BOSTON — Florida State gave Boston College a rude welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A.J. Nicholson intercepted two passes, scoring on a 19-yard return on the first play of the game, and Greg Carr caught two touchdowns to help eighth-ranked Florida State beat No. 17 Boston College 28-17 on Saturday night and spoil the Eagles’ ACC debut.

Nicholson’s interceptions sparked the Seminoles (3-0, 2-0) to a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes before BC scored 17 unanswered points to take the lead. The Eagles (2-1) nursed the lead – thanks to a great play by Mathias Kiwanuka – until quarterback Quinton Porter left with an ankle injury and Florida State took advantage.

Drew Weatherford hit Carr on a 6-yard slant across the middle of the end zone with 10:13 left in the fourth to give the Seminoles a 21-17 lead. After Eagles backup Matthew Ryan’s third consecutive three-and-out, Darius McClure blocked a punt deep in BC territory and Lorenzo Booker made up for a goal-line fumble by scoring from 4 yards out to make it 28-17.

BC drove to the Florida State 2 in the final three minutes, but couldn’t score in seven tries, including a defensive holding penalty – and used up most of the clock while trying.

Weatherford was 20-for-38 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Porter was 20-for-31 with one touchdown and two interceptions before leaving late in the third quarter, and Ryan was 7-for-11 for 89 yards, most of it on the last drive.

The ACC began courting Boston College in 2003 when it went looking to expand to 12 teams and play a lucrative championship game. But the conference snubbed the Eagles in the first round of expansion and instead asked Miami and Virginia Tech to join.

BC skulked back to the Big East before the ACC voted again, this time inviting the Eagles to join. After frigid farewell season in its old conference – and a couple of lawsuits and a multimillion dollar settlement – the Eagles were free to go.

They celebrated with a party at Fenway Park and dubbed Saturday “ACC Premier Day.” A heavy rain put an early damper on the enthusiasm, and then Nicholson nearly finished it off.

Porter slipped backing away from the center and tried to ditch the ball in the flat toward Larry Lester, but Nicholson stepped in front of it and took it 19 yards into the end zone. Seven seconds into its much-balleyhooed entry into the superconference, Boston College was behind 7-0.

BC drove 55 yards on the next possession before Nicholson picked off another, but this time Porter knocked him out of bounds to postpone the touchdown. Florida State scored three plays later when Weatherford threw a 20-yard jump ball that the 6-foot-6 Carr pulled down over 5-foot-9 cornerback DeJuan Tribble in the corner of the end zone.

But BC reached Florida State territory four consecutive times – resulting in an interception, a field goal and two touchdowns – to take a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter. BC still led at the end of the third when Florida State drove to the BC 33 yard-line.

Weatherford hit Chris Davis for 29 yards on a third-and-10. On the next play, Booker broke free on a screen pass and went down the left sideline toward the goal line.

Kiwanuka stripped the ball from Booker as he spun at the goal line. The ball came down on the pylon, giving BC the ball at their own 20.

But Porter went out with a right ankle injury, and Ryan couldn’t move the Eagles at all over the next three series. Weatherford, who had just 10 completions to that point, went 8-for-9 on the next drive and hit Carr on a slant across the middle of the end zone to give Florida State a 21-17 lead with 10:13 left.

Although the schools hadn’t played in 25 years, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has a little history with Boston College. He won his first road game with the Seminoles on Oct. 9, 1976, when Florida State beat BC 28-9.

AP-ES-09-17-05 2325EDT


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