October 10, 2020 - by
Football Battles Notre Dame in 42-26 Loss

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (seminoles.com) – Quarterback Jordan Travis threw for 204 yards and ran for a career-high 96 yards in the first start under center of his career, but No. 5 Notre Dame outscored Florida State by a 42-26 margin in the first meeting between the Seminoles and the Irish as members of the ACC at Notre Dame Stadium.

Florida State (1-3, 0-3, ACC) totaled three touchdowns by three different players, scored on three touchdowns on four trips into the red zone and committed only one turnover.  Notre Dame (3-0, 2-0 ACC), which is playing as a member of a conference for the first time in the history of its program, won its second ACC game following a season-opening victory over Duke.

Travis completed 13-of-24 passes for 204 yards as he surpassed the 200-yard passing mark for the second consecutive week.  He threw for a career-high 210 yards in Florida State’s victory over Jacksonville State on Oct. 3.  His 96 yards rushing surpassed his previous career-high of 94 rushing yards against Boston College on Nov. 9, 2019.

“I did alright (tonight),” said Travis.  “There’s a lot of room for improvement once again; I made mistakes that I have to correct and we are going to get back to work this week and try to correct them and see how this week goes.”

Wide receiver Tamorrion Terry caught a season-high nine passes for a season-high 146 yards and his first touchdown of 2020.  Travis led the Seminoles in rushing with his career-high 19 carries.  La’Damian Webb gained 59 yards on 13 carries and scored his third touchdown in the last two weeks.

Florida State’s defense held Notre Dame to seven points and 189 total yards (113 rushing and 76 passing) in the second half after surrendering 35 points and 365 total yards (240 rushing and 125 passing) in the first half.

“Congratulations to Notre Dame, they did a really good job tonight,” said Seminole Head Coach Mike Norvell. “They made the plays necessary to be successful in the game.  You are disappointed with the outcome.  I thought our guys battled to the end.  A lot of work goes into each and every game that we have the opportunity to play and it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to apply some of the things throughout the course of the game to put ourselves in the best position to be successful.

“We struggled to stop the running game.  We failed to convert on third downs offensively.  Missed a couple opportunities throughout the course of the contest, but I thought our guys did battle.  I was very proud of them, even there at the end – down 16, Notre Dame had the ball down at the goal line and the guys continued to fight to keep them out of the end zone so we could get another possession and another opportunity.”

Norvell was pleased with Travis’ performance.

“I thought he (Travis) played extremely tough,” said Norvell.  “He had a lot of different looks; a lot of things that were thrown his way.  I thought he made some really good decisions and there are some things that he’ll be able to learn from.  It was a gutsy performance.  He carried the ball a good number of times throughout the game.  I thought he definitely provides a great dynamic for us.  I thought Travis played hard, prepared well and continued to grow.”

Florida State scored first as it took advantage of an early Notre Dame fumble (which was recovered by Asante Samuel, Jr.) to take the first lead of the game on a 42-yard field goal by Ryan Fitzgerald.

Notre Dame countered on the next possession to take the lead with less than five minutes having been played.  Following the kickoff, Irish running back Kyren Williams ripped off a 65-yard run to give his team field position on Florida State’s 10-yard line.  Notre Dame scored on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Ian Book to tight end Michael Mayer.

Following a Florida State punt, Notre Dame increased its lead to 14-3 on a 46-yard touchdown run by Williams for his second touchdown of the first quarter.  The ensuing extra point gave Notre Dame an early 11-point lead.  Williams’ touchdown came at the end of a five-play, 76-yard drive that took all of 2:19.

Opportunistic once again, Florida State capitalized on a second Notre Dame fumble (this time on a Florida State punt) to close its early deficit.  Travis scored on a designed 4-yard run for his second touchdown of the season.  After taking the ball over on Notre Dame’s 19, Travis took the Seminoles to the end zone on just three plays to cut the deficit to 14-10.

Florida State capped off a wild, high-scoring first quarter and took its first lead of the game on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Travis to Terry to put the Seminoles up 17-14.  Terry got loose down the sideline for his first touchdown reception of the season and the 18th touchdown catch of his Seminole career.  He moved into a tie for 13th place in school history with Travis Rudolph (2014-16) and Craphonso Thorpe (2001-04) for career touchdown receptions at Florida State with the scoring catch.

“He (Tamorrion) had a great game,” said Travis. “I gave him the ball and he made great plays every single time.”

Williams found the end zone for Notre Dame for a second time at the 12:27 mark of the second quarter to put Notre Dame up by a 21-17 score.  He scored on a 1-yard end around for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.

Notre Dame increased its lead to 28-17 on its longest scoring drive on the night – 81 yards on four plays – with a 45-yard touchdown scoring run by Williams.  It was Williams’ second rushing touchdown of the game.

After a 26-yard field goal by Fitzgerald cut Florida State’s deficit to 28-20, Notre Dame closed the half with their fifth touchdown – a 6-yard pass from Book to Braden Lenzy.

Travis engineered a strategic 7-play, 75-yard touchdown scoring drive on Florida State’s first possession of the second half to pull the Seminoles to within 35-26.  The drive was highlighted by a 30-yard reception by Terry, two catches for 24 yards by wide receiver Ontaria Wilson and was culminated by a seven-yard rushing touchdown by running back La’Damian Webb.  The touchdown was Webb’s third of the season.  Florida State attempted a 2-point conversion but Travis’s pass to Terry fell incomplete in the back of the end zone.

Book matched Florida State’s offensive execution on Notre Dame’s first drive of the second half.  He led the Irish on an 8-play, 73-yard touchdown drive to put Notre Dame up, 42-26.  Book called his own number and scored his first rushing touchdown of the game.

“This football team is continuing to grow,” said Norvell.  “We are continuing to work our way through our process and I definitely believe in what the future holds.  We just have to do a better job in all aspects – players, coaches, everybody – in applying the lessons that we are learning and the things that we are implementing throughout the course of the week.  When you play good opponents you have to apply that for 60 minutes.  There were some bright moments, but obviously we didn’t get the job done.

“At the end of the day, this is about going out there and competing to be the best that you can possibly be in all aspects.

Travis agreed with Norvell’s assessment of the outcome.

“There is always room for improvement,” said Travis.  “We’ve just got to get to work this week and get better.  We just have to go out every single game and play football.  We’ve got to correct our own mistakes once again.  It’s the little things that matter and we’ve got to get back to work.  I’m learning that I have to get down and protect myself.  I have to do a lot better because there were hits that were unnecessary today that I didn’t have to take and I could have gotten down and I have to work on that.

“We should have these expectations, we should be winning. We are a good team.  There are little things that matter over and over, we make little mistakes that matter so much and it cost us a couple of touchdowns today.  Starting from me – there are mistakes that I made that need to be corrected.”

Florida State returns home to play host to No. 8 North Carolina on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium.  The game will be televised by ESPN.

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