Notre Dame – Florida State Primer: Irish Host Slumping Seminoles

Fresh-off another impressive road win, the Fighting Irish are 3 wins away from the College Football Playoffs. The Florida State Seminoles are the next challenger standing in their path. These programs have had bad blood and great games in years past. Frigid temperatures will set the stage for Senior Night in South Bend. Florida State has gotten the best of Notre Dame in recent history, but the Irish look to flip the script Saturday.

Essential Game Info:

  • Game Time: November 10th at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Matchup: Notre Dame is 2-6 all-time against the Florida State Seminoles; one of the few teams they have a losing record against. (Last Meeting 2014: Florida State won 31 to 27)
  • Current Odds: Notre Dame -18.5
  • GameDay Events: The Pep Rally will take place Friday, November 9th at 6:00 p.m. ET at Compton Family Ice Arena. For more information on GameDay Events visit .

South Bend Weather Forecast

The current forecast for GameDay shows a 0% chance of rain with a high of 34 degrees and a low of 26. Below is a look at the next 5 days leading up to the game (this will automatically update to be the most recent 5 days throughout the week).

[wunderground location=”South Bend, IN” numdays=”5″ layout=”simple”]

Florida State Details:

  • Conference: ACC (Atlantic Division)
  • Head Coach: Willie Taggart
  • 2018 Record: 4-5
  • 2017 Record: 7-6

Florida State Storylines:

Willie Taggart Era off to dreadful start. Coming off a 7-5 season the expectations were extremely high for Willie Taggart and the Florida State Seminoles heading into 2018. However, Florida State got off to an abysmal start and has never recovered. Just a few weeks ago, the Seminoles lost by 49 points to the Clemson Tigers. Perhaps Jimbo Fisher foresaw this collapse and got out just in time, only time will tell.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what Florida State team shows up to South Bend. A team that is inspired to give Notre Dame their first loss and get a win closer to a bowl game (similar to how Pittsburgh played against the Irish) or a team that is ready to get the season over with and wants no part of playing in freezing temperatures.

First trip to South Bend since 2003. Florida State has owned the Fighting Irish in head to head matchups. It will be the first meeting in South Bend for these programs in quite some time. This is not a traditional rivalry, but these programs have had numerous classics over the past few decades.

Quarterback Battle. Deondre Francois was the starting quarterback the entire season until last weekend against N.C. State. Francois is 177 for 281 on the season (60.9%) with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has 55 attempts on the ground for -41 yards, which tells the story of the Florida State Offensive line.

James Blackman, who took over for Francois last season and against N.C. State just a week ago has similar statistics. He is 33 for 51 on the season (64.7%), with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. On the ground Blackman has 11 attempts for -26 yards. Head Coach Willie Taggart has yet to name a starting quarterback heading into this weekend.

Notre Dame Storylines:

Costly Errors. The Irish had a total of 8 penalties last weekend against the Wildcats. Northwestern did not have a single penalty which was ludicrous, but that is a discussion for another time. Those penalties kept Northwestern in the game when Notre Dame should’ve put them away. With only 3 games left on the schedule, mistakes could cost the Irish a playoff berth. Such mistakes could not be overcome against teams such as Alabama or Clemson.

Special Teams continues to make mistakes throughout the season. Like I’ve said before, the Special Teams unit does not need to play perfect, they just need to not make big mistakes. The Fighting Irish almost lost to Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Northwestern because of unforced mistakes on Special Teams.

Running Attack needs a bounce back game. Notre Dame only had 121 rushing yards against Northwestern last weekend. Dexter Williams was limited to only 2.9 yards per carry. Luckily, the Irish were able to pass for 343 yards and Book was able to scramble for 56 yards on the ground. Yes, Northwestern has a good defense and forced Notre Dame to pass the ball, but I expect the Irish to bounce back this weekend.

Florida State’s Defense is limiting teams to only 2.9 yards per game on the ground. Even though the Seminoles are dominate against the run, I still believe the Irish will have success and put an emphasis on the ground game this weekend.

Revenge Game. Almost all the players on this Fighting Irish roster were not around for the 2014 Notre Dame Florida State matchup. But expect the coaching staff to convey just how big this matchup will be. The Seminoles have even owned this series in recent history. As Florida State comes limping into this game, it’s the perfect time for Brian Kelly to step on the gas pedal.

Head to Head Matchups:

Notre Dame Offense vs. Florida State Defense: Notre Dame’s rushing attack struggled last weekend. This needs to be the game where the offensive line gets their rhythm back. Florida State gave up 417 total yards against N.C. State last weekend, and 47 points. The previous week, the Seminoles gave up 59 points to Clemson at home.

Notre Dame’s Offense has another major advantage in this category with Ian Book, Dexter Williams, Chase Claypool, and Miles Boykin; to name a few.

