Again, Florida State relied on redshirt sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis to direct a rebuilding Seminoles squad.
And again, Travis gave the Noles a fighting chance, keeping FSU (1-3, 0-2 ACC) within two scores for much of the evening.
But it wasn’t enough Saturday night to overcome the Notre Dame’s offensive barrage. The Fighting Irish improve to 3-0 and remain on the path to the College Football Playoff. Florida State, meanwhile will continue their path for moderate improvement.
In a high-flying first quarter, the two teams combined for 344 total offensive yards and 4 touchdowns. The excitement got started when Notre Dame tailback Kyren Williams fumbled on his first carry and the second play of the game. FSU grabbed a field goal, but the Irish came back with two touchdown drives to make it 14-3, including a 46-yard score from Williams.
Williams responded with 172 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on the day. Notre Dame muffed a punt to set up a 4-yard option keeper from Travis. On Florida State’s next drive, Travis hit receiver Tamorrion Terry on a 48-yard bomb to make to take a 17-14 lead.
Fifth-ranked Notre Dame plowed over the FSU defense for a 21-3 edge in the second quarter. The balanced attack from head coach Brian Kelly racked up over 200 yards through the air and over 350 on the ground.
For the third straight game, Mike Norvell and Kenny Dillingham’s Seminole offense started the second half with a touchdown drive. Travis hit a couple passes to redshirt junior wideout Ontaria Wilson and sophomore running back La’Damian Webb continued his dependable day (13 carries for 59 yards), punching it in from 7 yards.
However, ND was averaging over 10 yards a play well into the third quarter, and answered with a scoring drive of their own. Book, who connected on 16 of 25 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown on the day, ran one in from 3 yards to extend the Fighting Irish lead to 42-26.
Florida State kept fighting, and drove for over 6 minutes, converting back-to-back fourth downs to reach Notre Dame 4-yard line. On third-and-goal, Travis was picked off to dash the hopes of Norvell’s Noles.
From there, Notre Dame ran some clock but failed to punch in one more with 3 minutes to go. Florida State’s goal-line stand kept the Irish at 42.
On FSU’s final drive, Travis was relived by redshirt junior quarterback James Blackman. For the game, Travis had 204 passing yards and a score, completing 13 of 24 of his throws. 7 of those passes were snared by Terry, who shined with 121 yards and his long touchdown.
Next week, Florida State hosts former FSU running back and Tar Heel head coach Mack Brown and #8 North Carolina at 7 p.m.