Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 21, 2018 at 1:18 am.

Unranked Eagles look to rebound

It struck with the suddenness of a Florida rainstorm.

All Boston College had to do was keep Florida State, an FSU team barely hanging on in a bid for a 37th straight bowl game, from completing a long drive or a big play and the No. 22 Eagles would hit the final week of the regular season with a shot at 10 wins on the season.

Then bang! A 74-yard touchdown pass and a stunning 22-21 loss to the Seminoles.

“When you play the game, you want it to be in your hands and that’s what we said on defense,” said Zach Allen, who had the kind of game that shows you why he’s projected as a high first- or second-round draft choice. “We wanted to put it in our hands and we didn’t do it today.”

Now, Steve Addazio’s team, back out of the Top 25 (the Eagles were No. 20 coming in) has to move on — and the task is a tall one.

At around the same time Boston College was playing the Seminoles, Syracuse was getting pounded 36-3 by No. 3 Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium.

When the smoke cleared Sunday, the Eagles were no longer ranked — and the Orange had dropped to No. 19 in the Coaches’ Poll.

The Eagles fell to 7-4 heading into their Senior Day game that dates back to 1924.

“I mean, it’s Syracuse,” Allen said. “It’s a rivalry game, so we’re just focused on that now. If that’s not enough motivation to finish with eight wins (before the bowl) — which hasn’t been done here in a while — then a lot of people have to leave the building if they’re not up to that challenge. So I think we’re a focused group and we’ll come back from it.”

“This is a very good football team,” Addazio said of the Orange. “They have some very good players. You know, offensively, they are Top-10 in scoring. Defensively, they are Top-10 in sacks and interceptions. I think they are playing with a lot of confidence, and so it should be two good teams clashing against each other here … kind of the way it should be.”

AJ Dillon, obviously limping on a high ankle sprain that has damaged his season, ran the ball a season-high 37 times for 116 yards against FSU, becoming the first player in program history with 1,000-yard seasons as a freshman and sophomore.

Addazio said Dillon is monitored throughout this process.

“Every week he’s gotten better,” the coach said. “Last week he practiced on Tuesday. He full-practiced on Wednesday and he full-practiced on Thursday. This Sunday, he felt the best he’s felt on any Sunday since he’s been hurt.

“So clearly, it’s been incremental but clearly there’s improvement each week. I thought in the game last week he carried the ball 30 some-odd times for roughly 130 yards and you could see more of those runs just starting to percolate now, some of those extra-effort, AJ runs; that he’s feeling a little better.”