Oct. 12, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- They've had to hear about the 17 unanswered points, the loss and the fall from the ranks of the un-beatens and the top-10 national rankings all week. They say they've turned the page on what happened at NC State but you can only move so far from your previous game until you've played the next one.
Saturday at 5:30 p.m., No. 11/12 Florida State finally gets that chance against Boston College. In a return to Doak Campbell Stadium following two contests on the road, the Seminoles (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) get to show their home crowd how they've responded since being knocked down.
"Just learning from [the loss] and being able to actually get a chance to go back on the field again," safety Terrence Brooks said, "to actually play another game and compete in front of fans and compete in front of your family and represent everything you stand for, it's a blessing."
Boston College (1-4, 0-2) may seem like the perfect opponent for a bounce-back game but amidst shaking off the loss and all the talk surrounding it, FSU's coaches and players haven't overlooked the Eagles. "We can't take anybody for granted," linebacker Telvin Smith said about a BC team that has yet to beat an FBS program this season.
The Eagles make the trek to Tallahassee with an offense that has scored at least 31 points in all but one game and with an offense that ranks No. 2 in the ACC and No. 16 in the nation in passing yardage per game.
"They're throwing for 311 yards a game," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Their back does a very nice job. He's big, he's physical, he can run the ball. Their linemen do a great job. They're much more explosive and much more consistent and they're putting a bunch of points on the board."
Where Boston College struggles most is on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles rank 104th in the country in yards allowed per game with 429.80 surrendered and allow an average of 29.0 points. Boston College is also near the bottom of the rankings in sacks and is last in the country in tackles for loss.
But NC State may have provided a blueprint for the BC defense to follow. Against the Wolfpack, FSU quarterback EJ Manuel was sacked four times after being taken down just six times combined in the first five games of the season.
FSU's pass protection has to improve if the Seminoles are going to avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the fourth time in as many seasons.
"[NC State] put a lot of pressure on our offense and we didn't make them pay," Manuel said earlier this week. "It's not the reason we lost but it's one of them."
Despite that loss, FSU's players have conducted business as usual this week, knowing that a win -- while not guaranteed -- is the best medicine for the ailments of a loss.
Saturday's game also represents the start of the second half of the regular-season for a Seminoles team that still has a conference title and BCS Bowl Game in its sights. And they're anxious to get started.
"It's a new game; a new day," Brooks said. "You get to prove yourself again."