BOSTON (AP) — D.J. Matthews caught a short pass, faked out three defenders and dove for the pylon to finish a 60-yard touchdown reception with 1:48 left on Saturday, giving Florida State a 38-31 victory over Boston College in the Seminoles' first game since firing coach Willie Taggart.
Florida State fell behind 14-3 in the first half before scoring 21 straight points, only to watch BC tie it 24-all in the final minutes on Dennis Grosel's half-yard scramble and dive for the end zone. The Seminoles (5-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) took over at their own 41 with 2:27 left, lost a yard and then James Blackman found Matthews across the middle, about 5 yards away.
The receiver juked past three defenders on his way to the right sideline, then leaped from the 6 and clipped the pylon to make it 31-24. After Grosel threw an interception, Jordan Travis broke free for 66 yards to give Florida State a 14-point lead.
Grosel hit Kobay White for from 20 yards out to make it a one-score game with 14 seconds left. But with Doug Flutie and BC's 1984 team in attendance, there would be no chance for a last-second miracle.
The Seminoles recovered the onside kick, and two-time interim coach Odell Haggins left Chestnut Hill with his perfect record intact.
Blackman finished 18 for 26 for 346 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Tamorrion Terry seven times for 156 yards and one score. Travis gained 94 yards on three runs, scoring on two of them.
AJ Dillon ran for 165 yards on a career-high 40 carries, and David Bailey added 67 yards and a touchdown as the Eagles (5-5, 3-4) rushed for 281 yards in all. Grosel, a walk-on who earned the starting job when Anthony Brown was injured, completed 20 of 29 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Behind its 500-pound backfield of Dillon and Bailey, BC gained 166 yards rushing in the first half, taking a 14-3 lead before Blackman found Terry for a 74-yard score at the end of the second quarter. Travis took a direct snap on a third-and-3 and found his way down the right sideline for the score that made it 17-14 in the third, before Cam Akers ran 13 yards to give the Seminoles a 24-14 lead.
A field goal put BC within a touchdown, and then Eagles got to the FSU 2 before the Seminoles were flagged for offsides on back-to-back plays when they had stuffed Dillon short of the goal line. On the fourth try, Grosel rolled right, tucked the ball in, put his shoulder down and dove over the goal line.
Aaron Boumerhi, who missed two field goals earlier, nailed the point after to tie it.
Florida State fired Taggart on Sunday, a day after a 27-10 loss to Miami, and named Haggins as the interim coach. Haggins, who also took over when Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M, is now 3-0 in two stints as a Seminoles fill-in.
Florida State: Haggins helped the Seminoles avoid a second straight season without a bowl berth; they need one more win, with games against Alabama State and No. 10 Florida remaining. But that's not good enough for the school's boosters, who are looking for a big name to come in and restore the program to national championship contention.
Boston College: The Eagles play No. 15 Notre Dame in two weeks, and absent a victory in the Catholic school rivalry game they will need to win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 30 to pick up their sixth win and qualify for a bowl.
Florida State: The Seminoles host Alabama State next weekend.
Boston College: BC is off next weekend before playing Notre Dame on Nov. 23 in South Bend, Indiana.