0

PREVIEW: Boston College bracing for No. 8 FSU

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has averaged 321.5 passing yards in a pair of routs over Nevada and Bethune-Cookman over the last two weeks, but the Seminoles are also a formidable team rushing the ball. (Reuters)

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has averaged 321.5 passing yards in a pair of routs over Nevada and Bethune-Cookman over the last two weeks, but the Seminoles are also a formidable team rushing the ball. (Reuters)

In its first real test of the season, Boston College looked a little shaky against USC and some of the nation’s top talent.

And No. 8 Florida State, which has plenty of blue-chippers of its own, hopes that was only a preview of what’s to come today.

The Eagles (2-1, 1-0 ACC) took a week off after their 35-7 thumping by the Trojans to lick their wounds and dissect what went wrong. The Seminoles, meanwhile, haven’t had to do too much of that this year.

Florida State (3-0, 1-0) has outscored Pitt, Nevada and Bethune-Cookman a combined 157-26 in three wins to open the season, while steadily climbing the top-25 rankings. So that partly explains why FSU enters today’s game as a 21-point road favorite despite the Eagles boasting the ACC’s top running back in Andre Williams.

“They like to run and we like to hit,” Seminoles defensive back Terrance Brooks said with a smile. “So we’ll see how that turns out.”

The 12th meeting in program history today will mark Florida State’s second of two ACC road games to begin the season. But regardless of venue or opponent so far, the Seminoles don’t seem to be fearing anyone.

At an average of 52.3 points per game, FSU has the nation’s fifth-ranked scoring offense — an offense that put up 99 unanswered points from the second quarter against Nevada until the third quarter of last week’s 54-6 win against Bethune-Cookman — while its seventh-ranked overall defense is just as good, allowing 251 yards a game while giving up nine total points all season in the second half.

That doesn’t bode well for an Eagles team that ranks 106th and 66th, respectively, in those same categories. Especially when their offense managed just 184 yards against USC, and BC’s defense gave up 521 to an underachieving Trojans team that isn’t ranked in the top 25.

But the Eagles do have Williams, the ACC’s leading rusher who’s averaging 118 yards a game (15th best in the nation). That alone is enough to give FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher reason to be wary of a Boston College team that’s under the leadership of a man Fisher knows well from his days in the SEC at LSU — first-year coach Steve Addazio, a former assistant coach at Florida who won two national championships with the Gators.

“They’ve changed defensively and they’ve changed on offense. It’s not like playing them a year ago. You can go back and evaluate the players, but not the scheme … Boston College, I think is going to be an outstanding team,” Fisher said of the Eagles, who won their ACC opener with a 24-10 whipping of Wake Forest in week two. “They had a week off to prepare well. Steve does a great job coaching, offense (and) defense. They’re very physical on offense — very good offensive line. Probably one of the best ones we’ve seen.