Defense, Ryan lift Boston College over Florida StateOct 21, 2006 - 11:08 PM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- On a day where its hopes of a successful season died, Florida State fittingly wore black.
Showing little fight after the first quarter, the Seminoles were handled in a 24-19 Atlantic Coast Conference loss to No. 22 Boston College.
Safety Wes Davis and cornerback DeJuan Tribble made big defensive plays and quarterback Matt Ryan had a gutty performance for the Eagles (6-1, 3-1 ACC Atlantic), who positioned themselves for an appearance in the conference title game.
The black uniforms with garnet numbers were worn as a tribute to the Seminole Tribe, which never signed a treaty with the United States. The pants read "Seminoles" down one leg and "Unconquered" down the other.
However, FSU (4-3, 2-3 Atlantic) was conquered by Boston College, which used a pair of first-half turnovers to create touchdowns that opened a 21-10 lead at the break and staved off a desperation fourth-quarter rally.
"There's always hope," Seminoles defensive tackle Budd Thacker said. "(We're) definitely going to try to win the rest of the season and try to get us to the ACC championship."
"We have a bunch of games left this season that we're going to play hard in," defensive end Kevin McNeil said. "The season's not over yet."
Questionable with left ankle and foot injuries, Ryan completed 16-of-26 passes for 262 yards and one interception. He often hung in the pocket and took big hits after the release and showed strong leadership.
"I felt pretty good," Ryan said.
The Eagles were not in the clear until cornerback Larry Anam intercepted a "Hail Mary" pass from Drew Weatherford intended for 6-6 Greg Carr on the game's final play. But they were in control virtually throughout, as they are in the Atlantic Division.
"We seem to be very good at this," said Eagles coach Tom O'Brien, whose team saw the outcome decided on the last play for the fourth time this season. "We made the play at the end. It was a great play by Larry Anam in the end zone."
Florida State held a 3-0 lead midway through the second quarter when Weatherford found tight end Caz Piurowski, who had the ball stripped away by cornerback Sulaiman Sanni. It was picked up at the FSU 18 and returned to the 1 by Davis. Linebacker Brian Toal banged in two plays later for his 11th career touchdown.
"I thought my forward progress was stopped," said Piurowski, who caught three passes for 23 yards. "I was trying to drive my feet for a first down, but I didn't think I was making any progress right before they stripped the ball."
The Seminoles immediately responded as Weatherford hooked up with Lorenzo Booker on a screen pass that covered 43 yards, then found Carr with a 22-yard TD strike over the middle after a penalty wiped out a TD toss to Carr.
"I had the feeling out there that this is the best I've seen us play and the worst I've seen us play," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "There were some times I thought we looked really darn good and other times I've never seen us play so bad. The quarterback was hot and the quarterback was cold."
BC was forced to punt on its next possession but was given a reprieve when FSU roughed the punter. Ryan completed four straight passes for 41 yards before L.V. Whitworth went six yards for a score and a 14-10 lead with 51 seconds before halftime.
Sharp to that point, Weatherford terribly telegraphed a pass to the left flat. Tribble jumped the route and sped untouched 36 yards into the end zone for a 21-10 advantage.
"(Boston College) outexecuted us," Bowden said. "But that never would have happened if we hadn't gotten in trouble right before the half."
"He saw the ball thrown, made a great break and took off," O'Brien said.
In the third quarter, Ryan threw a 44-yard pass to Brandon Robinson, who made a great leaping catch to set up a 26-yard field goal by Steve Aponavicius.
Weatherford was 32-of-48 for 326 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He directed a quick 55-yard drive that he capped with a sneak with 13:36 to play, getting the Seminoles back in the game.
On FSU's next possession, Weatherford marched the team 80 yards to the BC 10. But on 4th-and-4 - the 17th play of the drive - he was pressured and threw an incompletion with less than two minutes to play.
"On third down, the snap was low, so I just tried to pick it up and run," said Weatherford, FSU's leading rusher with 12 yards. "On fourth down, we tried to design a play where Caz clears out a route for Chris Davis on an arrow route underneath. I tried to step up when I saw Antone (Smith) pop wide open in the middle of the field, and when I was trying to throw it I got hit in my arm."
The Eagles took an intentional safety with 27 seconds remaining before making a final defensive stand.
"It was 35 (seconds) when we snapped, so we used eight there and then as soon as you punt the ball, the clock started," O'Brien said. "By the time they ran it back, IO think it took another seven seconds, which took it down to two plays."
Whitworth had 53 yards on 18 carries. Kevin Challenger caught four passes for 41 yards and Robinson had three catches for 67 yards.
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