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Eagles Get a Tough Test in No. 8 Florida State

Boston College running back Andre Williams, middle, is tackled by Southern California defensive end George Uko, left, and defensive end Leonard Williams during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Boston College running back Andre Williams, middle, is tackled by Southern California defensive end George Uko, left, and defensive end Leonard Williams during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Boston — It doesn’t get any easier for Boston College.

After a humbling 35-7 loss to Southern California in their previous game, the Eagles return from their bye week to play No. 8 Florida State today. It will be the first ranked opponent for new BC coach Steve Addazio since arriving in Chestnut Hill, and the Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are the defending conference champions.

BC defensive lineman Kasim Edibali called it a perfect opportunity.

But the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) are still trying to rebuild a program that won just two games last season and posted double-digit losses for just the second time in school history. Now they face a Florida State team that won its first three games by a combined score of 157-26. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has eight touchdown passes and only 14 incompletions.

Here are five things to watch today:

Stop the Run: Florida State’s biggest concern on defense could be Andre Williams, who is the leading rusher in the ACC. He gained 318 yards in BC’s first two games, but the Seminoles will look at what Southern Cal did on Sept. 14 to hold him to just 38 yards on 17 carries.

“When teams have a powerful running back, a great O-line, then that’s when we come in and say, ‘OK, it’s on us to win this game,’” Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith said. “It’s on us to stop these boys up front. That’s the challenge we’re presented with and that’s what we’re going to go out and do.”

Seminoles on the Ground: It could be a long day for Boston College if the Florida State running backs get loose. Devonta Freeman leads the team with 273 yards and two touchdowns on only 28 carries, with two games in a row of at least 100 yards. The BC run defense ranks No. 81 in FBS, allowing more than 177 yards per game.

Eagles in the Air: The Boston College offense works best when quarterback Chase Rettig is finding receiver Alex Amidon often. A first-team All-ACC selection as a junior, Amidon set a school record last season with 1,210 receiving yards. Rettig is completing more than 60 percent of his passes, but he threw for only 83 yards in the loss to USC.

BC Aggressive: Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston has eight touchdown passes and only 14 incompletions in three games, but the Eagles think the key to slowing him down is to put pressure on him. In all, Winston is 50-for-64 for 718 yards. He has thrown one interception and been sacked three times. BC has four interceptions and eight sacks in its first three games.

“He’s only a freshman,” BC defensive back James McCaffrey said. “If you get on him, he may make some mistakes.”

Don’t Look Ahead: This is the easiest part of Florida State’s schedule, having just beaten two nonconference schools by a combined 100 points and heading into games against BC and Maryland — the bottom two teams in the Atlantic Division last season. After a bye, the Seminoles visit No. 3 Clemson, host No. 15 Miami two weeks after that and then have two more ACC games before finishing up with Idaho and No. 20 Florida. BC faces Army next weekend and then goes to Clemson.