Sometimes you look at a scoreboard and know it's over even if the team you root for is still technically "in the game." Trailing 7-0 in the fourth quarter, it already felt like the inevitable wasn't really in doubt for the Boston College on a night when their offense simply sputtered out.
That's when running back Jon Hilliman took a handoff in the backfield and ran into linebacker Terrance Smith. Jalen Ramsay picked it up and rumbled 36 yards untouched into the end zone, lifting ninth-ranked Florida State past the hometown Eagles, 14-0, in both teams' ACC opener.
It was the first score since the game's opening minutes. Quarterback Everett Golson, playing the Eagles for the first time since a 2012 contest between BC and Notre Dame, went 5-for-5 on the game's opening drive, tallying 50 yards and a nine-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph. On the drive, on a reverse run by Dalvin Cook, Golson leveled a hit on defensive end Kevin Kavalec, knocking the star lineman out of the game with what looked to be a concussion.
After that, the game settled into a grinding, remedial pace. A defensive battle emerged as Boston College held the star runnin gback Cook to just 54 yards on 15 carries, while Golson threw for only 69 yards the rest of the game, finishing 15-for-24. The Eagle defense forced seven punts by Cason Beatty, four of which were downed inside the 20. Robert Aguayo, largely recognized as the college game's best punter, shanked his only field goal attempt, a rare miss.
On the flip side, though, Boston College's offense didn't do much either. The Eagles crossed into FSU territory just three times as the largely listless attack wound up with just 195 yards. Myles Willis led all BC runners with 40 yards on eight carries, while Darius Wade rushed for 38 yards on 10 carries. But Marcus Outlow and Jon Hilliman, largely expected to be leaders of the rushing game, finished with a combined 18 yards on 11 carries. Hilliman, who gained a long of 11, spent most of his night in reverse, averaging less than one yard per carry on the night.
Wade was incredibly ineffective throwing the ball, completing only 33% of his passes by going 4-for-12 for 47 yards and an interception. But that became secondary to the scary hit he received from Florida State's Nile Lawrence-Stample. Lawrence-Stample leveled a hit on Wade that crumpled his body in an apparent fumble. Although the call was overturned, Wade was helped off the field and would exit the field area on crutches.
Jeff Smith entered the game as Wade's replacement, executing a run-first strategy for eight yards on two carries. He also threw one ball away as he scrambled out of traffic. Late in the game, Steve Addazio also sent in Troy Flutie for a series of plays. Flutie brought BC over the 50 yard line but failed to convert on a fourth down option play that sent fans heading for the exits.
Boston College (2-1, 0-1 ACC) must now face the task of rebuilding their offense and retooling it around Flutie or Smith. Faced with the prospect of losing Wade for an extended period of time, the BC offense has two very different styles of QB in the backups. One is recognized as a pass-first time thrower (Flutie) while one is recognized as a speed run-first threat (Smith). With the ineffectiveness of Wade, followed by the injury, the coaching staff will need to decide what to do quickly with Northern Illinois on the horizon.
As for the Seminoles, they looked nothing like the team on its way to a 25th consecutive conference victory and did not liken themselves as national contenders. But they remained undefeated (3-0, 1-0 ACC) and will stay inside the top 10 heading into an extended break. They return to the gridiron on October 3, when they play at Wake Forest.