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Boston College vs. Florida State — Previewing the FSU Defense

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FSU v Clemson Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

It goes without saying that the last few years for the Florida State Seminoles have been a bumpy ride.

Ever since the end of the Jimbo Fisher era in 2017, FSU has been searching high and low for a coach that could fill the shoes that Fisher left behind and have come up short the past few seasons. In this short time, the Seminoles have cycled through four coaches; Odell Haggins, Willie Taggert and Mike Norvell. This Motley Crew has a combined record of of 20-26, which isn’t all that great for a program who was known to be consistently a Top 25 team, if not better, and had competed in 37 total bowl games under Bobby Bowden and Jimbo. Oh, and not to mention a College Football Championship in 2013.

On the defensive side of the ball for the Seminoles, Coach Mike Norvell welcomed in former Memphis Football colleague Adam Fuller to help in buttoning up a defense that had sense been the talk of much criticism as being the catalyst of the last three losing seasons.

This season hasn’t quite been up to expectations for FSU. After a closely contested battle with Notre Dame to open up the season, Florida State dropped their next contest to a non-FBS school, Jacksonville State. This was the first time FSU lost to a non-FBS team since 1959.

The Seminoles went on to drop their next two games against Louisville and Wake Forest before finally securing their first win-streak against a beaten up Syracuse ballclub, a UNC team that has had me scratching my head all season and our good old friends at UMass. FSU then went on to hit another skid losing two in a row to Clemson and NC State before having a morale boosting win last weekend against Miami to keep their bowl chances alive heading into Chestnut Hill.

Honing in on how the Defense has performed this season, it has not exactly been all flowers and rainbows. They have given up on average 27 PPG and that is factoring in the anomaly of UMass’ three points. Their secondary has been well below average as they have given up 243 YPG through the air with an average completion distance of 12.1 which bodes well for Jurkovec, who should have no problem moving the sticks.

FSU’s rushing defense has not been all that stellar either as they allow on average 142.6 YPG on the ground and have given up 12 rushing touchdowns on the season to all opponents.

I will give props, however, to their Red Zone defense. They have allowed the opposition to get within their 20 yard line 27 times this season and have turned them back from scoring 8 times. That equates that out to a 70% success rate for opponents to score in the Red Zone against the Seminoles ranking them 11th in the nation in Red Zone efficiency.

In crunching the numbers, statistically I do not see how BC can fail to put up some points if they perform they way they did last week offensively. As we all can attest to, this team changed drastically with Jurkovec under center. His stellar performance last week against Georgia Tech was a good indication that he can beat a defense by whatever means he chooses: with his feet, through the air - you name it.

On the other side of the ball, this Seminole team does have a lot to play for. They kept their bowl chances alive with a stunning win at home against Miami in the closing seconds of the contest and are marching into Chestnut Hill on a mission. This should be a game of raw emotion and grit from both teams and I expect a close game but I don’t think FSU steals a win on the road with the momentum that BC has built upon itself in the past two weeks.

Final prediction: Boston College 28 vs. Florida State 20