came up with blocks that had been missing for most of the game, giving him the room to scramble down the sideline for 17 yards and a first down. Pat Garwo logged Boston College’s first touchdown of the day on fourth and goal at the 3-yard line about halfway through the third quarter, closing the gap to 26-10.

In no-man’s-land around the BC 35, FSU went for it on fourth and five. BC’s Mike Palmer came up with a great deflection, but offsetting flags reset the play. FSU seemed to get the first down on their second try, but a false start set them back five yards, leading to another punt.

After the fortunate defensive stop, the Eagles made a big play on the other end as Zay Flowers gained 44 yards on a catch and run, juking his way past several defenders to get into FSU territory at the 22- yard line as the third quarter ended. After a false start flag and a couple of dangerous incomplete pass attempts by Jurkovec down the middle, he completed one up the middle to Travis Levy for 17 yards on third and 15. On third and goal at the 3-yard line, FSU took away Jurkovec’s targets with some solid zone coverage, and as he looked for an opening, the pass rush got to him, knocking the ball out of his hand as he tried to get rid of it. The ruling on the field was a fumble recovered by FSU, but was changed to an incomplete pass after review, a call that allowed BC to score on the next play, a fourth-down run into the end zone by Jurkovec. Hoping to make it a one score game, Jeff Hafley kept his offense on the field, but the 2-point conversion pass attempt was incomplete, keeping the score at 26-16.

After an unnecessary roughness penalty against FSU on the kickoff started BC at the 50-yard line, the Eagles scored what turned out to be the final points of the game on a crowd-pleasing deep pass from Jurkovec to a streaking Zay Flowers who dove to the pylon for the 36-yard touchdown, making the score 23-26.

FSU committed another costly penalty on their next drive, this time a delay of game as they attempted to get into field goal range on a fourth and one. Instead, they punted again, their third straight.

Jurkovec had been scrambling all day in response to FSU’s rush, but with just over four minutes left in the game on fourth and one around midfield, Hafley drew up a quarterback draw that yielded four yards and a first down to keep BC’s hopes alive. But those hopes were quickly dashed. As BC stood at the edge field goal range on FSU’s 38-yard line––needing just three points to tie the game––the offense found themselves in a must-convert situation on 4th and 9 with just one timeout left and 1:42 on the clock. Under pressure, Jurkovec was forced to throw the ball downfield. FSU’s Akeem Dent came down with the ball, making the game-clinching pick. Florida State ran out the remaining time on the clock to secure the win.

With the loss, the Eagles fall to 6-5 on the season as the Seminoles improve to 5-6. 

Boston College will host No. 10 Wake Forest (9-2) next Saturday in the final game of the regular season.


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