CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The excitement of big-time college football was in the air even before entering the gates of Alumni Stadium on Friday night, but Boston College could not quite deliver on the field.
Despite holding visiting Florida State — the ninth-ranked team in the country — to just 217 yards of total offense, the Eagles were not able to take advantage of the opportunities they were presented and fell by a 14-0 score for their first loss of 2015.
The loss was Boston College’s first of the shutout variety in head coach Steve Addazio’s three-year tenure as it had not been blanked since Virginia Tech scored 19 points on Sept. 25, 2010.
FSU was held to 58 total yards in the second half, but a costly turnover that turned into a quick score proved to be all the insurance it would need. The effort extended the visitors’ Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak to 25 consecutive games.
With the Eagles eight plays into a drive that carried over from the third quarter, defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas forced sophomore back Jon Hilliman to fumble and defensive back Jalen Ramsey busted free for a 36-yard return.
“We, uncharacteristically amongst a lot of things that were going on in that game, we turned that ball over — unnecessarily in the fourth quarter to make that a 14-point game,” Addazio said. “That’s upsetting to me.”
The ‘Noles jumped out to a fast start on their first series of the game, scoring a touchdown to cap an eight-play, 83-yard drive.
Redshirt senior Everett Golson and the FSU offense put together a series of big plays over the first five minutes of the game before connecting with sophomore receiver Travis Rudolph over the middle for the nine-yard score.
Following the opening drive that got the scoring going, the defenses took over and kept the score at 7-0 through the halftime break.
FSU was held to just 76 more yards of offense in the half and was hurt as redshirt junior Roberto Aguayo missed just the fifth field goal of his career wide left with 1:59 left in the first half. Aguayo has made 213 of 218 total kicks as a Seminole, good for the best percentage (97.7) in NCAA history.
The teams combined for just five first downs in a scoreless third quarter. BC’s first drive of the second half looked promising as sophomore quarterback Darius Wade connected with senior Bobby Wolford for a 20-yard gain, but the positive yardage stopped close to midfield.
“I felt in the second half that we would come out and I thought we would play a pretty good second half,” Addazio said. “That was what I thought and we played from the five, from the 10, from the 20, from the 15. We’ve got to get better field position out of our punt return team.”
Golson ate up three minutes and 32 seconds during an eight-play drive late in the third quarter, but was unable to move the ball after a pair of first downs.
On a long third, a swarm of Boston College defenders led by sophomore Harold Landry and senior Mehdi Abdesmad took the Notre Dame transfer down for one of two sacks on the night.
“We came hard. I think we have one of the best front sevens in the country,” Landry said. “At end of the day, it didn’t matter because we took a loss. But I think our front seven was amazing, but you have to take advantage of the opportunities you have on the field.”
The Eagles put together a series of strong plays to gain some momentum to begin the fourth, including an opening 15-yard pass to sophomore Charlie Callinan on second down.
After sophomore receiver Sherman Alston was set back a yard, the FSU defense swarmed Hilliman and forced its second turnover of the contest.
The Eagles did not commit a turnover in their season-opening wins over Maine and Howard.
“There was a lack of fundamentals, a lack of ball security. The ball was swinging and he popped it out,” Hilliman said. “Hats off to the linebacker and the guy who picked it up. I just have to focus on practice and block out the noise and focus on the fundamentals and go back to square one.”
Just after the fumble, Wade left the game with an injury to his lower left leg. He came down awkwardly after being hit by FSU defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample with 12:02 left in the game.
Jeff Smith and Troy Flutie both saw action under center in the final period, but the latter was unable to convert on a fourth-and-two running play at the FSU 40-yard line to close the Eagles’ final chance of the night on offense.