FSU at Boston College
October 26, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards is on a 17-7 tear in college football during the month of October. He owns a 37-21 record (63.8%, +14.4 units) for the season. Brian is the #2 overall money leader and is ranked third in winning percentage out of 37 college-football handicappers on VI! Don't miss out on any of his pay-if-they-win-only selections for Week 9!
Florida State (2-4 straight up, 0-4-2 against the spread) is in the midst of a nightmare season that was ‘Saban-taged’ in a Week 1 loss when the Seminoles, ranked No. 3 coming into 2017, lost a 24-7 decision to Alabama in Atlanta. Even worse, star sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois went down with a season-ending injury.
Then Jimbo Fisher’s team saw its next two games postponed due to the ramifications of Hurricane Irma. The Week 2 meeting with ULM was cancelled, while the Week 3 game at home vs. Miami was moved to Oct. 7, a Saturday in which the ‘Noles and Hurricanes shared an open date.
Therefore, FSU didn’t play for 21 days. When Fisher’s bunch finally took the field at Doak Campbell Stadium for a noon Eastern kick in Week 4, it was lined up against a North Carolina State team aiming to avenge a gut-wrenching 24-20 loss to FSU in Raleigh the previous season. N.C. State has one of the nation’s fiercest defensive lines led by last year’s fourth-team All-American DE Bradley Chubb, and it was poised to get after FSU’s true freshman QB James Blackman in his first career start.
Chubb dominated the game, taking advantage of a myriad of situations in which Fisher refused to give his offensive tackle help with a second blocker. The Wolfpack captured a 27-21 win as a 10.5-point road underdog. Blackman acquitted himself well, throwing for 278 yards and one TD without an interception.
FSU went to Wake Forest next and found itself trailing 19-16 midway through the fourth quarter, but Ricky Aguayo buried a 35-yard field goal to pull even with 6:20 remaining. With 53 seconds left, Blackman found Auden Tate for a 40-yard scoring strike to propel the ‘Noles to a 26-19 win as seven-point road ‘chalk.’
Junior RB Jacques Patrick was the catalyst against the Demon Deacons, rushing for 120 yards and one TD on 19 carries. Blackman completed only 11-of-21 passes for 121 yards and one TD without an interception. The ‘Noles prevailed despite Wake Forest’s 367-270 edge in total offense.
With its first win pocketed, FSU returned home to face unbeaten Miami as a 2.5-point underdog. FSU led 3-0 at intermission, but the ‘Canes took a 10-3 advantage into the fourth quarter. The ‘Noles answered with 10 straight points to go in front by three, but UM’s Malik Rosier hit Braxton Berrios for a six-yard TD pass to give the ‘Canes a 17-13 lead with 5:09 remaining in the final stanza.
Blackman would hook up with Tate again at crunch time, though. A 20-yard scoring strike with 1:24 left put FSU up 20-17. However, with six ticks remaining, Rosier connected with Darrell Langham for the game-winning 23-yard TD pass to give UM a 24-20 triumph. The victory for Mark Richt’s program ended a seven-game losing streak to FSU.
FSU true freshman RB Cam Akers rushed 20 times for 121 yards in the losing effort, while Patrick produced 91 rushing yards on only 11 attempts. Tate had three receptions for 56 yards and one TD. Blackman completed 17-of-28 passes for 203 yards and two TDs, but he threw a pair of crucial interceptions.
In bounce-back mode with a shocking 1-3 record, FSU went to Duke as merely a seven-point road favorite. The ‘Noles collected a 17-10 win to result in a push for their backers. With the score knotted at 10-10 with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter, Akers exploded for a 42-yard TD run that proved to be the game winner.
Akers rushed for 115 yards and one TD on 15 carries, while Patrick finished with 98 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Blackman completed 18-of-21 passes for 197 yards and one TD, but he was intercepted twice. Tate had three catches for 30 yards and one TD.
With a chance to get its record back to even and exact a measure of revenge on Louisville after taking a 62-20 loss at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium last season, FSU blew a red-zone opportunity with less than two minutes remaining in a tie game on a Blackman fumble on the exchange with a RB on a read-option play.
Louisville recovered and Lamar Jackson promptly marched his team down the field and in position for a game-winning field goal. With five ticks left, Blaton Creque was true on a 34-yard field goal to lift the Cardinals to a 31-28 win as six-point road underdogs. U of L had a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter, only to see FSU rally with a defensive TD and a 20-yard TD pass from Blackman to Nyqwan Murray.
Blackman threw for 248 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted twice for the third straight game. Akers rushed for a team-best 75 yards on 16 carries, while Patrick had 70 yards on the ground on 14 totes.
FSU’s offensive woes have been jaw-dropping, despite the absence of Francois. The ‘Noles are ranked No. 116 out of 130 FBS teams in scoring, averaging a meager 19.8 points per game. They’re ranked No. 102 in total offense and No. 87 in rushing yards.
Blackman has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,048 yards with a 7/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Akers has rushed for a team-best 455 yards and one TD while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Patrick has run for 434 yards and one TD with a 5.7 YPC average. Tate has 24 receptions for 374 yards and five TDs.
With the team falling to 2-4, FSU fans are restless. The narrative is that long-time offensive line coach Rick Trickett is doing a poor job with a group that’s struggling mightily for a third consecutive season. Others in the fan base want the defensive coordinator out. As the team was exiting the field after the defeat to U of L, one fan voiced his frustrations toward Fisher as he was approaching the tunnel.
Fisher responded to the fan, who was screaming for him to hire new coaches, by reportedly saying, “Won’t you bring your punk ass down here and say that?!”
