Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC the Seminoles will be in South Bend, Indiana to play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame is 2-0 on the season with wins over Duke and South Florida.
Florida State is 6-3 against Notre Dame all time. The last time these two teams faced off was in 2018 when the Irish crushed FSU 42-13. The last time FSU beat Notre Dame was in 2014 in the famous offensive pass interference game. Florida State won the game 31-27.
Observations from the last game
After a horrendous start to the game Mike Norvell made the switch at quarterback to Jordan Travis. After the change FSU scored touchdowns on 6 of the next 8 possessions while averaging 7.5 yards her play. It was the best FSU’s offense as looked since the ’16 Independence Bowl. While Travis does not have the strongest arm he has definitely worked on his accuracy in the short passing game. His ability to run and throw can spread the defense out enough for other players to make plays.
After getting pushed around by Miami, the offensive line responded to adversity and played well despite having a few players miss snaps for various reasons.
With several players missing on defense they took some steps forward by only allowing the Gamecocks to go 3/10 on third downs and only gave up three points after half time.
Florida State offense versus Notre Dame defense
After his break out performance last weekend, Jordan Travis will be the starting quarterback. Going up against the very experienced Notre Dame defense will provide a much steeper task for Travis and the rest of the young FSU offense.
The Irish top two tacklers from last season, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Drew White, return to form quite the duo in the middle of the field. Both linebackers are stat sheet stuffers (160 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 5 pass break ups combined in ’19) and versatile defenders as they can cover, blitz and of course tackle.
The Notre Dame defense is ranked 10th in the country in yards per game given up on the ground so it will be a challenge for fan favorite Lawrence Toafili and the rest of the running backs to get it going. For FSU to move the ball they are going to have to try to get the ball on the outside to Ontaria Wilson and Tamorrion Terry to loosen up the defense.
Florida State defense versus Notre Dame offense
The engine of the Notre Dame offense is senior quarterback Ian Book. He had a terrific ’19 season throwing the ball, but with several of his targets having graduated or turned pro. So far this season, Notre Dame has been relying on Book’s running ability (3 rushing TD’s) and their 3 talented running backs. The 3 backs, Kyren Williams, C’Bo Flemister and Chris Tyrese, have racked up a combined 386 rushing yards and each are averaging over 6 yards per carry.
The Irish passing game has been slow out of the gate with wide receivers only catching 11 passes. The tight ends, Tommy Tremble (8 catches) and Michael Mayer (4 catches), and the backs have been picking up the slack.
FSU has done a good job defending the traditional running attack and the outside receivers but have really struggled to contain the QB and stopping the pass in the middle of the field. The ‘Noles will need to improve on those weaknesses in order to make Notre Dame convert long third downs. When they force a third down and long, it will be up to Marvin Wilson, Cory Durden and Joshua Kaindoh to put pressure on the quarterback. It’s easier said than done against Notre Dame’s experienced and mammoth offensive line.
The teams are evenly matched in this phase of the game. Travis Jay should be back returning kicks, which gives the ‘Noles the edge in that department. However, FSU’s kickers have been having some issues lately, while Notre Dame’s specialists have been more consistent.
The last time FSU faced a highly ranked team on the road they were without several starters, didn’t have a solid offensive identity and didn’t have their head coach. I expect the Seminoles to play a lot better this time around, but unfortunately it won’t be enough due to Notre Dame’s running ability and experience at every position.
Florida State 21 Notre Dame 38.
A sad result to the game, but not unexpected. I believe that Mike Norvell is the right man for the job, but it’s going to take a season – at the very least – to right this ship and get it moving in a winning direction.
By the way… a new Defensive Coordinator is also in order.
Thank you, Scott.
Good analysis, Scott