Jameis Winston's last-second touchdown heave on Saturday made plenty of highlight reels and may even go down in Florida State lore. But it was just a spectacular continuation of FSU's trend this season of finding quick points before halftime.
That's been a point of emphasis for Florida State this season. In all four games, FSU's offense has used a two-minute drill before halftime to score points and kick the offense into overdrive. Boston College was no exception. Winston's big-time touchdown to Kenny Shaw was part of six straight scoring drives for FSU which erased a slow start and slammed the game back into Florida State's favor.
"That's something that we put a lot of emphasis on since I've been here on offense and defense," junior tackle Cameron Erving said. "Stopping them before the second half and scoring at the end of the first half. We weren't very consistent with that last year and we have a quarterback who can execute and make a play."
'Make a play' is a bit of an understatement. It's no surprise that the offense took a lift from Winston's throw, but Kelvin Benjamin said the Seminoles have consistently taken a lift from the halftime spurts.
"It's like a car when it won't crank, and once it cranks it's gone," Benjamin said.
Special teams struggles
Florida State's special teams unit gave up a number of big returns against Boston College on Saturday - something that's been unprecedented under Jimbo Fisher .
At Boston College on Saturday, the Eagles had 53 punt return yards on two long returns, plus a 71-yard kickoff return to the FSU 25-yard line. Three times, BC started drives in Florida State territory due to explosive kick or punt returns. For comparison, in all of 2013, FSU gave up just 87 punt return yards.
"That hasn't happened to us, ever," Fisher said. "The only big punt return I can remember is the one Florida hit late in the game last season."
Fisher is right: Florida State has dominated the field position battle in previous years. But mental errors took their toll against the Eagles. Cason Beatty's first punt of the game was a low line drive that allowed plenty of space for a return and BC brought it back to the FSU 36-yard line. Coverage mistakes sprung two more returns into FSU territory.
"It comes down to one guy making a mental mistake or we're tackling that guy inside the 25 like we always want to do," Fisher said, adding that the low kick on the first punt did hurt. "We've got to get that up."
Abram scores first career TD
Chad Abram wanted to act like he'd been there before. Only he hadn't.
Florida State's senior fullback scored his first career touchdown on Saturday against Boston College. He bobbled the pass from Jameis Winston, but eventually pulled it in for the score.
"I know I caught it initially the first time," Abram said. "I don't know how it came out, but I quickly got control of it."
He may not be a focal point of FSU's offense in terms of touches, but Abram has proved himself a valuable commodity as a battering ram of a fullback and a relatively reliable safety valve as a wide receiver - bobbles aside. So far this season, he's got four catches. Jimbo Fisher raves about Abram's ball skills as do teammates. But Abram's main value isn't as a receiver. It's as a punishing blocker and old-school fullback.
His play in that style has Fisher thinking Abram has a shot at the next level.
I big-time think so," Fisher said. "He'd be a great special-teams guy, he's got great hands.
He's doing so many things right."
That's what Abram hopes as well, though he still says he likes playing safety better. Abram has spoken before about his desire to play safety, but said he realized early on in the transition that fullback was his best shot to play at the next level.
"I like it now, I enjoy playing the position, but I love playing free safety," Abram said. "I think I probably can go to the next level playing fullback and probably not playing safety, so that's what I'm doing."
But switching to offense hasn't meant scoring more: Abram said Saturday was his first touchdown since a as a junior in high school returning an interception for a score. The long hiatus made Saturday's return to the end zone even sweeter.
"I wanted to do a backflip or something," Abram said, but refrained because, again, act like you've been there before.
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