CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden hasn't seen anything like it.
Saturday, for the second game in a row, his Seminoles had a first and goal at the 3 in the second quarter and came away with nothing. Stopped on downs. This time, a Boston College offside penalty actually moved the ball to the 1 on the first play. So they had four shots from there and failed, culminating with a sack of Christian Ponder.
"It's unbelievable," Bowden said after the 28-21 loss. "I can never remember that happening to one of my teams, and it's happened two Saturdays in a row."
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said goal-line situations have been the team's focus for the past two weeks.
"We worked on it hard," he said. "It's very disappointing. We have to learn to make that extra play."
Against USF, Ponder missed on a pass on first down. Lonnie Pryor ran for 2 yards then lost a yard before Ty Jones was stopped at the 1. This time, Pryor was stopped for no gain three times before the sack.
Worse, the Seminoles allowed BC to go 88 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing possession, fueled by Colin Larmond's 62-yard catch on third and 9. Last week, a 77-yard pass highlighted the Bulls' 99-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession.
"When you go for it on fourth down on the 2 or 3 and don't make it, they've still got 97 yards to go and you figure they can't do it," Bowden said.
"And they did. Twice (in two weeks)."
Big receiving days: FSU senior Richard Goodman had nine catches for 105 yards, both career highs, while sophomore Bert Reed had seven for 107 yards, breaking the century mark for the second straight game. (Reed had nine catches for 114 yards against USF.)
The last time FSU had two receivers hit 100 yards was in 2007, when Preston Parker (113) and Greg Carr (108) did it against Wake Forest.
Like Saturday, that also came in a loss.
Corner out: FSU's hopes of righting its struggling pass defense took a blow when senior CB Patrick Robinson injured his left ankle early in the second quarter and didn't return.
Welcome back: Not only did sophomore RB Jermaine Thomas regain his starting job, but sophomore DT Moses McCray, the former Hillsborough High star, returned, albeit not as a starter, after sitting out last week with an elbow injury.
GameDay regulars: With the ESPN College GameDay crew in for the game, it marked the 22nd time the network has picked a game involving the Seminoles. (Although the opportunity to do a segment on Eagles LB Mark Herzlich, who is battling Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, might have had more to do with the choice.) But it's the first time for GameDay to be at an FSU game since 2006.
Speaking of Herzlich … : FSU made a $9,400 donation in Herzlich's name to the BC chapter of "Uplifting Athletes" to help fund Ewing's sarcoma research. Why $9,400? Herzlich, the ACC defensive player of the year in 2008 who hopes to return next season, wears No. 94.