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 https://gameday.nd.edu/events/ .
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).
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
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