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Beating Florida St. would be big lift

9/27/2013

NEWTON, Mass. -- It’s easy to get lost in the week-to-week scrum that is a college football season.

There are so many games, each one with so many storylines, that it’s easy to lose perspective. And when that happens, all of a sudden every game is in contention for the title of “The. Biggest. Game. Ever.”

Each week’s game is the biggest test, never mind that at the time the previous weekend’s game was also the biggest test.

So with that in mind, just what would it mean if Boston College (2-1, 1-0 ACC) can knock off No. 8 Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2) in Chestnut Hill?

For Steve Addazio’s rebuilding program, quite a bit.

The Eagles have lost their past 10 matchups with ranked teams, with their most recent triumph over a Top 25 team coming Nov. 15, 2008, over (coincidentally) No. 20 Florida State. The Eagles haven’t beaten a team ranked in the Top 10 since Oct. 25, 2007, when they beat No. 8 Virginia Tech.

BC has lost four straight, and 17 of its past 20, games against Top 10 teams dating back to 1994.

If Addazio and the Eagles are able to beat the Seminoles (or, in two weeks, No. 3 Clemson) it would be a huge boost to the program.

“I think it means more to beat FSU than it would to beat Villanova or Wake Forest,” senior back Andre Williams said. “A win is a win, but this is a Top 10 team. That’s just going to boost your morale, boost your confidence and it’s just ... if we can pull out a win like this, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t meet our goal of getting to a bowl game because if we can beat FSU we can beat anybody on the schedule.”

The Eagles aren’t being unrealistic. They know where they stand, coming off a 2-10 season in 2012 and a 35-7 loss at USC in Week 3.

“Obviously it’s tough,” Kasim Edebali said. “Losing is always tough. But the coaches talk to us, the players talk to each other, you can’t put your head down. You’ve got to keep working, keep your head up and get better.”

The fifth-year senior co-captain said the Eagles are looking forward to this weekend’s game.

“First and foremost, we’re just excited,” Edebali said. “It’s a perfect opportunity. You’ve got a Top 10 team coming to your house, it can’t get any better than that.”

Ian White, the other co-captain, said he thinks the bye week the Eagles enjoyed in Week 4 helped.

“It’s a great thing,” he said. “It’s an extra week to prepare, an extra week to watch film and see their tendencies and for the coaches to get the very best game plan that they can together for us and for us to learn that game plan and give us that little bit of extra time to see what we like and what works. It gives us a little bit better opportunity to win the game.”

As a former assistant at Florida, Addazio is very familiar with Florida State from the in-state rivals’ yearly matchups. He said after practice Monday that this might just be the best FSU team he’s seen since he was at Florida.

“I’ve seen defense like this but maybe the offense wasn’t quite like this, but now [it’s] the whole package,” he said. “I think this is the most talented whole package that I’ve seen.”

Coming into the matchup, Florida State is first in the ACC in scoring average (52.3 PPG) and total offense (547.3 YPG), and first in points allowed (8.7 PPG) and second in total defense (allowing 251.0 yards per game). Meanwhile, BC is last in the ACC in scoring average (18.3 PPG) and total offense (303.0 YPG), seventh in points allowed (19.7 PPG) and 11th in total defense (374.0 YPG).

“Obviously we’ve got to play at a high level here at home and we’ve got to continue to improve,” Addazio said. “We’ve got to play with a better rate of execution. That’s what we’re working on right now. We’re really working on our execution, limiting mistakes and being crisp.

“Obviously we’re not looking to speed this game up, we’re really looking to slow this game down.”

To do that, the Eagles may lean heavily on Williams. In three games so far this season, Williams has carried the ball 23, 35 and 17 times. Coming into Saturday, the 6-foot, 228-pounder ranks first in the ACC in rushing yards (356), yards per game (118.67) and attempts per game (25.0).

If Williams can produce more on the ground against FSU than he did against USC (17 carries for just 38 yards), the Eagles may be able to control the clock and limit the chances for the explosive Seminoles offense and redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

Quarterback Chase Rettig wasn’t interested in talking about what a win over FSU would mean. He’s just worried about getting one.

“The big thing is just executing and your guys doing the right thing,” he said. “That’s my job right now. I’m just trying to get us in the best play for each situation against their defense and try to have some success.”

For his part, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said all the right things in his weekly ACC conference call. He praised the Eagles’ tenacity and called Alumni Stadium a tough place to play.

“Any time you have to play in this league on the road it's very tough, and we're going to have to bring our A-game, be ready to play,” Fisher said. “I know they will. They've had an off week and two weeks to prepare. We'll definitely have to bring our A-game to play, and it should be one heck of a ballgame.”

Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, BC’s leading tackler with 28 stops (good for eighth in the ACC), tried to put the matchup in perspective.

“We understand that they’re a good team,” the senior said. “But they’re very beatable. They’re guys just like us, they’re practicing like we do, they’re working just like us. They’re regular guys out there, they’re not some powerhouse that no one can touch.

“And we’re going to bring it to them on Saturday.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.