Commentary

Scuffling BC faces tough test at FSU

Updated: October 14, 2010, 12:11 AM ET
By Justin A. Rice | Special to ESPNBoston.com

NEWTON, Mass. -- If anyone on Boston College's football team can remain positive going into Saturday's game at Florida State, it's the nephew of the program's most famous and heroic quarterback of all time: Doug Flutie.

If the Eagles (2-3) want to snap their first three-game losing streak since 1998, they will have to continue their winning streak against the Seminoles. But beating FSU for the third straight year and the third time in Tallahassee since joining the ACC in 2005 will be no small task.

[+] EnlargeChase Rettig
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaChase Rettig, whose collegiate debut against Notre Dame was cut short by an ankle injury, should be ready to go Saturday at Florida State.

The No. 16 Seminoles are riding a four-game win streak and hold their highest ranking in two seasons.

"I'm taking that for our advantage," Billy Flutie said. "We beat them the last two years in a row, so why not this year? It definitely can be done."

While the game is in the same state in which Doug Flutie's Hail Mary touchdown pass famously beat the Miami Hurricanes in 1984 (albeit almost 500 miles away), the senior wide receiver is realistic about the long odds the Eagles will face Saturday. BC is a 21-point underdog following its 44-17 loss to NC State and FSU's 45-17 win over Miami.

"Florida State, they have always been a talented group of players and it's been hard for them to bring it together," Billy Flutie said. "This year they are starting to show that. They beat Miami, a highly ranked team, and I can see they are bringing it together as a team.

"They've got great coaches over there. With that, you are going to have a great team."

While the Seminoles got a big lift from Saturday's win over the Hurricanes, they were already guarding against a letdown in the postgame locker room.

"We're sitting pretty right now," FSU senior quarterback Christian Ponder told the Orlando Sentinel. "Everybody was picking Miami to win -- and for us to do what we did is pretty unbelievable.

"But it's not going to mean anything if we lose next week."

With 5,845 career passing yards, Ponder ranks seventh in school history and could become just the fourth QB at FSU to eclipse 7,000 yards. He leads an offense that is averaging 36.7 points per game, 13 more points per game than last season. FSU also averages 439.5 total yards, with 223.5 coming on the ground and 216.0 through the air.

"They just line up and say, 'We're better than anyone we're playing,'" said BC freshman quarterback Chase Rettig. "That's how they play: tough-nosed football."

Rettig is on track to start Saturday after injuring his ankle during his first career start against Notre Dame on Oct. 2. Dave Shinskie started last week but suffered a concussion that knocked him back to the sideline.

Rettig, who said he is just about 100 percent healthy, said the combination of playing in a prime-time game against Notre Dame at home and observing BC's road rituals during the trip to NC State has prepared him for playing in front of more than 82,000 fans at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday.

"It's the biggest atmosphere we've played in front of all year," Rettig said. "When you go to travel to places like this, you try to tell yourself to focus on what your job is. But I think what we have to do is embrace the whole situation, embrace the crowd, embrace the energy and live in the moment. Use all that to our advantage and go down there and have fun.

"One day we're going to want to recall this memory, and it will be a lot better if you took everything in."

Justin A. Rice is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.

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