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October 3, 2009

FSU falls to 2-3 on the season

Montel Harris broke free up the middle for a 42-yard touchdown run with 4:07 left-his second score of the game-and Boston College recovered after blowing an 18-point lead to beat Florida State 28-21 on Saturday.

Harris finished with a career-high 179 yards on 25 carries for the Eagles (4-1, 2-1 ACC). After Boston College stopped the Seminoles (2-3, 0-2) on fourth down with 2:16 left, Harris broke loose for a 39-yard run but then fumbled on the next play.

Boston College's Anthony Castonzo recovered, and Dave Shinskie was able to run out the clock.

Shinskie, a 25-year-old freshman in just his second week as the full-time starter, completed 12 of 21 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Larmond Jr. had five catches for 98 yards.

The Seminoles trailed 21-3 late in the second quarter before Christian Ponder led them to a pair of second-half touchdowns, tying the score 21-all when wide receiver Bert Reed hit Caz Piurowski for the 2-point conversion with 11 minutes left. Jeff Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff and JaJuan Harley recovered at the Boston College 29, but Dustin Hopkins' 37-yard field goal attempt was wide right.

Taking over at the 20 with 7:02 left, Shinskie bounced back after a hard takedown that injured his left shoulder and survived a sure interception that was dropped by cornerback Greg Reid. A pass interference on a third-and-10 gave the Eagles the ball on the 42, and Harris charged through the line, bounced off one tackler and outraced the secondary to the right pylon.

Ponder took the Seminoles to the Eagles' 27 before overthrowing an open Reed on third-and-10, and then missing on fourth down with a pass that was too short to matter. Ponder, who entered the game as the ACC passing leader, finished 29-for-42 for 345 yards. Richard Goodman caught seven passes for 107 yards, and Reed caught nine for 105 yards.

It was an emotional victory for the Eagles on a day when they were honoring linebacker Mark Herzlich, who is taking the year off for treatment after being diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Herzlich gave a pregame speech over the public address system to fire up the crowd, and he prowled the sidelines waving a yellow towel during the game.

Boston College seemed to respond.

The Eagles led 7-3 on Harris' 3-yard touchdown run when Alex Albright sacked Ponder for a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Boston College then pulled away to take a 21-3 lead before a late first-half field goal cut it to 21-6.

Harris also ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter, spinning free of tacklers and into the end zone to make it 7-3. It was still close when Ponder ran for 5 yards on a fourth-and-1 from the Boston College 35 on the first play of the second quarter. He hit Taiwan Easterling for 27 yards and an offsides put it on the 1, before Luke Kuechly stopped Lonnie Pryor on three straight runs.

That left the Seminoles facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1, and Ponder scrambled to the right before he was pulled down by Albright. The Eagles, starting from their 11 instead of their own 1, threw the ball, and on third-and-9 Shinskie hit Larmond Jr. for 62 yards.

Harris ran seven straight times before Rich Gunnell caught a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-3. Shinskie hit Jeff Smith on a perfectly timed 38-yard pass down the left sideline for Smith's first career touchdown pass.

Florida State's 2-3 start is their worst start since the 1976 season, which marked Bobby Bowden's first season as Florida State's head coach.


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