Maybe Florida State took Boston College lightly. Maybe the Seminoles got caught looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Clemson at Death Valley or maybe the Eagles used the motivation of its annual “Red Bandana Game” to play way above their head.

Whatever the reason, the nation’s 3rd-ranked team struggled with itself almost as much as it did with the Eagles in its closer-than-expected victory. The Seminoles seemed to do everything in their power to keep the game close.

In the end, they held on for a 31-29 win in Chestnut Hill. But it was a lot more of a struggle than it should have been.

Here are 3 takeaways from FSU’s less-than-impressive performance:

Too many mistakes

The Seminoles seemed to take control after a tough start by scoring 28 unanswered points surrounding the halftime break.

But then they took their foot off the accelerator.

While BC gets credit for not giving up and playing by far its best game of the season, FSU was also its own worst enemy in allowing the Eagles to rally and making things interesting to the end.

Defensively, coach Mike Norvell’s team had trouble corralling BC’s mobile quarterback Thomas Castellanos, who burned the Seminoles for 9 plays of 29 yards or more while throwing for 305 yards and running for 109.

They were a little more consistent offensively. But they weren’t sharp, either. And mistake-prone, too. A fumble by Lawrance Toafili was scooped up for an 8-yard touchdown and an offensive pass interference penalty that nullified a 4th down conversion early in the 4th quarter.

Special teams also contributed to the sloppy performance, with Trey Benson muffing a squib kick that was recovered by the Eagles.

Disaster averted

Travis is a playmaker, so it’s no surprise that the star quarterback tried to make something happen on a 3rd down scramble late in the 1st half. But even someone as explosive as Travis needs to show a little restraint.

Especially with a flag down and the play coming back because of a holding penalty.

Travis’ aggressiveness nearly cost him when he came down hard and remained on the ground favoring his left arm. Everyone associated with the Seminoles held their collective breath when he was helped off the field and into the injury tent while backup Tate Rodemaker took the final snap before halftime.

But their fears were quickly eased when Travis returned to the field for the 3rd quarter and immediately completed a 44-yard pass to Johnny Wilson. He ended up going 15-of-23 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 10-of-13 for 121 yards and a score after the injury.

Ringing the Bell

Despite being one of the highest-profile members of Norvell’s nationally recognized transfer class, tight end Jaheim Bell had yet to make a major impact coming into Saturday’s game. He scored 2 touchdowns, 1 through the air and 1 on the ground, in the opening win against LSU. But he’d only caught 2 passes.

That changed at BC. Travis went to him early for FSU’s 1st touchdown and his 5 catches – on 5 targets – led the team and were more than double his season total. Bell finished with 76 yards, 39 of which came on 1 big play early in the 3rd quarter before leaving the game with what appeared to be a leg injury in the 4th quarter.