Monday, April 23, 2018
Colleges

EJ Manuel leads Florida State Seminoles to rout of Boston College Eagles

TALLAHASSEE — Any lingering effects from No. 12 Florida State's first loss of the season quickly disappeared Saturday night against an overmatched Boston College.

The Seminoles defense rebounded from the previous week's second-half collapse with a dominant four quarters, and the offense turned from conservative to aggressive with a career night from quarterback EJ Manuel in a 51-7 rout in front of an announced 81,075 at Doak Campbell Stadium.

"They were locked from the get-go," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "You could sense it. They had a chip on their shoulder."

That chip appeared early as the Seminoles (6-1, 3-1 ACC) fixed the problems that led to a deflating 17-16 defeat at North Carolina State. The Wolfpack converted on three fourth downs in its winning drive, but FSU's defense made sure it didn't happen again against Boston College (1-5, 0-3).

The Eagles drove to the Seminole 1 before the defense began its dominance. Defensive end Bjoern Werner batted down one pass and stuffed a second-down run. The 'Noles stopped the next rush at the goal line, and Werner pressured Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig into an incomplete pass to end the threat.

FSU quickly capitalized with its first 99-yard scoring drive since 2006. Manuel hit receiver Kenny Shaw with a streaking 77-yard touchdown pass — the longest of the quarterback's career and the longest for FSU since 2007.

"I was ready to go," Manuel said.

The score gave the Seminoles the lead for good and marked a turn from the conservative, run-heavy play-calling that fans questioned against the Wolfpack. FSU opened with nine consecutive passes, including six deep balls, and threw on 20 of its 33 first-half plays against the nation's No. 104-ranked defense.

The result: Manuel passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the first two quarters, and the Seminoles scored on five of their first seven possessions to run away with the game.

"We had to get over last week's loss," Shaw said.

Manuel finished with four touchdown passes and a career-high 439 passing yards — the first 400-yard performance by an FSU quarterback since Chris Weinke in 2000 — while helping the Seminoles score more than 49 points for the fifth time this season.

Running back James Wilder scored the first two touchdown receptions of his career with highlight-reel plays.

The former Plant High star dived just past the goal line in the second quarter for a 7-yard score, and he hurdled an Eagle defender on his way into the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter.

The FSU defense also rebounded from allowing N.C. State 17 consecutive second-half points last week, shutting out the Eagles in the second half.

"We proved ourselves on that tonight," safety Lamarcus Joyner said.

The Seminoles held the ACC's second-ranked passing offense to 129 passing yards, allowing the Eagles to score a season-low seven points. BC, which has not beaten a Division I-A team this season, converted on only 3-of-16 third- or fourth-down attempts.

FSU's convincing victory followed a familiar script after disappointing upsets. Since 2005, a ranked FSU team has lost nine of its past 11 road games to unranked opponents. The Seminoles have rebounded with wins after seven of those nine defeats.

"It'll be a great challenge to never look back," Fisher said, "and see if we can keep doing it."

Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18