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Game Preview: Florida State vs. Boston College

The Seminoles have an opportunity to add another win under their belt on Saturday night.

Game Introduction 

Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) hosts Boston College (1-2. 0-1 ACC) for its first Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) home game of the season. In the third year of head coach Mike Norvell, the Seminoles are off to their best start since 2015.

READ MORE: Mike Norvell provides injury updates on Jordan Travis, Jared Verse, others during Monday presser

After withstanding injuries to redshirt junior quarterback Jordan Travis and redshirt sophomore Jared Verse, the Seminoles defeated Louisville 35-31 on Sept. 16. 

Through three games, Florida State's skill positions are paced by redshirt sophomores Treshuan Ward (40 carries, 302 yards, two touchdowns) and Johnny Wilson (11 receptions, 260 yards, two touchdowns). 

The defense has come away with seven sacks and one interception and is led in tackles (21) by redshirt junior linebacker Tatum Bethune.

Boston College dropped its first two games to Rutgers and Virginia Tech and earned its first win by defeating Maine 38-17 in Week 3. 

Similar to Norvell, Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley is in the midst of his third year with the Eagles, where he's compiled a 13-13 record. 

Kickoff is Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.

Seminole Headlines

Opportunity to start 4-0

Norvell was 8-13 at Florida State through his first two years, and started 0-4 in 2021. Boston College offers a chance for the 'Noles to keep their foot on the pedal and handle business versus a conference opponent for the second consecutive week. 

There is always the possibility of an undefeated team becoming complacent and finding themselves in a tighter game than many expect. If the 'Noles win, they'll be two wins away from bowl eligibility. Four wins are obviously not the goal for Seminoles fans, but it's a noticeable step in the right direction for a program that hasn't qualified for a bowl since 2019.

Continued progression of wide receivers 

Wilson burst onto the national scene with his 149-yard, two-touchdown performance versus Louisville. The rest of the wide receivers combined for just five catches but should have increased opportunities versus Boston College. Regardless of the quarterback situation, the Eagles' defense likely emphasizes stopping the run over defending the pass, opening up space for receivers like redshirt senior Pokey Wilson, redshirt junior Mycah Pittman, and sophomore Malik McClain. 

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Burning Questions

What does Florida State's quarterback position look like?

Travis returned to practice this week, but his status for the game remains up in the air. If Travis suits up, he'll have the opportunity to keep proving himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC and lead an offense that's averaging 35.3 points per game.

If Travis is ruled out, redshirt sophomore quarterback Tate Rodemaker will start. Rodemaker flashed his arm strength and led the comeback against Louisville, but hasn't played an entire four quarters as the starting quarterback in his career. Although Rodemaker flashed his legs against Louisville, he'll likely revert to his arm in instances where Travis might scramble. Outside of a few differences between the two signal-callers, the Seminoles' offensive playcalling and tempo should look normal if Rodemaker starts.

How do the Seminoles limit Jurkovec and Flowers?

Graduate student quarterback Phil Jurkovec and senior wide receiver Zay Flowers are the playmakers to watch for Boston College's passing offense. The Eagles are averaging 251.3 passing yards per game, and Flowers is Jurkovec's primary target. The pair have years of experience together and Flowers leads in receptions (22), receiving yards (285) and touchdowns (three). 

Flowers regularly lines up in the slot and relies on his speed and yards-after-catch (YAC) ability to turn shorter completions into big plays. Florida State's secondary allowed 243 passing yards against Louisville, including completions of 55, 24, and 21 yards.

In 2021, the 'Noles and defensive coordinator Adam Fuller held Jurkovec to 10-of-24 on pass attempts. Flowers was limited to three receptions but turned one into a 36-yard touchdown.

Forecast

The Seminoles have won 10 of their last 11 against Boston College, and this matchup is favorable despite the injuries around Florida State. In the past, the Eagles have given Florida State issues when they establish dominance at the line of scrimmage, which hasn't been the case through their first three games. In front of their home atmosphere, the Seminoles play well-rounded in each quarter and remain unbeaten.

Florida State 34, Boston College 17

READ MORE: Florida State knocks out Louisville, advances to 3-0 for first time since 2015

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