CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — For a moment, Florida State looked poised to pull off the kind of comeback that can change the fortunes of a team's season.
The Seminoles were confidently bouncing around and extolling their fans, a bunch huddled in the north end zone that was jubilantly chopping and chanting in the otherwise stone-quiet Alumni Stadium on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
And then it all changed.
Boston College capitalized on a few breaks to regain the lead in the final minutes then held on for a 28-21 win, underscoring again that FSU remains a team searching for more than a fleeting moment and the players — and iconic coach Bobby Bowden — will have to endure harsh criticism as they do so.
"I wish I had some better news, but I haven't got it," Bowden said.
For the first time since joining the ACC in 1992, the Seminoles are 0-2 in it. And at 2-3 overall, they are off to their worst start since 1983. (FSU later regained one loss through a forfeit.)
"What would I gain by stepping down right now? … Fire everybody and bring in a whole new coaching staff? You can't do that," Bowden said in response to a question about the predictable firestorm that accompanies consecutive losses, first at home to USF and now to its Atlantic Division rival.
"I'll evaluate myself. I'll wait 'til the end of the year."
The Seminoles, however, are sure to do some self-analysis.
As they have done with regularity this season, they botched chances to score, including four shots from the 1-yard line in the second quarter, and were unable to stop the big play, including Montel Harris' 42-yard run for the winning touchdown with 4:07 left.
"It's about finishing," said sophomore receiver Bert Reed, who had seven catches for 107 yards, recovered a muffed punt to avoid a turnover and threw a two-point conversion to tight end Caz Piurowski that tied the score.
"Everything you do in life, that's what football teaches us. You've got to finish. That's something we're not doing right now."
The Eagles (4-1, 2-1) opened a 21-6 halftime lead behind the play of 25-year-old freshman quarterback Dave Shinskie, a former minor-league baseball player.
But after Bowden challenged his players at the break, telling them how much fight they showed — or didn't show — would be a "defining moment," the Seminoles rallied.
Quarterback Christian Ponder drove the team 91 yards, capped by receiver Louis Givens' 10-yard touchdown run on a reverse. Then he took it 84 yards for another score, this one a 2-yard run by Jermaine Thomas, to forge a 21-21 tie.
The Eagles answered, but only with a bit of help. Freshman cornerback Greg Reid, playing in place of senior Patrick Robinson (ankle sprain), dropped a sure interception on second and 10. On the next play, senior safety Jamie Robinson was called for pass interference even though Bowden argued the ball was uncatchable.
"They said I knocked (Colin Larmond) off his route," Robinson said.
"Our feet got tangled up. (I thought) incidental contact, but I guess they saw something different."
Harris, who rushed for a career-high 179 yards, followed with his second touchdown of the game.
"The only good thing I liked about us was in the second half we came back. We made a game out of it," Bowden said.
"But then when the money's on the line, we didn't get it done and they did."
Brian Landman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3347.