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Florida State vs. Notre Dame: halftime observations

Sigh. The ‘Noles trail the Irish 32-6 at the half.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No one wants to play football in 20 degree weather. You can’t feel your hands, your face is chapped, and the hits hurt more. It’s bad enough as is. Now imagine all that and throw in the fact that you’re down 32-6 at the half. This game is likely already out of reach with 30 minutes left to play.

Field position continues to destroy FSU’s chances to stay in games. Florida State’s average starting field position is there own 25-yard line, which isn’t awful, but Notre Dame’s average starting position being their 45-yard line absolutely is.

The Seminoles are averaging 4.2 yards per play while the Irish are gaining 6.8 yards per play.

First quarter:

Imagine the worst possible start you can have to a football game and that’s exactly what happened to the ‘Noles. Just two plays into the game a pass tipped by tight end ‘Tre McKitty was intercepted by the Irish and returned to FSU’s 3-yard line.

With their backs against the wall, the FSU defense continued their trend of struggling against fade routes when Brandon Wimbush connected with Miles Boykin for a touchdown and the first points of the game, taking a 7-0 lead.

After a Florida State three-and-out, Notre Dame drove 81-yards on 14 plays to go up two touchdowns. Notre Dame continued to use their pass catcher’s size advantage when 6’5” tight end Alize Mack made an unbelievable catch for the score.

Florida State’s night continued it’s downward spiral when Cam Akers fumbled on the FSU 16-yard line and the Notre Dame defense recovered. A.J. Westbrook dropped a would-be interception, but FSU was still able to hold the Irish to a field goal.

The ensuing FSU drive was much better compared to the start of their night. Deondre Francois made a couple tight throws to Tamorrion Terry that kept the drive alive and avoided pressure well. Francois continues to struggle with throws to the boundary. They’re often low and take too long to reach the receiver, ultimately stopping the play in it’s tracks.

Second quarter

The end of a great drive saw Cam Akers in the Wild Cat. Akers did well to make a defender miss and run in for the score.

The extra point to follow was a microcosm of Florida State’s season: one step forward, two steps back. Notre Dame blocked and returned the kick for the two-point play. There should have been a flag on the field for a hit on the long snapper that allowed the Irish to block the kick, but life is pain.

Notre Dame’s next offensive drive ripped the ‘Noles apart on the ground. Brandon Wimbush scrambled for 17-yards on third down to prolong the drive and on the very next play Dexter Williams broke off a 58-yard touchdown run. Corey Durden blocked the extra points, so I guess that’s a bit of justice.

Another circus catch in the end zone from Notre Dame tight end Alize Mack put the Irish up 32-6. Without a doubt, the secondary has struggled mightily tonight (and all year) against bigger receivers. It’s been a case of men against boys and Mack has looked the part of an NFL tight end tonight.

FSU’s final drive of the half saw flashes from D.J. Matthews and Nyqwan Murray, but the Seminoles weren’t able to turn it into points before the clock ran out and would head into the locker room down 32-6.