CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — For three decades, there has been nothing so certain in college football as Florida State playing in a bowl game.
The Seminoles qualified for an NCAA-record 30th consecutive season Thursday as EJ Manuel threw for one touchdown and ran for one in a 38-7 victory over Boston College.
"That's one of our goals we knew from the beginning of the year, and now we've knocked that one off," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Thirty years in a row. There's something about that. Everybody says it's no big deal. But don't do it and see what happens."
With representatives of the Chick-fil-A Bowl in attendance, Manuel completed 12 of 16 passes for 180 yards and ran 16 times for 37 yards to help FSU (6-3, 4-2 ACC) open a 28-0 halftime lead and coast to its fourth consecutive victory.
"I think it would be something that we would be ashamed of if we were the team that didn't continue with the great tradition of Florida State," Manuel said. "We should win at least six games every year at Florida State — at least."
Boston College (2-7, 1-5), which had gone to a bowl game for 12 consecutive seasons, was guaranteed its first losing season since 1998 and eliminated from bowl contention.
Devonta Freeman ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and fellow freshman Nick O'Leary caught three passes for 87 yards as FSU did most of its damage with touchdowns on three consecutive possessions during the first half.
With 4:51 left in the first half, the Seminoles led 28-0, had outgained the Eagles 214-16 and had held them without a first down.
"We got licked," BC coach Frank Spaziani said. "Couldn't get a first down, couldn't get out of our own way for a little bit there."
Only a third-quarter touchdown — on a 26-yard drive begun after a Manuel fumble — prevented FSU's third shutout of the season and second straight (34-0 over N.C. State last week).
"If you're going to be a great football team, you've got to have a great defense," Seminoles safety Lamarcus Joyner said. "You've got to control the line of scrimmage, and that's what the guys are doing. We've been doing that the past three weeks."
Manuel threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns last week in the victory over N.C. State, the Seminoles' fourth consecutive game with more than 425 yards of total offense. Against BC they had 307.
FSU failed to get a first down on its first possession. But it got the ball back on the BC 2-yard line when Rolandan Finch fumbled. Two plays and a penalty later, Manuel hit Bert Reed for an 8-yard touchdown.
The Seminoles scored early in the second quarter on Freeman's 12-yard run. And after another BC three-and-out, Manuel completed a 58-yard pass to O'Leary before taking it in himself from 1 yard out to make it 21-0. After another BC three-and-out, Freeman marched FSU down the field before scoring from the 3 to give the Seminoles a 28-0 lead.
Chase Rettig completed 11 of 18 passes with one touchdown and one interception for BC, splitting time with freshman Josh Bordner after the first six drives resulted in five punts and a fumble. Bordner was 1-of-2 for 37 yards, and he ran seven times for 45 yards.
Luke Kuechly had 20 tackles — 12 solo — for BC, his 31st consecutive game with 10 or more.
"I don't think with this team, with this BC team, anybody's going to quit," Kuechly said. "I don't care about what's not available. I'm going to come out and win against N.C. State (next week)."