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Friday, November 4, 2011
Sloppy Eagles don't deserve bowl game

By Jack McCluskey



NEWTON, Mass. -- There will be no bowl game for Boston College this season. And, quite frankly, there shouldn’t be.

What long had seemed a foregone conclusion became a fact Thursday night, as the Eagles were completely outclassed by Florida State 38-7. The loss drops the Eagles to 2-7, ensuring the first losing season in Chestnut Hill since 1998 and ending the school’s streak of consecutive years with a bowl game at 12.

The Seminoles were good, sure, ripping off long run after long run, completing a couple of deep balls and stifling the Eagles’ meager attempts at offense.

But this game was more about the Eagles’ mistakes than anything else. There were fumbles, airmailed snaps, ill-timed penalties and missed tackles aplenty for the Eagles. (Aren’t false starts supposed to be a problem for the visiting offense? Of course, that’s assuming the hometown fans make more noise than the road-tripping ones, which might not have been the case Thursday as the Seminoles quickly took the air out of Alumni Stadium.)

BC’s offense didn’t manage a first down until well into the second quarter, and then only when coach Frank Spaziani pulled starting QB Chase Rettig and put in redshirt freshman Josh Bordner to try to find a spark.

The offense did move a bit thanks to the bootlegs of Bordner, but it was too little, too late for the Eagles.

“We got licked,” Spaziani said.

Rolandan “Deuce” Finch followed up his ACC Player of the Week performance against Maryland with a thoroughly forgettable one against Florida State: 28 carries for 59 yards and two fumbles. One of the fumbles came deep in BC territory and set up an easy touchdown for FSU; the other came deep in FSU territory, and derailed the Eagles’ best drive of the first half.

Asked the mood of the locker room at the half, considering the Eagles were down four scores and their best chance to get on the board evaporated after another mistake deep in the red zone, Rettig cited the obvious.

“We thought they were self-inflicted pains,” Rettig said.

Those were just the kind of pains the Eagles couldn’t afford against the Seminoles, who won their fourth straight game by at least 25 points.

“When you’re playing a team like that, that caliber, we said it going in: ‘We have to play error-free football,’” Spaziani said. “We can’t afford to have those things and overcome them. Once again, that’s a good football team right there.”

“It’s frustrating,” linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “We had a good game plan going in. We knew what they were going to do. … We came out in the first series and played well and then at points in the second half, but we couldn’t put it all together. It needs to be consistent every series.”

Spaziani also said he saw good things from the defense in spots, including a fourth-down stop with the Noles on the doorstep late after a Bordner interception, but obviously the good things weren’t consistent enough to outweigh the bad.

And in the end, that’s been the story of BC’s season.

“There’s a lot of goals that have disappeared a little bit this year,” Spaziani said, when asked if he was disappointed about the bowl streak ending. “I think we’re at the stage where we’re not discouraged. We’re disappointed. We know exactly who we are and where we have to go. That’s a good football team out there, that’s a real good football team.

“We’ll move forward from this and build on it. There’s a lot of football to play. The season’s not over.”

Then, after a pause, the coach added: “Senior day’s coming up.”

The way the Eagles have played this season, saying goodbye may be the only thing their fans have left to look forward to.

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