Florida State took a 31-13 lead over Boise State with 4:07 left in the second quarter on Saturday. Then it went south from there.
The Broncos scored 23 straight points en route to a 36-31 upset win over the Seminoles in a game that was moved to Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee from Jacksonville because of Hurricane Dorian.
The Seminoles got the ball back with just over two minutes left and a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. And FSU got across midfield on a fourth-down play with 1:04 left. But the catch was called back because of a holding penalty and the next fourth-down play ended up short of the sticks.
First start for Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier
Bachmeier, a four-star recruit in the class of 2019, won the starting QB job for Boise State in fall camp. And while Florida State blitzed him early and often, Bachmeier showed poise and made some fantastic throws. He finished the game 30-of-51 passing for 407 yards and a touchdown and an interception.
Yes, Bachmeier threw 51 passes in his first game as a true freshman. And Boise State ran the ball 57 times. The Broncos’ 108 total plays wore down Florida State’s defense, especially in the second half. After BSU’s first three possessions of the second half resulted in two punts and a fumble, the Broncos scored 17 points over the next three possessions and ran 26 plays over those drives.
FSU’s offense stalls
Florida State coach Willie Taggart hired former Baylor and Houston offensive coordinator Kendal Briles in the offseason to energize an offense that looked horrendous at times in 2018. And boy did that offense look good early.
But things came to a grinding halt after James Blackman found Keyshawn Helton for a 58-yard touchdown pass to make the score 31-13.
From there, Florida State punted six times, fumbled once and then ended its final possession with a turnover on downs. The Seminoles ran just 29 plays total in the second half and had six drives that ended in four or fewer plays. While a defense’s time on the field may be an overstated factor, the FSU offense’s inability to sustain any sort of drive in the second half undoubtedly had an impact on the defense’s effectiveness.
The loss also drops Taggart’s record at Florida State to 5-8 in his brief time there. The former South Florida and Oregon coach came to Florida State on the heels of the Jimbo Fisher disaster at the end of the 2017 season. But there’s a ton of talent on the roster and 16 starters returned in 2019. This wasn’t how the season was supposed to begin. Especially in a makeshift home game.
It’s far too early to say that Florida State will miss a bowl for a second straight season after missing a postseason game for the first time since 1976 in 2018. But it looks pretty clear that the Seminoles’ rise back to the top of the ACC to challenge Clemson isn’t going to be a quick one.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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