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Pregame notes: FSU vs. Jacksonville State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Notre Dame at Florida State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Florida State Seminoles football is looking for what has been a seldom-achieved goal in Tallahassee lately — a comfortable win.

Against FCS and Group of 5 opponents in the last few years, Florida State has, to put it kindly, struggled, losing to Boise State in 2019 and nearly falling to Samford in 2018 and Jacksonville State in 2020.

With a seemingly new direction rebirthed in the state capitol evidenced by the effort of Mike Norvell’s Noles vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, taking care of business against an FCS opponent should be the expectation — will FSU live up to its new potential hype?

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Game notes, via

  • Florida State hosts Jacksonville State in its second straight primetime home game at the beginning of the 2021 season. The Seminoles defeated the Gamecocks 41-24 last season in a game that was added after COVID-related protocols forced all of FSU’s originally scheduled non-conference games to be canceled.
  • The Seminoles rushed for 264 yards in their season opener vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, the program’s most rushing yards against a ranked opponent since totaling 287 yards on the ground vs. No. 10 Clemson on Sept. 22, 2012.
  • FSU’s rushing yards total vs. No. 9 Notre Dame was the 4th-highest total in the ACC and 18th nationally in the season’s opening weekend.
  • Last season, Florida State averaged 199.9 rushing yards per game, the program’s highest since 2016, and 5.11 yards per rush, its most since 2015. The Seminoles ranked 4th in the ACC in yards per carry and 5th in the conference in rushing yards per game.
  • Florida State’s defense held No. 9 Notre Dame to six rushing yards after halftime as the Fighting Irish gained two yards on the ground in the third quarter, one in the fourth quarter and three in overtime. Florida State limited Notre Dame to 65 total rushing yards on the night, a 288-yard improvement from last season’s game when Notre Dame rushed for 353 yards.
  • The Seminoles held No. 9 Notre Dame to an average of 1.86 yards per carry, the 2nd-best average in the ACC and 17th best nationally during Labor Day weekend.
  • Florida State outscored No. 9 Notre Dame 18-0 in the fourth quarter, erasing a 38-20 deficit to force overtime. FSU scored on all three of its fourth-quarter possessions while forcing the Fighting Irish into two punts and an interception on their three drives in the fourth quarter.
  • The 18-0 margin in the fourth quarter vs. No. 9 Notre Dame was FSU’s largest fourth-quarter scoring margin since outscoring Texas State 24-6 on Sept. 5, 2015, and most over a top-10 team since Oct. 27, 2002, when it outscored No. 10 Maryland 21-0 in the final frame of a 52-31 victory. The Seminoles’ 18 points scored were their most in a fourth-quarter since scoring 21 points on Oct. 1, 2016, vs. North Carolina.
  • Florida State’s 9.0 tackles for loss vs. No. 9 Notre Dame ranked 2nd in the ACC and 13th nationally in the season’s opening weekend and were the most for the Seminoles since recording 12.0 vs. Syracuse on Oct. 26, 2019.