Advantage Notre Dame

Florida State Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense: The Seminoles are only averaging 2.4 yards per carry heading into this matchup. Florida State’s Offensive line has not only struggled in the running game, they have also been atrocious in pass protection. Last weekend against N.C. State, they gave up 5 sacks.

Notre Dame’s Defense has the clear advantage in this matchup. Florida State hasn’t had a good offensive line in quite some time. The Fighting Irish Defense is stacked from top to bottom, expect a long night for Florida State.

Advantage Notre Dame

Special Teams: Notre Dame continues to struggle on Special teams. Last weekend Notre Dame missed a field goal, had a punt blocked, and sent a kickoff out of bounds. Those mistakes may come back to haunt them against their upcoming opponents. The Irish have also given up 2 touchdowns on the kickoff this season.

Ricky Aguayo, brother of Roberto, is the kicker for Florida State this year. He is only 8 for 13 through 9 games. While Justin Yoon is 10 for 14 on the season. Nevertheless, I give Florida State the advantage because of Notre Dame’s poor Special Teams play all season long.

Advantage Florida State

My Prediction:

I know the last time these two programs met both teams were in the top 5. Many expected this game to be a matchup of two ranked teams, that is why Notre Dame scheduled this game at night. However, this season has been awful for the Florida State Seminoles.

Expect this matchup to be a payback game for Coach Brian Kelly. After losing on a pick play late during the 2014 game, Notre Dame has been itching to get another shot at Florida State. With the weather in the Irish favor and Florida State playing bad football, the Irish need to make a statement.

Just two weeks ago Clemson beat Florida State by 49 points. Notre Dame doesn’t need to win by that much, but they need to blowout the Seminoles and keep proving why they should be #3 in the College Football Playoffs. I believe Notre Dame will want to get after Florida State because of their history and because of Senior Night. I have Notre Dame winning big.

Prediction: Notre Dame 48 Florida State 20

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  1. ND needs to pull away early and beat FSU down by 4 or 5 scores and keep pouring it on/ no more taking a 2 or 3 score lead and letting the opponent back in the game ie Navy, Northwestern et al/ Especially FSU needs a good beating after the game they stole from us w/ the help of the officials in 2014 at the end of the game after ND’s winning TD was illegitimately called back. Go Irish!!

  2. Notre Dame Stadium is not in south bend. But if you want to continue to delude yourselves, go ahead. The only football you’ll see in south bend is high school and Pop Warner. If you want to see Notre Dame play you have to go to Notre Dame Stadium which is located in Notre Dame, Indiana. Google it if you don’t believe me.

    1. More ND bias on display here Harold.
      I wish you would have said something earlier as the writers on this blog would have been able to correct, but alas this is the last home game of the year.
      Better luck next year.

      Any idea where the NY Giants play by any chance??

  3. I hope the Irish pull away and are able to play some of the redshirts in this game. ND should be able to handle FSU pretty easily, and it’s going to be cold which will hamper FSU even more. Football players are tough usually, but when you are not used to the cold it still takes and adjustment.

    But this year nothing would surprise me. If we go into the 4th quarter with a close game be concerned, even if the Irish ultimately win. If they can’t rout this FSU squad–in freezing temperatures that should favor the Irish, then we really are in trouble come playoff time (assuming we win out).

  4. No doubt Alabamas the best team. It remains to be seen if anyone can challenge them or beat them. I do know one thing if Alabama waxes Notredame the Irish won’t be treated the same way by the media asClemson. Ohio State Georgia. Oklahoma getting beat badly by Alabama. What I mean is for those teams the narratives will be 100 percent about Alabamas greatness. With Notredame it will be 75 percent Alabamas greatness and 25 percent about see Notredame was overrated they didn’t belong in the playoffs they can’t hang with elite anymore.blah blah blah.

  5. Mike Owens, good article with lots of relevant information. This game will be FSU’s bowl game solely because they might not qualify for one so rest assured they will be bringing their “A” game. Like Mike said the Irish have the overall advantage and I would be willing to bet that special teams will be ready this week so technically, FSU hasn’t much of a chance!

    1. Florida is FSU’s bowl game. I don’t think FSU will bringing their “A” game (assuming they even have one at this point) on the road in 30 degree temps.

  6. Was this game always a 7:30 start time? I could have sworn it was a 2:30. I really hope we didn’t change this last minute to 7:30 just because it’s Florida State. They suck. Why primetime

      1. LOL Flutie is somewhat of a flutie-cake! I would rather have Pat Haden as broadcaster over Flutie anyday.

      2. Ha-ha, true Doc.

        I was no fan of Pat Haden, but at least he’d occasionally say something good about the Irish.

      3. I really liked Mike Mayock. I heard NBC canned him because he was too much of of an x’s and o’s announcer, but I liked that aspect. We all understand the game and we don’t need a Captain Obvious to explain that Book threw to Boykin because of single coverage.

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