Notre Dame football could have its hands full with some of these Seminoles.
Notre Dame football plays its final home game of the season this Saturday when they take on Florida State. It has been a rebuilding year for first-year Seminoles coach Willie Taggart. The Seminoles are 4-5 on the year, a record that does not feature a stand out win but does feature a bunch of disheartening losses.
Although Florida State is well outside the playoff picture, the Seminoles would love nothing more than to spoil the playoff hopes of the Fighting Irish. Florida State has nothing to lose, and Notre Dame has everything to lose. Here are the five Florida State players who give the Noles the best shot at foiling Notre Dame’s postseason plans.
Tammorion Terry, Wide Receiver
Terry has 23 receptions for 505 yards on the season, 142 of which were accumulated in Florida State’s game last weekend against NC State. Terry averages 22 yards per reception, making him one of Florida State’s primary downfield threats. And with seven touchdowns on the year, he is Florida State’s most prolific scorer.
Nygwan Murray, Wide Receiver
Murray has nearly double the receptions as Terry with 42 on the year and has scored three touchdowns. He has 571 yards on those receptions, and he is averaging 13.6 yards per reception. In this way, he is also someone who can help the Florida State offense move the chains. Although he has not scored as much as Terry, he certainly has the ability to find the end zone. There is some debate as to who will be starting at quarterback for the Seminoles on Saturday. But whether it be Deondre Francois or James Blackman under center, look for Terry and Murray to be the top targets.
Cam Akers, Running Back
Akers has 121 rush attempts on the year for 494 yards and has recorded three touchdowns. He is undoubtedly the Seminoles’ go to guy on the ground, as he has been the lead rusher in eight of Florida State’s nine games. His 4.1 yards per rush is rather modest, but the Noles do not seem to have any legitimate running threat behind Akers. If the Irish defense can keep Akers in check, Florida State will have a lot of trouble getting anything going on the ground.
Brian Burns, Defensive End
Burns is Florida State’s primary threat as a pass rusher. He has 32 total tackles on the season with 13.5 of them being for a loss. His nine sacks puts him at a tie for first place in the ACC and at a tie for fourth nationally. These stats earned him the distinction of being a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik award. Ian Book has been in the habit of getting to a slow start as of late, especially when he is pressured by the opposing defense. The Notre Dame offensive line must neutralize Burns and give Book the time he needs to get into a rhythm early in the game.
Hamsah Nasirildeen, Defensive Back
For a Florida State defense that has had its issues with tackling this year, Nasirildeen has given the Noles some hope. He leads the Seminoles in total tackles with 72, 40 of which were solo tackles. Florida State’s defense is most effective when the defensive line is firing on all cylinders. When the line is not getting to the quarterback, all the pressure falls on Nasirildeen to come up and make plays in the middle of the field. It is imperative that Nasirildeen continues to have success against the Irish this weekend if the Florida State defense wants any chance of stopping a Notre Dame offense that has the ability to score fast.