- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
After two ugly games on the road, Florida State returns home with a much different mood surrounding the team than the euphoria that existed in Tallahassee after the Seminoles' big win over Clemson.
The dreams of a national championship are over, the flaws in FSU's hype machine were exposed. Now, it's Jimbo Fisher's job to pick up the pieces. Here are the five things we'll be looking for in Florida State's return to action against Boston College.
1. How will Florida State bounce back?
A year ago, the Seminoles' first devastating loss of the season quickly turned into three straight. For that to happen this time, it would take an upset of epic proportions against Boston College, so the standard may not be as simple as a win or a loss. Florida State clearly looked lethargic in each of its last two games. How the Seminoles perform -- or more to the point, whether or not they dominate a clearly inferior opponent -- will tell the story.
2. What will the running back rotation look like?
A week ago, Boston College allowed 516 rushing yards to Army, with three different players topping 100. That should be good news for the FSU running game, which was stifled in the second half against NC State. Chris Thompson needs just seven yards to top Devonta Freeman's team-high total from last year, and FSU needs just 37 yards to top last year's team total. But while the rushing success seems a foregone conclusion, the question will be how many carries Freeman and James Wilder Jr. will get. They combined for just one against NC State, and they've combined for just nine touches in the last two weeks.
3. Will Fisher be aggressive?
Fisher said he has no regrets over his play calling last week against NC State, but a large contingent of Florida State fans would beg to differ. Regardless, the Seminoles clearly didn't show a killer instinct after building a 16-0 halftime lead against the Wolfpack. They should enjoy a similar early lead against Boston College, so fans will certainly be curious to see whether Fisher finishes the drill by keeping his foot on the gas well into the second half.
4. Can Florida State dominate the line of scrimmage?
In five games this season, Boston College has allowed 11 sacks and tallied just four of its own. That should be a recipe for success for an FSU team that struggled to get pressure on NC State quarterback Mike Glennon a week ago, while concurrently failing to protect EJ Manuel -- particularly against the blitz. Progress needs to be made on both sides of the ball going forward, and Boston College figures to provide a relatively easy first step.
5. Will a big win soothe an angry fan base?
Florida State fans aren't pleased with Fisher's fifth loss to an unranked opponent in the past two-and-a-half years, but there are still plenty of goals ahead -- from rivalry games against Miami and Florida to an ACC title. Florida State would love to turn the page -- both inside the locker room and out -- by blowing the doors off Boston College. But will fans be quite so eager to forget what happened a week ago at NC State?
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