Luke Kuechly and the Boston College Eagles host the Florida St, Seminoles in a prime time match-up under the lights on Thursday night at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Event: Florida State Seminoles (5-3, 3-2 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (2-6, 1-4 ACC).
Date/Time: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Location: Alumni Stadium (Capacity: 44,500), Chestnut Hill, MA.
Odds: Florida State is the favorite. A big favorite. The Seminoles are favored to win by 16 points and the over/under for the game is set at 44.
Broadcast Information: Thursday night's game between the Eagles and Seminoles will be broadcast on national television on ESPN, with Rece Davis providing play-by-play, Craig James and Jesse Palmer providing color commentary and Jenn Brown reporting from the sidelines.
The game can also be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Jon Meterparel on play-by-play duty, Pete Cronan providing color commentary and Bran St. Pierre reporting from the sidelines.
Series History: Boston College trails the all-time series against Florida State, 4-5, with Thursday's game marking the 10th meeting between the two schools. BC hasn't beaten Florida St. since 2009 and the Seminoles topped the Eagles, 24-19, in a closely contested game at Doak Campbell Stadium last season. FSU is 3-3 against BC since the Eagles joined the ACC.
Last Time Out: Boston College enjoyed its first FBS victory of the season last Saturday, posting a 28-17 win over the Maryland Terrapins. BC was led by a dominant performance from sophomore running back Rolandan Finch, who rushed for 243 yards and two scores. Chase Rettig, the Eagles' quarterback, threw for only 32 yards.
Florida State also had a big win last weekend, blanking fellow ACC rival N.C. State, 34-0. Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Jermaine Thomas rushed for 48 yards on 11 carries and Greg Dent had three catches for 70 yards and a score in the Seminoles' victory.
Storyline: At the start of the season, this appeared to be a big game. Florida State, then the favorites to win the ACC and even compete for the national championship title, was expected to be on its way to a BCS bowl while Boston College, which opened up with expectations of winning the Orange Bowl per head coach Frank Spaziani, was expected to be at least competitive. My, oh my, how times changes things.
FSU is still good, but not BCS title contending good. The Seminoles are 5-3 (3-2 ACC) and are third in the ACC Atlantic Division. Boston College, well, hasn't been so fortunate. It took the Eagles far too long to notch their first FBS win - a 28-17 win over Maryland last Saturday - to bring their record to 2-6 (1-4 ACC).
However, this game is still important. Florida State needs this win to keep themselves in the discussion for the ACC Championship Game while the Eagles simply need a win to keep their bowl berth hopes alive.
Eagles In The Rankings: Boston College is not ranked in any national polls (shocking, I know), and really don't have anything going for them in the statistics category. BC ranks 107th in the nation in points for, averaging 19.9 points per contest, but does rank 52nd in points allowed (25.1 PPG). However, BC is 101st in the nation in passing yards (176.4 YPG) and 73rd in rushing yards per game (146.5 YPG), but that stat is mostly due to Finch's big game in Maryland.
Seminoles In The Ranking: Florida State is not currently ranked in any national poll but did receive 11 points in the last ESPN/USA Today poll. The Seminoles' strongest area is their rush defense, which ranks first in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing a mere 77 yards per game (a problem for a BC team that usually relies on its rushing attack). FSU is ranked 12th nationally in total passing yards per game (306.4) and 12th in points allowed with 16.9. In addition, the Seminoles rank 89th in team rushing yards (126.4 YPG) and 25th in points for (35.6 PPG).
Players To Watch: For BC, keep your eyes on junior linebacker Luke Kuechly (if you can even keep up). Kuechly leads the nation in solo tackles (68) and total tackles 130) and leads the FBS with a streak of 29 straight games with 10 or more tackles. Kuechly will keep that streak alive and by all means should be a factor in the game, one way or another.
Also, keep your eyes on Chase Rettig, the Eagles' sophomore quarterback who threw for just 32 yards and tossed one pick in the win over Maryland. Clearly, BC can win without him, but it would make things much tougher if he is unable to get his game going once again.
Finally, the Eagles' rushing attack will be key to their success on Thursday night. Rolandan Finch had a tremendous game against Maryland, rushing for 243 yards and two scores in the Eagles' win. With Montel Harris out for the season, the Eagles will look to the trio of Finch, Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble to lead them on the ground.
Florida State looks to their very talented quarterback, E.J. Manuel. In the Seminoles' 34-0 win over N.C. State, Manuel threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Manuel now has thrown for 1,776 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Devonta Freeman is the Seminoles' leading rusher with 305 rushing yards and four scores on 58 carries. In the receiving game, the Seminoles have two solid options in Rodney Smith (27 catches, 468 yards, 3 TDs) and Rashad Greene (26 catches, 457 yards, 6 TDs).
Prediction: Boston College definitely needs this win way more than Florida State does, and you should see a level of desperation in BC's play. However, Florida State is still dominant and should take care of business. Final Score: Florida State 34, Boston College 21.