The Seminoles won't have a lofty ranking to mock if they keep this up.
“We dug our own hole,” running back Rodney Hill said after Florida State closed with three punts and a fumble, then managed to run out the clock only because BC committed its 18th penalty of the game — a face mask after a third-down stop that would have forced a punt.
“We got back out there and it was fine,” Hill said. “We sealed it.”
DJ Lundy intercepted a pass to set up his own 1-yard touchdown run as the Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored four unanswered touchdowns to make it 31-10 before surviving a late BC charge for their ninth straight victory.
Boston College (1-2, 0-1) set a school record for penalties, missed an extra point, went for 2 after another touchdown and failed, and opted not to kick a field goal from the Seminoles 5 when trailing by 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But the Eagles still trailed by only 2 points, with the ball, in the final three minutes before Kalen DeLoach sacked Thomas Castellanos on third down to stall BC's last possession.
The Eagles stopped Lawrance Toafili on a third-and-7 and would have gotten the ball back with about a minute left, but they were called for face masking.
“Just self-inflicted wounds," said BC quarterback Thomas Castellanos, who threw for 305 yards and one touchdown and ran for 95 and another score. "We’ve just got to clean it up. Can’t have it.”
Jordan Travis completed 16 of 24 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 38 yards for the Seminoles. FSU had its first close call of the season after winning its first two games by a combined 74 points.
Kye Robichaux scored from 1 yard out for BC to cut the deficit to 31-16 with a minute left in the third quarter, but Connor Lytton's kick failed. BC recovered a squib kick and advanced to the FSU 5 before getting stopped on fourth down.
Khari Johnson recovered Toafili's fumble and ran it in to pull the Eagles within nine points; BC went for 2 and failed, then stopped FSU for the third straight time — the Eagles did that only once in the entire first half. They drove to the 7 before Castellanos froze the defense with a stutter step and ran it in on a fourth-and-2 to make it 31-29.
But BC's last possession stalled after Castellanos was sacked. The Seminoles needed a first down to kill the clock, and they got it on a face-mask penalty after Toafili was stopped three yards short of the markers.
“Our standard is for us to get better every time we take the field,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “That did not happen today.”
The unexpectedly close victory over a team that had struggled against non-Power Five opponents won’t impress Associated Press Top 25 voters and could tarnish Florida State’s image as it tries to maintain position for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
“We’re going to get back in the playoffs,” Hill said. “Trust me, we’re going to get back in the playoffs.”
The Seminoles need to snap out of it in time for next week’s game against Clemson, which could be the biggest hurdle remaining on their road to the playoffs. Boston College almost pulled off its biggest victory in decades but is still looking for wins that would return it to bowl eligibility.
BC fell to 4-6 in the annual Red Bandanna Game that honors graduate Welles Crowther, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Eagles wore uniforms trimmed with a bandanna theme and the name on each jersey was “FOR WELLES.”
BC beat No. 9 Southern California in the first Red Bandanna Game, in 2014.
Playing in a strong wind that gusted up to 35 mph — but no other remnants of the former Hurricane Lee that had anxious New Englanders preparing for the worst — the Seminoles fell behind 10-3. They made it 24-10 on Travis' pass to Preston Daniel, and then on BC's first play, Lundy picked off Castellanos at the BC 40.
Travis found Jaheim Bell on the next play at the 21, and he spun his way through the tacklers before he was barely brought down before the goal line. Lundy, a 244-pound linebacker who comes in at fullback in goal-line situations, powered in to give Florida State a 31-10 lead.
BC committed 11 penalties in the first half alone — seven of them pre-snap, including two for “disconcerting signals,” a delay of game charged against the defense for imitating the snap count. In all, the Eagles had 18 penalties for 131 yards.
Travis was taken down by the ankle on a scramble in the final minute of the first half, and the FSU medical staff came out to look at him. He walked off on his own and remained on the sideline.
The Seminoles ran only one other play before the half — a kneel-down with 3 seconds left, and backup Tate Rodemaker took that snap. Travis was back in the game for the start of the second half.
Florida State: Visits Clemson next Saturday.
Boston College: Visits Louisville on Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll