Column: Eagles presented little challenge
TALLAHASSEE – While the Florida State victory over Boston College Friday night wasn’t much of a challenge, it highlighted weaknesses for both teams.
Boston College had no defense; FSU still has little positive to say about an offensive line.
In between, however, the Seminoles controlled the game from the first score almost to the last. BC avoided a shutout with a last-minute touchdown.
It was a game of moments; mostly Florida State highlights.
QB Deondre Francois bruised his right shoulder in the third quarter and that allowed senior Sean Maguire to play relief pitcher. Maguire has seen it all; from an important win over the Gators to a four-interception game against Houston in the Peach Bowl. Expected to be in the mix as the starter this season, Maguire’s preseason injury gave Francois the opening.
Francois ran more than once, not trying to get away from defenders but designed runs coach Jimbo Fisher put in to disrupt a tight box defense opposing teams are using to try to slow down Dalvin Cook. But it was his penchant for getting hit hard while staying in the box setting up deep downfield passes that once again got the redshirt freshman sidelined.
“You never know when your number will be called,” said Maguire. “It’s been tough, since the injury (Peach Bowl). But to go out on Senior Night, it was special.”
Cook came up 19 yards short of breaking Warrick Dunn’s career rushing yard record. Fisher benched Cook after the third quarter, maybe not knowing how close the running back was to the record or perhaps electing not to subject him to a possible injury.
Cook said he didn’t know how close he was to the record. “I was just playing football. We wanted to come out fast, so I was just playing.” When he was told he was 18 from tying it, Cook smiled as he said, “yeah, real close.”
Tavarus McFadden continues to lead the country with seven interceptions (7). Four players have five picks. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker has 11 sacks, one behind Utah’s Hunter Dimick. Those individual stats aside, FSU’s defense played its most complete game of the season.
After a short week with the Friday night game, the Seminoles took a couple of days off before getting ready for travel to Syracuse. Favored in next Saturday’s game, a showdown with rival Florida and a bevy of upsets this weekend leaves Florida State’s bowl possibilities up in the air. Winning out gives them options from the Pinstripe Bowl to the Sun Bowl, or maybe closer to home playing in Orlando
While these two weeks on the schedule seem anticlimactic, there was a time not so long ago when FSU was in danger of losing more games than now expected. Taking care of business and repairing as many issues as possible are important for the Seminoles.
But this week’s moments were most important with a looming rivalry game. FSU can still claim the state championship title.
Kerry Dunning covers Florida State for the Palatka Daily News.