No. 5 Notre Dame halted by penalty; fall to No. 2 Florida State 31-27


For a brief moment, the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish pulled off the ultimate comeback against the No.2 Florida State Seminoles with a two-yard touchdown pass.

Then came the flag.

The Irish (6-1) looked to have scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard pass to Corey Robinson, but a pass interference flag was thrown on the play, nullifying the score. The play, that resulted in the score, was the exact play the Irish ran against the Seminoles (7-0) in the first quarter; a play that did not draw a flag against the Irish.

It appeared Everett Golson had once again led the Irish from the throes of defeat, until the penalty changed the outcome it one moment. The first touchdown of the game was score on the exact same play call for the Irish. For some reason, the last was a penalty, the first was not. CJ Prosise was engaged by the defender within the five-yard range, but in this case he was called for the defensive pass interference. The inconsistency costs the Irish the game.

Officiating will always be at the heart of a dispute for the losing team, but when the first score and last near score are put side-by side, it will be hard to dispute the difference.

The Irish went up early on the aforementioned TD pass to Robinson from Golson, putting them up 7-0. the Seminoles responded quickly after using a short field following a kick out-of-bounds by Kyle Brindza. Jameis Winston made quick work of the drive with two passes to wide open receivers,ending with an 11-yard TD pass to Travis Rudolph.

After a Golson pass was intercepted, the Irish responded with a pick of their own. Joe Schmidt intercepted a pass from a pressured Winston to give the Irish the ball at the FSU 31. After a 22-yard completion to Chris Brown, Golson found Robinson again for the score on a 9-yd TD pass to put the Irish up 14-7.

After Florida State cut the lead to 14-10 with a field goal,the Irish were able to move down the field, setting up a 34-yard FG by Brindza put them up 17-10 at the half.

The second half then belonged to the Seminoles, who were able to halt the Irish offensive attack.

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Winston led the opening drive of the second half, going 6-for-6 , culminating with a 10-yd TD pass to Rashad Green to tie the game at 17-17. The Irish responded quickly, going 83 yards in 3:11, ending with an 11-yd TD pass to William Fuller, putting Notre Dame up 24-17. But Florida State would not bow down in their house,

Florida State tied the game on a two-yard Karlos Williams TD run, helped by a Cody Riggs pass interference call on third down, giving the Seminoles the extra downs.

The Irish would take a three-point lead after Brindza hit a 46-yard FG, his second of the night, to give ND the 27-24 lead.

The following drive saw the Seminoles move the ball down the field with the confidence of a team that had no fear of losing in their house. Winston continued to show Heisman form, completing five of six passes, eventually handing the ball to Williams for his second score of the game; and giving the Noles their first lead of the game at 31-27.

With 2:53, Notre Dame got the ball back with a chance to pull of some late-game heroics again.

The Irish sputtered on their first three plays, leaving a 4th and 18. But Golson was unphased, scrambling and finding a wide open Robinson for the first down. A 17-yard completion to Fuller gave the Irish a first down at the FSU 20.

A 12-yard Golson scramble to the Noles eight set up the final sequence of the game.

On 4th and goal from the FSU 2, the Irish ran the play that led to their first TD, and found the same result. This time, there was a flag. The pass interference call on Prosise was weak at best, as the defender engaged him first within the five-yard “jam zone”. It wasn’t an illegal screen, and it was the exact play run in the first quarter.

Golson threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. On this night though, Golson could not be blamed for the Irish loss, and flags appeared to cost them in the end.

The Irish are in no way eliminated from the playoffs, and while a loss is disheartening, this was the only game they could “afford” to lose. With the undefeateds falling each week, a one-loss Irish team is still very much alive, and likely in the forefront of the selection committees minds.

The Irish still have a No. 17 Arizona State team, a No. 22 USC squad, and a 6-2 Louisville team that may very well be ranked when they face them. It’s no cakewalk, but the schedule-should the Irish be able to run it-will allow them a very good chance to be one of the four teams in the new playoff system.

The Irish will next face the Navy Misdshipmen (3-4) on November 1 at 8pm at FedEx field.