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FOOTBALL: A Crushing Defeat

Heights Editor

Published: Monday, October 15, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

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Graham Beck / Heights Editor

TALLAHASEE, Fla. — For the first four minutes of Boston College’s game at Florida State on Saturday evening, the Eagles looked like they might be a tougher matchup for the Seminoles than many anticipated. BC quarterback Chase Rettig was able to orchestrate a 68-yard drive that landed the Eagles at first and goal on the Florida State one-yard line. But that’s where it all went wrong and things started going downhill—fast.

    FSU stuffed both of running back Andre Williams’ plunges up the middle and forced two incomplete passes to take over on downs and take over the momentum. FSU responded to the tune of 28 straight points in the first half with quarterback EJ Manuel assaulting the Eagles’ secondary with a highly effective passing attack and leading his team to a 51-7 victory.

In front of a crowd of 81,075 in Doak Campbell Stadium, the Seminoles were able to put up 10-plus points every quarter and held the Eagles to just 225 total yards on the day with their relentless pressure and tight coverage.

“There’s a lot of offense there, and we just didn’t execute,” said head coach Frank Spaziani. “It wasn’t like they did things we didn’t practice against and did things differently. It was just a matter of us fundamentally not being able to stop them.”

Manuel finished the game with a career record 439 passing yards and tied his career-high of four passing touchdowns. The big passing plays helped the Seminoles move the ball up and down the field with ease.

“I messed up on a few plays and some other guys had a few mess-ups too, and we can’t have that,” said linebacker Steele Divitto. “We have to limit the big plays, and we didn’t do that today.” In the first half alone, the Eagles gave up passing plays of 77, 48, 46, and 42 yards.

BC was able to put together a solid drive midway through the second quarter. Williams had 38 of the 87 yards on the five and a half-minute drive that was capped off by Rettig dumping a pass to wide receiver Bobby Swigert over the middle as he came out of the backfield and juked two defenders to give BC its first and only score of the game.

The Florida State scoring barrage continued in the second half as the Seminoles scored on four of their six possessions. FSU wide receivers Rodney Smith and Kenny Shaw both had over 100 receiving yards in the game and were just two of the nine players to record a reception from Manuel, who finished with 27 completions on 34 attempts.

The Seminoles defense was equally on-point, holding Rettig to 122 passing yards on 15 completions and 31 attempts. Florida State defensive linemen Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner, who lead the ACC with 7 and 6.5 sacks respectively, kept Rettig under constant pressure, while forcing him to throw the ball away rather than get tackled for a loss in the backfield.

“We only took one sack tonight, which was good because obviously they were back there a lot more than that,” Rettig said, “but sometimes you just have to throw the ball away and live to play another down.”

The ground game was more productive for the Eagles, as Andre Williams led the team with 104 yards on 20 carries.

“[Williams] ran the ball well tonight,” said Spaziani. “So there were positives, but you’ve got to turn that into a W.”

Saturday night’s game was the first time since 2000 that BC has given up over 50 points since a 52-6 lost against Miami in 2000 when the Hurricanes were ranked No. 2 in the country, and the Eagles were more than frustrated that they weren’t able to record stops.

“It’s embarrassing as a defense just because we’ve had such a strong tradition of having good defenses here at BC,” said linebacker Nick Clancy. “When they score 50 against you and you know your guys worked so hard and the strong tradition we’ve had at BC on defense, it’s really hard to swallow.”

Spaziani reiterated the sentiment saying, “That’s not easy to swallow, the yardage and the points, but what I do see is guys practicing hard, working hard, and competing … you can build on that, and that’s what you can ask for.”

BC faces Georgia Tech, who runs a similar triple option offense to that of Army, next week. The Eagles remain winless in ACC play, but steadfast in their commitment and work ethic going forward.

“We’re gonna get in at 3 a.m. this morning, but we’re gonna wake up tomorrow morning, get a lift in, get a practice in, get film in,” Rettig said. “We just got to get back to work, and that’s how we approach it.”

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