If Boston College coach Tom O'Brien needs a blueprint on how to beat No. 8 Florida State in the Eagles' inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference game tomorrow night at Alumni Stadium, he may want to dust off the game plan he used as offensive coordinator of the 1995 University of Virginia team that pinned FSU with its first ACC loss, in Charlottesville, Va.
''What I remembered was we just lost at Texas the week before on a last-second field goal," O'Brien said, recalling a 17-16 defeat to the 16th-ranked Longhorns in Austin, Texas. ''We came back a tired football team, but we got our legs back prior to the Florida State game, a Thursday night [ESPN-televised] game."
And so, how did Virginia beat the second-ranked Seminoles, 33-28, snapping FSU's 29-game ACC winning streak?
''What happened was Rick Lantz [Virginia's defensive coordinator] came up with a new defensive scheme, and threw a little different coverage at them to confuse them for a while," O'Brien said yesterday as he sat in his office at the Yawkey Center. ''Our punter had a tremendous day; he must have punted them inside the 10-yard line five times that night. We moved the ball well on offense.
''Tiki Barber had a great night rushing. We threw the ball very effectively against them. We played as well as we could play," O'Brien added. ''And it still came down to a last-second stop on the 1-inch line. That just shows you the talent that they have and the capabilities they have."
A host of Virginia defenders stopped former FSU tailback Warrick Dunn short of the goal line. And what if the ACC had instant replay then? ''He wouldn't have gotten in," O'Brien said. ''I don't think there was any way. They ran the direct snap draw to Warrick Dunn and our kids saw it. Warrick looked at their center -- and that's the only time he looked at the center during the game, and our kids knew it.
''[Anthony] Poindexter and Skeet Jones -- and we had [James] Farrior and [Jamie] Sharper as our outside linebackers -- they all ran at him."
It triggered a wild celebration in which the Virginia student body stormed the field at Scott Stadium.
''It was just mass pandemonium on the field that night," O'Brien said. ''My kids were younger then, and I think from that point on the only thing they ever did when they went to a game was [plan] how they were going to storm the field if Virginia won, because they all got on television."