No. 2 Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) vs. No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0)
When/Where: Saturday, 8 p.m., Doak Campbell Stadium
TV/Radio: ABC/Seminole IMG Radio Network (103.1 FM in Tallahassee)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Coach: Brian Kelly (43-15 in five seasons at Notre Dame, 214-72-2 overall)
Last game: Notre Dame overcame three turnovers by quarterback Everett Golson and came back from a 14-point deficit to beat North Carolina, 50-43.
Last game vs. Florida State: Freshman Rashad Greene had 99 yards and a touchdown, all in the second half, as Florida State scored 15 fourth-quarter points to rally for an 18-14 victory over the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame vs. Florida State all-time: FSU owns a 5-2 record against ND
1981: No. 20 Florida State 19, NOTRE DAME 13
1993: No. 2 NOTRE DAME 31, No. 1 Florida State 24
1994: No. 8 Florida State 23, Notre Dame 16 *
1996: No. 8 Florida State 31, No. 6 Notre Dame 26 **
2002: No. 6 Notre Dame 34, No. 11 FLORIDA STATE 24
2003: No. 5 Florida State 37, NOTRE DAME 0
2011: No. 25 Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14 ***
2014: No. 2 FLORIDA STATE vs. No. 5 Notre Dame
*– in Orlando, ** — 1996 Orange Bowl, *** — 2011 Champs Sports Bowl
Karlos Williams (photo by Damon Herota)
One offensive and defensive player from each team who could swing the game
Notre Dame: Sophomore running back Tarean Folston is coming off a career game against North Carolina (169 total yards, 3 TDs). He’ll go a long way toward taking some pressure off of Golson if he can sustain his momentum.
Middle linebacker Joe Schmidt is a former walk-on who has emerged as a senior leader for the Irish’s defense. He’s a touch undersized (6-foot, 235) but plays a key role in getting his teammates into the right position. Schmidt will help determine if ND can slow down FSU’s running attack.
Florida State: Like everyone else, Notre Dame is likely to focus on Rashad Greene. While it’s obviously that Greene is capable of contributing big numbers no matter the circumstances, Saturday should provide the latest opportunity for FSU’s other receivers to have a big impact. Jesus Wilson has emerged as a reliable second receiver and will need to make the Irish pay if they focus too much on Greene.
Jesus ‘Bobo’ Wilson (photo by Mitch White)
Three weeks ago at NC State, Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett had his way with FSU’s defense until freshmen Featherston and Pugh changed the game with their speed and athleticism. It’s a lot to ask of first-year players, but the pass-rushing duo could take center stage again this week against a quarterback who is at his most dangerous when slipping out of the pocket.
Total offense: FSU: 462.5 YPG (31st Nationally); ND: 444.3 (42nd)
Scoring offense: FSU: 39.0 PPG (20th); ND: 34.5 PPG (39th)
Passing offense: FSU: 324.0 YPG (13th); ND: 280.5 YPG (34th)
Rushing offense: FSU: 138.5 YPG (95th); ND: 163.8 (67th)
Total defense: FSU: 358.5 YPG (44th); ND: 348.3 (34th)
Scoring defense: FSU: 20.7 PPG (30th); ND: 17.2 PPG (8th)
Passing defense: FSU: 213.7 YPG (40th); ND: 237.8 YPG (67th)
Rushing defense: FSU: 144.8 YPG (54th); ND: 110.5 YPG (19th)
“This is a very tight-knit group of guys. That’s how they respond. They compartmentalize things, practice, do things like they should do. They’re presented with whatever they have to do at that present time and have done an excellent job.” — FSU coach Jimbo Fisher on dealing with off-field distractions
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher (photo by Damon Herota)
“The offense is as good as there is out there. It’s going against a defense that, again, we’re starting a lot of young players on that defense. Rebuilt a new front-seven in so many ways against a veteran team that has won 22 (straight) and are the defending national champs.” – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on defending FSU’s offense
“Both these guys, I mean, one guy has one loss as a starter. The other guy is undefeated. They’re the two best starting quarterbacks in the country.” – ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit on quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Everett Golson
“It’s a point where you get to, just kind of fed up. I think that’s where I am. And I’m definitely not going to turn it over.” – Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson on his recent run of turnovers
Yes, Florida State lost the game. But you’d still be hard-pressed to find a pregame intro better than this one by NBC in advance of FSU’s visit to Notre Dame in 1993.
Florida State’s players and coaches have been answering non-football related questions ever since the clock hit zero in Syracuse. They’ve obviously grown weary of it, and the feeling here is that they’re more than ready to actually get back out on the field.
Just a hunch, but FSU over the last year has shown an uncanny ability to block out distractions and focus on the task at hand. If the Seminoles can do that one more time, they should have enough firepower to outscore the Irish and move to 7-0.