College Sports

FSU beats Boston College, winning first game without Willie Taggart

FSU wide receiver D.J. Matthews broke free for a 60-yard touchdown with 1:48 remaining, helping the Seminoles earn a 38-31 win at Boston College during their first game without fired coach Willie Taggart.

After the highlight play during which he made multiple defenders miss, Matthews was mauled by his teammates. FSU, (5-5, 4-4 ACC) rallied around interim coach Odell Haggins and quarterbacks James Blackman and Jordan Travis during the victory.

Haggins is now 3-0 as an interim coach and the Seminoles are now one win away from becoming bowl eligible.

"Well, they showed great effort, resilient. We are Florida State, we're unconquered," Haggins told the ACC Network shortly after the win. "These young men, I told them 'We are going to do everything possible to make sure we put you guys in great situations to win a game.' And we focused on the now, Boston College, and I just appreciate these young men and I love them."

Blackman, who was making his first start since the 22-20 loss to Wake Forest, made big plays and kept plays alive on the ground and through the air. Blackman finished 18-of-26 passing for 346 yards and two touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore started in place of Wisconsin graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook, who started the two previous games.

"He did what he's supposed to do," Haggins said of Blackman during his ACC Network interview. "I told the guys at halftime, it's time for this team to grow up. I said, 'Blackman, it's time for you to grow up,' and he grew up today. These young men grew up, and I appreciate James Blackman. James Blackman went in there and played like he's supposed to."

Wide receiver Tamorrion Terry was the beneficiary of Blackman starting. Terry had seven catches for 156 yards, a new career high, and a touchdown.

Travis, who had not played a snap since transferring from Louisville, had rushing touchdowns of 26 yards and 66 yards, the latter of which iced the game with 1:03 left to play. He finished the contest with 94 rushing yards on only three carries.

Boston College (5-5, 3-4) scored during the game's opening drive. Riding running backs AJ Dillion and David Bailey, the Eagles moved the ball down the field in a hurry. Quarterback Dennis Grosel capped the drive when he found an open Kobay White for a 17-yard touchdown on a broken coverage by FSU's defense. The Seminoles missed an opportunity to recover a fumble the play before the touchdown, but four defenders could not dive on the football.

The Eagles took a 14-3 lead when Bailey scored on an 11-yard touchdown run.

Florida State's offense and defense pushed back after Bailey's touchdown. The Seminoles scored 21 consecutive points, taking a 24-14 lead. Blackman found Terry for a 74-yard touchdown, cutting the Eagles' advantage to 14-10.

Travis rushed for a 26-yard touchdown on his first snap as a Seminole, giving FSU a 17-14 lead.

Cam Akers extended the Seminoles' lead to 24-14 when he rushed for a 13-yard score.

Boston College battled back and tied the game at 24 with 2:33 remaining when Grosel scored on a 1-yard touchdown.

And then Matthews made his highlight-reel play on second-and-11, giving the Seminoles the lead. Defensive back Stanford Samuels III intercepted a pass before Travis ran in for his second score of the contest.

The Seminoles recovered an onside kick with 14 seconds remaining to seal the win.

FSU can clinch bowl eligibility when it hosts Alabama State next Saturday at noon.

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