No. 3 FSU survives late Boston College rally to win 31-29

Seminoles led 31-10 before Eagles storm back, undone by school-record 18 penalties
Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) celebrates a touchdown during the first...
Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) celebrates a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA football game against the Boston College Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Chestnut Hill, Mass. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)(AP)
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 5:10 PM EDT
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DJ Lundy intercepted a pass to set up his own 1-yard touchdown run and No. 3 Florida State scored four unanswered touchdowns to build a 21-point lead but then blew almost all of it, surviving a late Boston College charge to win 31-29 on Saturday.

Boston College set a school record for penalties, missed an extra point, went for 2 after another touchdown and failed, and opted not to kick a field goal from the Seminoles 5 when trailing by 15 points early in the fourth quarter. But the Eagles still trailed by only 2 points with the ball in the final three minutes before Kalen DeLoach sacked Thomas Castellanos on third down to stall BC's last possession.

The Eagles would have gotten the ball back with about a minute left after stopping Florida State on third down, but they were called for face masking on the tackle — their 18th penalty of the game.

Jordan Travis completed 16 of 24 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 38 yards for the Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). FSU won its ninth straight but had its first close call of the season after winning its first two games by a combined 74 points, and it left the field to derisive chants from the BC fans of "Overrated!"

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis stays on the ground after a tackle that injured his...
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis stays on the ground after a tackle that injured his shoulder during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Thomas Castellanos threw for 305 yards and one touchdown and ran for 95 and another score for BC (1-2, 0-1), and Khari Johnson recovered a fumble and ran it in to pull the Eagles within nine points with about 11 minutes remaining. BC went for 2 and failed, then failed to convert a fourth down at the Seminoles 5, leaving it a two-score game.

After the Eagles stopped FSU for the third straight time — they did it only once in the entire first half — they drove to the 7 before Castellanos froze the defense with a stutter step and ran it in on a fourth-and-2 to make it 31-29.

But BC's last possession stalled after Castellanos was sacked. The Seminoles needed a first down to kill the clock, and they got it on a face-masking penalty after Lawrance Toafili was stopped three yards short of the markers.

Playing in a strong wind that gusted up to 35 mph — but no other remnants of the former Hurricane Lee that had anxious New Englanders preparing for the worst — the Seminoles fell behind 10-3. They made it 24-10 on Travis' pass to Preston Daniel, and then on BC's first play, Lundy picked off Castellanos at the BC 40.

A pass intended for Boston College wide receiver Lewis Bond is caught by Florida State...
A pass intended for Boston College wide receiver Lewis Bond is caught by Florida State linebacker DJ Lundy during the second half Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Travis found Jaheim Bell on the next play at the 21, and he spun his way through the tacklers before he was barely brought down before the goal line. Lundy, a 244-pound linebacker who comes in at fullback in goal-line situations, powered in to give Florida State a 31-10 lead.

Boston College mounted a 12-play drive that ended on Kye Robichaux's 1-yard TD run — but missed the extra point — to make it a 15-point deficit. The Eagles got the ball back when they recovered a squib kick at the FSU 26, failed to convert a fourth-and-2, and then scored anyway when Toafili fumbled and Johnson ran it in to make it 31-22.

BC led 7-0 and 10-3 before eight penalties in the second quarter dragged it down. There were 11 penalties in the first half alone — seven of them pre-snap, including two for "disconcerting signals," a delay of game charged against the defense for imitating the snap count.

In all, the Eagles had 18 penalties for 132 yards.

Associated Press 2023