Florida State vs Boston College
Florida State bounced back from a devastating loss with a dominant win over visiting Boston College. Quarterback EJ Manuel threw for 439 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles cruised to a 51-7 win over the Eagles in front of 81, 075 in Tallahassee.
Things started off tense for the Seminoles as on Boston College took its opening drive down to the Seminole one-yard line. The Florida State defense stood tall, completing a goal-line stand on fourth and inches to grab the momentum. A couple of bounces and long passes later, the 'Noles were on their way to a comfortable win.
Although the leading storyline for the offense was its aerial assault of the Eagle secondary, Florida State did eclipse 200 yards on the ground as well. Sophomore Devonta Freeman's late surge of carries gave him the team-lead with 70 yards on eight carries while starter Chris Thompson gained 68 yards on 10 carries.
Senior Rodney Smith led all receivers with nine catches for 108 yards, while freshman Kelvin Benjamin had five catches for 68 yards and a score. Junior Kenny Shaw had just two catches, but both were big gainers. Shaw scored the first Seminole touchdown with a 77-yard catch and run up the left sidelines and finished with 125 yards receiving.
EJ Manuel went 7/11 for 157 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
The Skinny: Was the first quarter about making a statement? Florida State coupled a goal line stand with a 99-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead, then tacked on another touchdown to get it to 14-0. After being criticized for conservative play calls in the fourth quarter, head coach Jimbo Fisher seemingly made a point to come out swinging. He called nine straight pass plays, six of which completed the Seminoles' 99-yard scoring drive capped by a 74-yard touchdown to Kenny Shaw. Florida State outgained BC 173-70 in the first quarter.
Key Play: Boston College marched right down the field on the game's opening drive, picking up a first-and-goal on the FSU 1. But the Seminoles stood tall, getting four stops including an incompletion on fourth down to stave the points
Key Stat: Florida State amassed 157 passing yards on 7-of-11 passing from EJ Manuel. He notched a career-long touchdown pass when he connected with Shaw on the 77-yard strike.
Key player: While Manuel was the statistical horse in the first quarter, Bjoern Werner was an integral part of the goal line stand that turned the momentum in FSU's favor. He batted down what would have been an easy touchdown catch on first-and-goal, then he had the pressure on BC QB Chase Rettig on fourth down to force the incompletion.
The Skinny: Florida State didn't slow down in the second quarter. It topped its 170-yard first-quarter output with 173 second-quarter yards. Florida State punched in two touchdowns to stretch its lead out to 28-0 with 7:27 left in the half. Manuel connected with Kelvin Benjamin and James Wilder Jr. on scoring strikes.
Boston College did continue to have some offensive success, racking up 14 first downs in the first half. It also got its first points of the game on a 18-yard pass from QB Chase Rettig to Bobby Swigert.
Key Play: Leading 28-7 and with BC driving to tack on another score, FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner intercepted a Rettig pass and returned it out to the FSU 44 (he was about an inch from staying in bounds and returning it 89 yards for a score). Manuel would complete two passes to Rodney Smith and set up Dustin Hopkins for a 51-yard field goal, which he hit as time expired to make it 31-7.
Key Stat: With the 51-yard boot, Hopkins became the all-time leading scorer in FSU and ACC history. His 394 career points eclipsed former Seminole Derek Schmidt (393) and former ACC scoring leader Nick Novak (393) for the record.
Key player: Manuel continued his air assault, heading to the break 15-of-20 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns. His lone interception came on a bobbled catch from Rashad Greene.
The Skinny: Florida State kept everything on cruise control, outscoring the Eagles 10-0 in the third quarter to take a 41-7 lead. Lonnie Pryor added the Seminoles' only touchdown of the quarter while Hopkins added three points on a 26-yard field goal.
Key Play: On the first play of the third quarter, Manuel found Rodney Smith for a 28-yard catch to quickly move into BC territory. That led to Pryor's touchdown, stretching the advantage to 38-7.
Key Stat: QB EJ Manuel eclipsed the 400-yard mark in the third quarter, becoming the first FSU player to throw for at more than 400 yards since Chris Weinke in 2000.
Key player: Receiver Rodney Smith is up to nine catches for 108 yards on the night. His nine catches are the most by any FSU player in a game this season and the most since Rashad Greene's 12 catches vs. Wake Forest in 2011.
The Skinny: Manuel stayed in the game for a portion of the fourth quarter, hitting James Wilder Jr. for Wilder's second receiving touchdown of the night. The Seminoles tacked on a 38-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal to end the scoring for the night.
Linebacker Reggie Northrup was the biggest defensive figure in the final quarter, as the freshman racked up six tackles, four of which were solo.
Key Play: Manuel capped off a 10-play, 77-yard drive with an out-route completion to Wilder. The sophomore tailback accounted for the final couple of yards with a superman leap into the end zone.
Key Stat: Manuel becomes the first Florida State quarterback to eclipse 400-yards passing since Chris Weinke in 2000.
Key player: Northrup gets the nod in clean-up duty as he was all over the field making tackle after tackle.