BOSTON (AP) – The national championship that was within its sights was never a goal for Boston College, coach Jeff Jagodzinski insists.

Instead, the Atlantic Coast Conference title that remains a possibility is still BC’s mission.

“We’ve never won one before,” he said Sunday, a day after Florida State won 27-17 to hand the Eagles their first loss and knock them from their lofty No. 2 ranking. “Our goal is to win the ACC first. If that happens, we’ll see what happens after that.”

Boston College (8-1, 4-1 ACC) won its first eight games for the first time since 1942 and climbed to No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25. A victory over the Seminoles would have kept the Eagles in position for the Bowl Championship Series title game.

But Matt Ryan couldn’t pull off a comeback against Florida State to match the one that beat Virginia Tech the previous week and propel him to the top of many Heisman Trophy watch lists. The loss to Florida State dropped the Eagles to eighth in the AP poll and the BCS standings, but they remain in first place in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of Clemson with games against the Tigers, Maryland and Miami remaining.

“We want to win all the games. But that didn’t make or break our season,” Jagodzinski said, telling his team: “We’re still leading the ACC, with only one loss. We control what we do from here on out. Let’s go do it.”

BC spotted Virginia Tech a 10-0 lead on Oct. 25 before Ryan threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:11 to win 14-10, hitting Andre Callender on a cross-field 24-yard TD with 11 seconds left. The Eagles also spotted Florida State a 10-point lead, but this time they couldn’t erase it; they never led in the game.

“We had a chance,” safety Jamie Silva said. “It’s exciting to put the ball in Matt’s hands, seeing what he did last week and what he did in the past.”

Ryan pulled the Eagles within a field goal, 20-17, with a 42-yard pass to Rich Gunnell that set up a 1-yard touchdown catch by Ryan Purvis.

After the defense held, the Eagles got the ball at their own 7, with 3:30 left in the game.

Ryan moved the ball out to the BC 33 before linebacker Geno Hayes intercepted a pass and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown to clinch the Florida State victory. It was Ryan’s third interception of the game.

“I’ll tell you this,” Jagodzinski said, “I don’t think there was a guy on the sideline that didn’t think we were going to win that game.”

They had their chances.

The Eagles were inside the Florida State 15 twice in its first three possessions – once with a first-and-goal from the 5 – and came away without scoring. In the fourth quarter, BC had a first-and-goal from the 6 and managed just a field goal.

Combine that with three interceptions and a fumble, and it was too many mistakes to overcome.

“We didn’t make the plays,” Jagodzinski said. “The game was close. Take away those errors and turnovers and execute one time and we probably win that game. We didn’t play a very good game and I think Florida State did their best and we still had a chance to win that game.”

Boston College came away from Saturday’s game with two injuries that could be important if they linger.

Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has a high right ankle sprain and will be questionable for Saturday’s game against Maryland, Jagodzinski said. Linebacker Tyrone Pruitt also sprained his ankle and is questionable, the coach said.

Ryan is one player Jagodzinski doesn’t worry about.

The BC quarterback finished 25-for-53 for two touchdowns and 415 yards – his fourth career 400-yard game, tying Doug Flutie for the most in school history. Jagodzinski said Ryan has exceeded all of his expectations, even though some of the Heisman voters who were touting Ryan after the Hokies win were now denigrating his chances.

“It’s such a fickle thing,” Jagodzinski said. “Before the last three minutes of the Virginia Tech game, he was out of it. And then he was in it. And now he’s out of it again.”

AP-ES-11-04-07 1833EST

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