FSU enters Saturday’s contest against Boston College having suffered three consecutive blowout losses. BC is a team that I referenced in the preseason as one to watch. They are a talented team based on NFL-caliber talent and have done a good job developing talent that fits their system. They are a hard-nosed team.
Offensively, they like to run down hill and be physical. They want to dominate the line of scrimmage and time of possession with their potent run game. AJ Dillon is one of the leading rushers in the ACC. Dillion is on pace for his second straight 1000 yard season.
Coming into this game, BC’s already pedestrian passing game should be hindered further with starting quarterback Anthony Brown probably out due to an injury. Even with him in the game, their passing offense wasn’t much of a threat. He had barely over 1500 yards passing and their best receiver has under 400 yards receiving on the season.
BC’s offense’s greatest strength is Dillon, who suffered an ankle injury last week against Clemson.
These are the two biggest factors working in FSU’s favor as the Noles have faced three potent offenses in a row in Clemson, NC State and Notre Dame. The downside is they gave up a ton of yards on the ground in those games to Travis Etienne of Clemson, Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams and N.C. State’s Reggie Gallaspy. FSU’s defense has been able to make average players look superior and while Etienne and Williams are top backs, Gallaspy is ordinary.
One thing different about BC is they have struggled against more athletic defensive fronts giving up 18 sacks on the season. With the starting QB out and Dillon banged up, this could be an advantage to FSU with Brian Burns putting up better numbers than FSU has seen in the last few seasons in terms of sacks and QB pressures. FSU is also going to need big games out of Marvin Wilson, Corey Durden, and Robert Cooper inside to help contain the run.
Defensively, BC is strong. They are in the upper half in total defense, but more importantly, do a good job pressuring the quarterback and causing turnovers. It’s difficult to see where FSU can exploit them.
FSU’s run game is simply non-existent. Statistically, Deondre Francois is the second best passer in the ACC, but outside of Wake Forest, he hasn’t been able to show that he is one of the best offensive weapons in the conference.
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He plays behind an offensive line that is one of the worst in the nation going against a defensive unit that ranks third in the conference and 18th in the nation. BC also ranks first in the conference in interceptions and fourth in fumbles recovered.
Essentially, they are a better and more disciplined version of Miami and the best defensive unit FSU has seen, statistically, outside of Clemson.
One place where BC hasn’t been great is special teams and penalties. FSU isn’t tops in the conference either, but Boston College is one of the worst teams in giving up return yards in both kick off and punt coverage. This is a place where D.J. Matthews can give FSU an edge.
Playing the field position game could be the route that gives FSU the best chance of success. In each of its four blowout losses, FSU had terrible starting field position and while FSU averages 9.3 penalties a game, BC averages almost seven and last week, FSU had one of its least penalized games with only five coming against Notre Dame.
This is a winnable game which comes down to pride for FSU and which FSU team will show up. The match-up is similar to the Miami game, but the FSU team from last month is much different from the team taking the field the past couple weeks. The product has been a shell of a Power 5 program. With advantages defensively due to injury and on special teams opportunities, fans can hope for a close game if not a victory.
Football is a simple game. Play good defense, be sound in the kicking game, don’t turn the ball over, and good things happen.
Do this, don’t panic, don’t give up, and FSU can create momentum. Momentum wins games. Do Something. I mean, anything.
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Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/florida-states-blueprint-for-beating-boston-college