TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's players spent the week insisting they'd turned the page on last week's shocking loss to NC State, but a dominant first-half against Boston College on Saturday was as much about exorcising some demons as it was about moving past an ugly loss.
After a week of criticism for conservative play calling, Jimbo Fisher called for one deep throw after another in the first half Saturday, and EJ Manuel racked up 295 yards and three touchdowns as the Seminoles jumped to a 31-7 halftime lead.
Stat of the half: 343. That's the total yards of offense in the first half for Florida State -- the same total the Seminoles had mustered by the end of last week's loss to NC State. Fisher called for passes on the first nine plays of the game, and 20 of Florida State's 33 passes overall have been throws by Manuel, who has four completions of at least 40 yards.
Player of the half: Manuel. He hasn't been perfect -- there were a few deep balls to open receivers he couldn't complete -- but after shouldering a big part of the criticism after last week's loss, the FSU quarterback posted big numbers in the first half against Boston College. The fact that Manuel has been such a big part of the offense against BC -- which ranks 121st nationally in run defense -- could be due in large part to Fisher and his quarterback wanting to make up for last week's struggles.
What's working for Florida State: The passing game -- and, in particular, the deep ball. Manuel connected with Kenny Shaw on two long passes, including a 77-yard touchdown throw that marks a career long for both players. Shaw is the first FSU receiver this year to top 100 yards.
What's not working for Florida State: The run defense. FSU's defensive line has struggled with gap integrity, and as a result, BC running back Andre Williams has 89 yards rushing on 14 carries. The Seminoles hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 14 games.
Noteworthy: With his 51-yard field goal to end the first half, FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins became both the school's and the ACC's all-time leading scorer. … Safety Lamarcus Joyner recorded his first interception of the season in the second quarter. … Lonnie Pryor's first-half rushing touchdown was his fifth of the season, a career high.