We might as well get this out of the way first.
The Boston College defense has seen better days. Better years, in fact. The Eagles are now treading into territory with which they are unfamiliar: the bottom of FBS. After another disappointing day at the office in West Point, they have about as tough a draw imaginable as they must stop the Florida State Seminole offense.
The performance of the Eagles defense is transcending words at this point. It’s doubtful that anyone, much less the players themselves, thought it could get this bad, but the numbers are self-explanatory:
What more can any blogger or beat writer say about it that hasn’t already been said? The stats speak for themselves, but we know the underlying issues: poor tackling, bad scheme, line play, and more. For every good moment they have (e.g. stopping Army on fourth down in the fourth quarter), BC has about six bad ones (e.g. letting them score a long touchdown in the final minute, allowing over 500 rushing yards, etc.). Fundamentals have disappeared and unfortunately for them, nothing is going right.
If a miraculous epiphany is coming, it’s not happening this week. Despite Florida State’s offensive performance against NC State, the Seminoles are still one of the most dangerous offenses around. They only scored 16 points on the Wolfpack in Raleigh, but still average about 45 points per game (7th in FBS) and over 510 yards per game (14th). What makes this even worse from a Boston College perspective is that they will face a team that rushes for an average of 238.5 yards per game (13th).
Quarterback EJ Manuel and his Seminoles also do well in the red zone, converting 89% of the time (BC: 71%). Manuel himself also has one of the higher passer efficiency ratings in the nation at 166.89 (8th in FBS; Rettig: 134.98 – 57th).
If the Wolfpack showed the world anything last week during their major upset victory over Florida State, it’s that the Seminoles can be stopped. The problem here is that the Eagles have had extreme difficulty shutting down lesser offenses so far this year. It is hard to imagine things going differently when faced with an offense that has so many weapons, such as Manuel, Chris Thompson, and James Wilder, Jr. FSU runs the ball very effectively, and Boston College has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that they cannot stop it.
This is a significant matchup advantage for Florida State. It looks like it will be a very long day for the BC defense, as the Seminoles run game will keep them on the field and eventually wear them out.