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GAME PREVIEW: Florida State at Boston College

Can the Seminoles keep their bowl hopes alive?

Game Introduction

Florida State (4-6) finally broke its losing streak against Miami with a 31-28 win on Nov. 13. After leading 24-7 at halftime, the ‘Noles relinquished their lead but converted on a 4th & 14 to set themselves up on the 1-yard line. Eventually, quarterback Jordan Travis punched it in for the game-clinching score. Defensively, FSU was led in tackles (10) by defensive back Jarvis Brownlee Jr. Defensive end Jermaine Johnson II stole the show, tallying seven tackles (five for loss) and three sacks. With two games left, the Seminoles must win both if they hope to gain bowl eligibility.

READ MORE: Georgia defensive tackle commitment visiting Florida State

After a four-game losing streak in the month of October, Boston College (6-4) has won two consecutive games after the return of quarterback Phil Jurkovec (747 yards, five touchdowns and one interception) from injury. The Eagles' latest win came in the form of a 41-30 performance against Georgia Tech on Nov. 13. In the victory, running back Pat Garwo III rushed for 104 yards on 24 attempts. Jurkovec's main target is wide receiver Zay Flowers (40 receptions, 653 yards and four touchdowns). Defensive back Josh DeBerry leads the Eagles in tackles (49), while defensive back Brandon Sebastian owns the most interceptions (three).

The game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20. Kickoff is at noon on the ACC Network.

Seminole Headlines

Must win for bowl eligibility

Head Coach Mike Norvell is coming off arguably the biggest win of his career, but the pressure isn’t off his shoulders. To reach a bowl, Florida State has to get to the elusive six wins. The win over the ‘Canes gave the program a huge boost, but if Norvell can guide the ‘Noles to a 6-6 record after starting 0-4 start, recruiting and momentum could reach its highest point since Jimbo Fisher.

Corbin inching closer to 1,000-yard mark

Running back Jashaun Corbin needs 185 yards these last two games to hit 1,000 yards for the season. He’s been held to 132 yards the last three games, and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Running back Treshuan Ward might eat into some of his touches, but Corbin is due for a big day. Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for 96 yards on 19 carries against the Eagles.

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READ MORE: 2023 wide receiver talks visit to Florida State

Burning Questions

Can the passing game do enough in the air against a stingy Eagles secondary?

Boston College surrenders just under 160 passing yards per game against opponents. As evident in the Miami win, Travis can get the job done through the air in crunch time. But if Travis can’t connect with his receivers consistently throughout the game, it could spell trouble. FSU converted just 3-of-15 third downs against the Hurricanes.

However, the Noles' success in the passing game doesn’t solely rely on Travis. It’s a committee approach, as wide receivers Keyshawn Helton (18 receptions, 276 yards and two touchdowns), Ontario Wilson (17 receptions, 272 yards and three touchdowns), and Andrew Parchment (18 receptions, 246 yards and two touchdowns) serve as the top options. Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham could also lean on wide receiver Ja’Khi Douglas, who exploded for a 59-yard catch against Miami.

Does the ‘Noles rushing defense hold up against Boston College?

Florida State linebacker coach/defensive run game coordinator Chris Marve has the ‘Noles defense playing its best football of the season. FSU is allowing 142.6 rushing yards per game. Miami gained just 43 rushing yards last Saturday, and NC State, who averages 130.5 rushing per game, totaled only 86 the week prior.

Garwo III needs 91 yards on the ground to hit 1,000 for the season, so don’t be surprised if the Eagles feed him early and often. In the past three games, Garwo III has received an average of 20 carries. Luckily for the Seminoles, their linebacking core of Amari Gainer, DJ Lundy and Kalen DeLoach (54 tackles each) specialize in stopping the run.

Forecast

The Seminoles face an uphill battle of winning in Chestnut Hill, especially in November. The physicality and play at the line of scrimmage might favor Boston College, especially if the matchup turns run-centric. I believe Florida State has real momentum after last week’s performance and understands the significance of a bowl berth. The FSU offense might run into multiple stagnant possessions, but I think Travis makes enough explosive plays to keep the ‘Noles afloat. Jurkovec will be a thorn in the defense’s side throughout the day, but I think Johnson II and company force one or two game-changing turnovers to flip the game. This win sets up a win or go home scenario for FSU in the Sunshine Showdown versus Florida next weekend.

Florida State 28, Boston College 24