Perfect start to season doesn’t hide FSU’s flaws

Filed under SPORTS

BY PATRIK NOHE
MIAMI HERALD (MCT)

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State knew what it was getting into on Saturday, knew it was going to get Boston College’s best shot.

The Wildcats tussled with the Seminoles on Sept. 21 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.(KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES)

The Wildcats tussled with the Seminoles on Sept. 21 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
(KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES)

The No. 8 Seminoles bested the Eagles 48-34 and the main story line as FSU departed Boston on Saturday evening was a near-miraculous last-second touchdown pass that saw Jameis Winston evade two defenders before finding Kenny Shaw for a 55-yard touchdown.

But FSU also was met with significant resistance. BC — fresh off a bye week — came in well-rested and well-prepared and potentially exposed cracks in the Seminoles’ defense and special teams.

“Hard fought victory on the road. We knew this was going to be a tough football game, knew it going in,” said coach Jimbo Fisher after the game. “They caught us with some things and made some plays and got us behind early but the kids kept a lot of poise, I think.”

Critical mistakes
The Seminoles (4-0) have made a habit of slow starts this season. They trailed Pittsburgh in their opener, fell behind Nevada early and took a couple of drives to get going last weekend against Bethune-Cookman.

Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium was no different.

“We’ve got to learn to start better. We had some mistakes, some critical mistakes I thought on that first drive on offense that were inexcusable,” Fisher said.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Winston missed on his first two passes before taking an 11-yard sack that sent the punt team on to the field. A low punt and a 19-yard return set Boston College up with great field position — as the Eagles had for much of the day — with the ball at the Seminole 36.

‘We can do better’
Boston College would go on to score in each of their first three possessions — taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter. In total, the Eagles racked up over 200 yards of rushing. BC running back Andre Williams finished with 149 yards on 28 carries and quarterback Chase Rettig utilized FSU’s over-aggressiveness to throw for a career-high four touchdown passes.

“We’ve got to go back, we’re going to look at film and see what we did wrong because this, we didn’t expect this,” sophomore cornerback PJ Williams said after the game. “We expect to come out and dominate teams and play hard so we’re going back and look at what we can do better.”

In total the Eagles amassed 397 yards and the 34 points they scored was the most against FSU in the series’ history.

This is the portion of FSU’s schedule where things get difficult too.

A work in progress
The Seminoles host No. 25 Maryland on Saturday before traveling to Clemson in three weeks to face the third-ranked Tigers. NC State visits the following weekend. Then the annual slugfest with the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes at home is on Nov. 2.

FSU’s offense has scored points in bunches this year — putting up at least 48 in every game this season — but if Saturday was any indication, the Seminoles’ young defense may not be as far along in coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s new scheme as FSU would like.

“We’ve got to get better in all three phases,” Fisher said after the game. “But guys we’re a work in progress. We’re learning to win on the road, we’re very proud of that, and we’re 4-0.”

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