A.J. Dillon (165 yards, 40 carries) can’t save Boston College in 38-31 loss to Florida State

Despite record-setting effort from Dillon, Eagles still one win shy of bowl eligibility with road games at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh remaining.


CHESTNUT HILL — On a day to celebrate the legacy of 9/11 hero Welles Crowther, the retirement of Pete Mitchell’s No. 82 and the 35th anniversary of the 1984 Eagles team that beat Miami on “Hail Flutie” and won the Cotton Bowl, the 2019 version couldn’t rise to the occasion.

James Blackman’s pass to D.J. Matthews for 60 yards with 1:48 left in the fourth quarter broke a 24-24 tie and carried the Florida State Seminoles past Boston College, 38-31, Saturday on Senior Day at Alumni Stadium. Jordan Travis’ second touchdown run of the game of 66 yards put the game away with a minute remaining.

The heartbreaking loss drops BC to 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in the ACC while Florida State improves to 5-5 and concludes ACC play 4-4.

The Eagles got the game off to a promising start, marching 75 yards in 14 plays and jumping out 7-0 when Dennis Grosel found Kobay White for a 17-yard touchdown. Following a 20-yard field goal from Ricky Aguayo, the Eagles made it 14-3 when David Bailey raced 11 yards nearly untouched into the end zone with 5:12 left in the first half.

The Eagles entered Saturday averaging 282.3 yards per game on the ground, good for best rushing attack in the ACC and fifth-best in the country, continued to show that dominance in the first half. BC had 166 yards on 37 carries in the first two quarters, including 92 yards from A.J. Dillon.

Dillon moved into second place in school history with his 19th career 100-yard game, finishing with 165 yards on a career-high 40 carries. Dillon moved into a tie for eighth place in ACC history with the 19 100-yard games, matching Tiki Barber of Virginia. Dillon is now fourth in ACC history with 4,148 yards on the ground, becoming the eighth player in conference history to pass 4,000 rushing yards for a career.

It was the first game for interim head coach Odell Haggins, who assumed duties this week for Willie Taggert, fired after last week’s 27-10 home loss to Miami.

In the first game under Haggins, the Seminoles used a combination of James Blackman and Jordan Travis at quarterback, with a mix of Wildcat thrown in. And the Eagles had their issues with each.

Blackman connected on a 74-yard “Go” route down the right sideline to Tamorrion Terry late in the second quarter that trimmed Boston College’s lead to four, 14-10.

Then, on their first possession of the second half, Travis executed the perfect RPO, outflanking several Boston College defenders, getting to the outside and tip-toeing the right sideline for a 26-yard touchdown that gave Florida State its first lead of the game with 12:24 left in the third quarter.

Florida State responded with its third consecutive TD drive late in the third when BC continued having trouble tackling. Blackman completed passes of 24 and 26 yards on consecutive plays when BC defenders either missed tackles or over pursued. Cam Akers ran right up the middle from 13 yards for a touchdown and a 24-14 Florida State lead.

The Eagles came back with a Aaron Boumehri field goal and a 1-yard bootleg run by Dennis Grosel that tied the game, 24-24, with 2:33 remaining. Jordan Travis ran a touchdown in from 66 yards to put FSU up, 38-24, before Grosel hit Kobay White from 20 yards out with 14 seconds remaining to make it a one-score game.

After an off week next week, Boston College finishes the regular season with games at Notre Dame (Nov. 23) and at Pittsburgh on Nov. 30.