That incident encompasses the type of year it’s been for FSU, which is in a tough spot Friday night on the road with a short week of preparation. The ‘Noles will take on a suddenly-hot Boston College team in Chestnut Hill, where temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40s.
As of Thursday afternoon, most books had FSU installed as a four-point favorite with a total of 47. The Eagles were +165 on the money line (risk $100 to win $165).
There was plenty of speculation about Boston College (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) fifth-year head coach Steve Addazio’s future at the school earlier this month, but he has sparked his team to back-to-back wins and victories in three of its last four outings. If he can pull a mild upset over FSU, that chatter will completely end and the narrative of a contract extension will commence.
Two weeks ago, BC pulled a stunner at Louisville, winning by a 45-42 count as a 20-point road underdog. The Eagles trailed 14-0 and 21-7 in the first half, only to take a pair of separate 14-point leads (35-21 & 42-28) in the fourth quarter. Lamar Jackson ripped off TD runs of nine and 41 yards to pull U of L even with 5:03 remaining, but BC got the game-winning field goal by Colton Lichtenberg from 27 yards out as time expired.
True freshman RB A.J. Dillon, the prize of Addazio’s 2017 recruiting class, torched Louisville for 272 rushing yards and four TDs on a workmanlike 39 carries. QB Anthony Brown split time under center with Darius Wade. Brown ran for 52 yards on six attempts and threw for 100 yards with one TD and one interception.
Then in a back-to-back road spot at Virginia, which went into last week with a shocking 5-1 record, BC went to Charlottesville as a seven-point underdog and blasted the Cavaliers, 41-10. Brown was much more effective at UVA, completing 19-of-24 throws for 275 yards and three TDs without an interception. He also ran for 32 yards on five carries, while Dillon produced 89 rushing yards on 24 totes. Redshirt freshman WR Kobay White had three receptions for 85 yards and one TD, while junior TE Tommy Sweeney hauled in four catches for 55 yards and two TDs.
BC scored only 98 points in its first six games, but it has produced 86 in the last two weeks. For the season, Dillon has rushed for a team-high 694 yards and six TDs, averaging 4.6 YPC. Jon Hilliman has run for 391 yards and three TDs, but he’s only averaging 3.3 YPC.
Brown has connected on 54.1 percent of his passes for 1,284 yards with a 10/8 TD-INT ratio. White has been his favorite target, catching 24 balls for 313 yards and one TD. Sweeney has 19 catches for 234 yards and two TDs.
BC has limped to a 1-3 SU record and a 2-2 ATS mark in four home games this year. The Eagles took beatings from Wake Forest (34-10) and Notre Dame (49-20) in Weeks 2 and 3, and they picked up their lone home triumph vs. Central Michigan by a 28-8 count. They also dropped a 23-10 decision to Va. Tech at home.
BC’s only other loss came at Clemson, but the Eagles covered the number in the 34-7 loss as 33-point road underdogs. This was an extremely misleading final score, as the game was tied at 7-7 with 12 minutes remaining.
As a home underdog during Addazio’s tenure, BC has compiled a 5-8 spread record. Meanwhile, FSU owns a 15-14-2 spread ledger as a road favorite on Fisher’s watch.
The ‘under’ hit in the first five FSU games of the year until the ‘under’ appeared for the first time in last week’s loss vs. Louisville. The ‘under’ is a perfect 2-0 in the Seminoles’ two road assignments. They’ve seen their games average combined scores of 42.3 PPG.
The ‘under’ is 5-3 overall for BC, 3-1 in its home games, but it has seen the 'over' cash in the last two games with its offense erupting from out of nowhere. The Eagles have seen their games average combined scores of 50.5 PPG.
Kickoff on Friday night is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Boston College has covered the spread in five consecutive games.
-- Like Addazio, two other coaches who were lacking job security earlier this month have led their teams on nice runs recently. I’m talking about Arizona State’s Todd Graham and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez. Kudos to both along with Addazio, the former Urban Meyer assistant at Florida.
-- Tennessee star RB John Kelly was suspended for Saturday’s game at Kentucky on Wednesday following his Tuesday night arrest in Knoxville for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
-- ULM has seen the ‘over’ hit in five consecutive games. The Warhawks make the long flight to Moscow this weekend to play at Idaho. The total was 61.5 as of late Thursday afternoon.
-- After missing a 35-27 win at Georgia Southern before New Mexico State went into its open date, star RB Larry Rose III was upgraded to ‘probable’ for Saturday’s home date with Arkansas State. Rose was the 2015 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. The Aggies were 3.5-point home underdogs as of late Thursday afternoon. They’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games as home ‘dogs.
-- The ‘over’ has cashed in four in a row for Georgia Southern, which has given up 52, 43, 35 and 55 in its last four games. The winless Eagles, who fired second-year coach Tyson Summers after last week’s blowout loss at previously-winless UMass, play at Troy this weekend.
-- Speaking of Troy, it has seen the ‘under’ cash at a perfect 7-0 clip this year. The total for Ga. Southern at Troy was 50.5 points as of late Thursday afternoon.
-- The ‘over’ is 6-1 overall for Coastal Carolina, with its games averaging combined scores of 65.3 PPG. The Chanticleers will host Texas State on Saturday with the total listed at 52 as of late Thursday afternoon.
-- Houston has now seen the ‘under’ go 6-1 after seeing its first ‘over’ when Memphis rallied to a 42-38 win as a 1.5-point road underdog last Thursday. The Cougars led 17-0 at intermission, only to give up 42 points in the second half.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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