TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- On a day where its hopes of a successful season died, Florida State fittingly wore black.
Showing little fight after the first quarter, the Seminoles were handled in a 24-19 Atlantic Coast Conference loss to No. 22 Boston College.
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Safety Wes Davis and cornerback DeJuan Tribble made big defensive plays and quarterback Matt Ryan had a gutty performance for the Eagles (6-1, 3-1 ACC Atlantic), who positioned themselves for an appearance in the conference title game.
The black uniforms with garnet numbers were worn as a tribute to the Seminole Tribe, which never signed a treaty with the United States. The pants read "Seminoles" down one leg and "Unconquered" down the other.
However, FSU (4-3, 2-3 Atlantic) was conquered by Boston College, which used a pair of first-half turnovers and a roughing the punter call to open a 21-10 lead at the break and staved off the 'Noles' fourth quarter rally.
"This was the best I've seen us play and the worst I've seen us play," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "There were some times we did pretty darn good and looked real good. Other times I've never seen us play so bad."
Questionable with left ankle and foot injuries, Ryan completed 16-of-26 passes for 262 yards and one interception. He often hung in the pocket and took big hits after the release and showed strong leadership.
The Eagles were not in the clear until cornerback Larry Anam intercepted a "Hail Mary" pass from Drew Weatherford intended for 6-foot-6 wide receiver Greg Carr on the game's final play. But they were in control virtually throughout, as they are in the Atlantic Division.
Florida State held a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter when Weatherford found tight end Caz Piurowski, who had the ball stripped away by cornerback Sulaiman Sanni. It was picked up at the FSU 18 and returned to the 1 by Davis. Linebacker Brian Toal banged in two plays later for his 11th career touchdown.
The Seminoles immediately responded as Weatherford hooked up with Lorenzo Booker on a screen pass that covered 43 yards, then found Carr with a 22-yard TD strike over the middle after a penalty wiped out a TD toss to Carr.
The scoring drive gave the 'Noles a 10-7 lead with a little over five minutes left in the half but that's when the bottom fell out.
Boston College was forced to punt on its next possession when Benjamin Lampkin broke through the line and appeared to be in perfect position for a block. Instead of making a big play on special teams, the sophomore walk-on collided with eagle punter Johnny Ayers, who got the kick away just in time. Following the roughing the kicker call, BC scored four plays later on a L.V. Whitworth six-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 14-10 lead with 3:06 left.
With 51 seconds left in the half, FSU opted to throw the football instead of going into the locker room. The decision turned out to be disastrous.
Weatherford telegraphed a pass to the left flat that cornerback DeJuan Tribble jumped on and returned 36 yards for a defensive score. In a blink of an eye, the visiting Eagles turned 10-7 deficit into a 21-10 halftime lead.
"Coach Bowden said we couldn't have turnovers and we couldn't have penalties but we had too many of both of those and that's why we lost the game," Weatherford said. "We don't get a lot of bats at them because they run the ball well and control the clock. We knew that going into the ballgame but we didn't do what we needed to do to get the job done."
In the third quarter, Ryan threw a 44-yard pass to Brandon Robinson, who made a great leaping catch to set up a 26-yard field goal by Steve Aponavicius.
Weatherford was 32-of-48 for 326 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He directed a quick 55-yard drive that he capped with a sneak with 13:36 to play, getting the Seminoles back in the game and cut the lead to 24-17.
On FSU's next possession, Weatherford marched the team 80 yards to the BC 10 before the drive stalled. On third and three, a bad snap from center forced Weatherford to take a one-yard loss. Then on 4th-and-4 - the 17th play of the drive - he was pressured and threw an incompletion with less than two minutes to play.
"As I was I stepping up I saw Antone (Smith) pop wide open in the middle of the field and as I was trying to just feed him the ball a guy hit my arm and it came loose," Weatherford said about the 4th an 4 play.
The Eagles took an intentional safety with 27 seconds remaining before making a final defensive stand.
Whitworth had 53 yards on 18 carries. Kevin Challenger caught four passes for 41 yards and Robinson had three catches for 67 yards. For FSU, the running backs combined for a mere 20 yards on 7 carries. Wide receiver Chris Davis led the receivers with 10 catches for 100 yards.
With the loss, FSU moves to 4-3 on the season and 2-3 in the ACC.
Portions of report by Sports Ticker.
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