Florida State will take on Boston College this week, but it would be tough to blame the Seminoles if they end up spending a lot of time thinking about their loss to NC State. The season was shaping up perfectly and they let a winnable game slip away.
The loss is just another example of how important every single game is in college football. Just when Florida State thought it was out of the woods for a while, the Wolfpack stepped up to pull off the upset. The Seminoles fell to No. 12 in the AP poll as a result.
Now they must prepare for Boston College, a team the Seminoles should beat with relative ease as long as they are able to put the loss to NC State in the rear-view mirror. The Eagles have lost three straight games with their only win coming against Maine.
Here's a look at all the key information for Saturday's game followed by a game preview and prediction as Florida State attempts to get back on track.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
When: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2 and ESPN3.com
Listen: WRKO 680 AM (Boston College) or WZHR 1400 AM (Florida State)
Betting Line: Florida State -28 (Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Boston College: Tahj Kimble (leg), Spiffy Evans (upper body), Mike Naples (back), Kaleb Ramsey (leg), Bryan Davis (leg) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (leg). All listed as questionable.
Florida State: Josh Gehres (hamstring), Daniel Foose (back), Trey Pettis (head), Garrett Faircloth (hip), Derrick Mitchell (back), Moses McCray (concussion), Ukeme Eligwe (hand) and Justin Bright (head). All listed as day-to-day.
Key Storyline: Can Florida State rebound from shocking loss?
After a stunning loss like the one Florida State suffered the season can go one of two ways. Either the Seminoles can bounce right back, put together another winning streak and set up a huge clash with Florida in late November. Or they can let the season spiral out of control.
The great divide between those two outcomes means head coach Jimbo Fisher has to do a great coaching job this week. He must get his players to learn from their mistakes against NC State without having them lose hope about the rest of the season.
Luckily, it won't take a top-notch effort in order to win on Saturday. Boston College is struggling, giving Florida State a good chance to win even if it isn't in elite form.
Top 25 Implications
Even though Florida State fell nine spots in the rankings, there's still reason for optimism. The Seminoles' schedule isn't overly difficult over the next handful of weeks and they still have a statement game against Florida to end the regular season.
A victory over Boston College won't do much, if anything, to improve their ranking, but it will allow them to stand their ground for the time being. Then, when more high-profile matchups arrive, they should be in position to make a jump.
What They Are Saying
Eagles wide receiver Alex Amidon rues the team's missed chances over the past month, but understands this week presents a great opportunity, according to Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald.
"They were all (four losses) right there and it seems like and that’s the only way we can look at it," said wide receiver Alex Amidon, who caught a touchdown pass against Army and ran for another. "Florida State is one of the best teams in the country. If we can get a win against them that would be significant."
David Hale of ESPN's NoleNation reports senior defensive tackle Everett Dawkins has tried to energize his teammates during the tough period after the loss.
"A lot of people are probably going to throw in the towel on us, but it's not over," Dawkins said. "We're going to fix our problems -- that's a promise. Everybody's going to go back in this week and figure out what's the problem."
Boston College Player To Watch: Andre Williams
There have been a few bright spots on offense even though the season hasn't gone according to plan for Boston College, including Williams. The junior running back had a monster game against Army, gaining nearly 200 yards with two touchdowns.
His big day featured a 99-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It's the type of play fans only see a couple times during a college football season and it showed off Williams' explosiveness after a couple lackluster performances in previous games.
If Boston College wants to send the Seminoles to another loss, Williams will need to parlay the momentum into another huge game. The Eagles don't want the game to become a shootout.
Florida State Player To Watch: EJ Manuel
Manuel had his worst game of the season against NC State, which allowed the Wolfpack to hang around long enough to score the winning touchdown in the dying moments. If Manuel would have played better, the game would have been decided long before that.
That said, he's still have a good season overall with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes. He's a strong bet to rebound right away with a terrific performance against the shaky Boston College defense.
If the Seminoles want to turn this season back into a memorable one, Manuel must lead the way. Expect him to come out as a man on a mission against the Eagles.
Key Matchup: Eagles defense vs. Seminoles running game
Boston College allowed Army's triple-option rushing attack to gain more than 500 yards on the ground, which doesn't bode well heading into a game against Florida State. The Seminoles have multiple running backs capable of gashing the Eagles defense.
The group is led by Chris Thompson, who is averaging nearly eight yards per carry and can also make plays in the passing game. He's joined by James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and powerful fullback Lonnie Pryor, giving them no shortage of options.
Florida State will likely spend a good portion of its first few drives establishing the run game. That should open up passing lanes for Manuel later in the game, leading to a much-needed victory for the Seminoles.
Florida State 38, Boston College 17