Boston College Pass Rush Will be the Key to Beating Florida State in Red Bandana Game

Written By: Brett Korpi
In my two seasons covering Boston College football I have not seen the Super Fans more optimistic and fired up about a game than they are to face Florida State on Friday Night in the school’s annual Red Bandana game. Just, two weeks ago if someone told me that, I’d make a call for a wellness check. That is because of when the Eagles suffered their 23-10 loss to Virginia Tech many of those same fans could be heard at Alumni Stadium chanting for the firing of head coach Steve Addazio after another dismal offensive performance.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the annual Red Bandana game. That same offense finally found its way. And, just like Addazio told us it would look after the game against the Hokies, it looked “beautiful.” Boston College (4-4, 2-3) broke out with 45-42 last-second victory over Louisville, then demolished Virginia 41-10 after scoring just 27 points in their three previous ACC games.

The Seminoles, on the other hand, have been in a downward spiral all season long. After coming into the season with CFP aspirations, Florida State fell to 2-4 and 2-3 in the conference when they lost to Louisville last weekend. Needless to say, things have been better in Tallahassee.

What has plagued the ‘Noles this season has been injuries. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has had to deal with the loss of his starting quarterback Deondre Francois and three starters on the offensive line, all for the season. Heading into Friday night FSU will also be without running back Jacques Patrick, wide receiver Keith Gavin, and defensive back Calvin Brewton.

Now, the Eagles own injury issues on both sides of the ball have been cited all season long. And, they have recently have had their star on defense, Harold Landry, be hobbled by an undisclosed injury. Landry hasn’t been himself the last two games, and his presence was close to nonexistent against Virginia. His status for Friday night is currently unknown.

“Unknown. Not healthy. I don’t know the answer as to exactly where.” Addazio said of Landry’s health on Tuesday.

Where the tide has turned for BC has been the emergence of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Three freshmen have stood out offensively, running back A.J. Dillon, quarterback Anthony Brown and wide receiver Kobay White have all garnered accolades for their performances the last two weeks.

Defensively the Eagles have gone into their last three games paper thin at linebacker, even having to move running back Davon Jones over to provide depth to the position group. Players have stepped up all over the defense though. Defensive end Zach Allen was an absolute force. While linebackers Ty Schwab and John Lamot have stepped up in the middle. The defensive backs have come up with huge timely plays. Will Harris had a sack and an interception in a defensive effort that held Virginia to just 247 yards of total offense.

Now, this where the key to the game will come in. Everyone knows FSU’s defense is one of the best in the country. And, Boston College’s offense is just emerging. It will be paramount for the Eagles defensively to attack the ‘Noles weakest link. The offensive line.

FSU, dealing with the previously mentioned injuries have been flat out porous at the line of scrimmage. The Seminoles currently rank 122nd in sacks allowed. FSU quarterbacks have been sack 20 times in six games. Boston College will need to exploit this weakness and provide their signature pressure. This task would be a whole lot easier with Landry healthy. However, with Allen, Wyatt Ray, and Noa Merrit, BC still has horses on the defensive line to take advantage.

Due to their lack of depth due to injuries, the question is if the Eagles defense will have enough gas in their tank to hold off FSU? That is something that Addazio is concerned about.

“We took a hit with Harold (Landry), and he’s not healthy right now. But Wyatt Ray stepped up and is playing really well, Zach (Allen is playing really well, Noa Merritt, they’re all playing really well. But you see us at the end of the game; we start getting tired. We starting missing tackles towards the ends of the games and that’s, you can, it’s not hard to see it. It’s fatigue.”

If the Eagles can get after Florida State quarterback Justin Blackman for all four quarters and the offense can continue to light up the scoreboard, expect a crowd that will already be prideful, due to it being the Red Bandana game, to turn raucous.

About The Red Bandana

The Red Bandana game is in honor of former Boston College lacrosse player Welles Crowther who is lost his life in the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Before, he passed Crowther is credited saving at least a dozen people before the tower fell. He was wearing his signature red bandana that day and has been recognized as “The Man in the Red Bandana.”

The Eagles will be wearing accessories trimmed in a red bandana design for the game in honor of Crowther. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST and can be seen on ESPN.

​You can learn more about the story of “The Man in the Red Bandana” here.

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