The Notre Dame Fighting Irish started out slow against the Seminoles Saturday night. This is to be expected after having a two-week break after only playing two games. Regardless of any rust on the Notre Dame side of the ball, the Irish beat Florida State 42-26. Notre Dame is now 3-0 on the year and 2-0 in ACC play. So, how did Notre Dame beat Florida State?
Notre Dame Beat Florida State
The Fighting Irish went into the matchup with Florida State having been away from actual football for longer than they would have liked. It showed in the first half of the game. The first quarter ended with Florida State up 17-14 on the Irish. The second quarter was a little bit better and Notre Dame went into the locker room leading 35-20. This was enough to put the game away in the second half. Notre Dame only allowed six second-half points, finishing the game 42-26.
Irish Running Backs
It was an offensive game for the Irish, totaling 554 yards of offense against the Seminoles. However, it was the rushing attack that stood out on Saturday. Notre Dame amassed 353 rushing yards against Florida State’s defense. In the preview of this game, we discussed that Florida State has allowed most points to be scored in the first half. Further, we stated that is the Irish could continue this trend then it would be difficult for the Seminoles to catch up. This is exactly what the Notre Dame offense did, scored early and scored often. Even though the first quarter wasn’t pretty, the Irish scored 35 of their 42 points in the first half, largely thanks to the rushing attack.
Kyren Williams, Chris Tyree, and Ian Book were the leading rushers for Notre Dame against the Seminoles on Saturday. Williams accounted for nearly 200 yards of total offense, 185 rushing yards. In addition, Williams had two touchdowns on 19 carries. Tyree also had a 100-yard rushing game and one touchdown. Finally, Book comes in third with a rushing touchdown for the final score of the game in the third quarter. The rushing attack picked up right where it left off against South Florida several weeks ago.
Notre Dame Receivers Against Florida State Secondary
The question coming into this game would be how the Irish receivers would play against Asante Samuel Jr. We discussed in the preview that the pass rush for the Seminoles is weak and Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees would likely try to exploit that this week. Rees did a good job of keeping a balanced rushing and passing attack. Book threw for just over 200 yards and two touchdowns, with zero interceptions. Samuel Jr. was also held in check for the most part. The standout had four tackles, one pass defended, and one fumble recovery against the Irish.
Kevin Austin returned for Notre Dame against Florida State and Braden Lenzy is finally healthy, but it was Javon McKinley that led the group on Saturday. Lenzy did snag a touchdown just before the half to put the Irish up 15 points, but he was pretty quiet with only three receptions for 29 yards. McKinley had a 100-yard receiving game on five receptions. He also averaged over 20 yards per catch. The Seminoles’ defense didn’t have an answer for the balanced rushing and passing attack of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame Defense Beat Florida State
There were many question marks entering the game against Florida State. One of those was how the defense would bounce back from a two-week break. The Irish defense proved they were ready to play. Two scores for the Seminoles came off of turnovers from special teams and the offense. The Notre Dame defense overcame both and only allowed six points in the second half. Florida State was held to 153 yards rushing and 405 yards of total offense. In addition, Notre Dame forced a much-needed turnover. Shaun Crawford came up with the interception. The Irish tallied four sacks against the Seminoles, while the Notre Dame offensive front didn’t allow a sack all game. Finally, the Notre Dame defense bested the Florida State defense in passes defended with six, Samuel Jr.’s was the only one for the Seminoles. It was a well-rounded game for the Irish defense that had to overcome two early turnovers by the offense.
Notre Dame will play Louisville on October 17th. The Irish look to stay undefeated on the season and in the ACC.