The Florida State Seminoles present another potential trap for Notre Dame football.
Ever since Brian Kelly has taken over the Notre Dame football program, they have been on the verge of true greatness. They’ve had some good teams, and others that shared a border with the elite. However, they have not, to this point, made it to the point of being a team that goes down as one of the great Notre Dame teams to play the game.
This is largely due to Kelly’s teams falling into pitfalls. Traps. Last season, road games late in the year kept the Irish from a New Year’s Six bowl game. The same thing happened in 2015. The year before that, a stumble at Florida State sent Notre Dame into a downward spiral.
This year, Kelly’s Irish have their best shot at glory since the 2012 team, which lost in the National Championship Game. Arguably, this team has as good a defense as that team did, and with Ian Book in at quarterback, a better offense. To this point, Notre Dame has dodged disappointing losses.
That may be about to change.
When the season started, the road game at Northwestern was an easy game to circle as a potential trap — especially with the historically great Florida State the following week. It seemed dangerous. Of course, Florida State has a new coach, and was coming off a down season, but looking at the rosters’ raw talent made them intimidating.
Florida State has been disappointing again. Notre Dame’s game after the Seminoles is against a ranked Syracuse team. The Irish can’t get caught looking past the Seminoles.
Florida State still has tons of talent, especially at quarterback. If Notre Dame isn’t careful, their season could be ruined on Saturday night.
Florida State’s junior quarterback, Deondre Francois was highly touted out of high school. 247 sports gave Francois a four star rating. Statistically, Francois has been a disappointment.
He is completing passes at a 60 percent clip, and only has 13 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. This can be attributed to two things: a new offensive system, and a poor offensive line. Francois has spent this season on the ground. Florida State is 119th in the country in terms of sacks allowed. That’s for 28 sacks in 9 games.
In other words, this game relies on the Notre Dame pass rush. If the front seven for the Irish can get to Francois — which they should — Notre Dame will win. If not — and if they’re thinking ahead, or can’t keep up with coach Willie Taggart’s hurry up offense — Notre Dame will lose this football game.
By no means should Notre Dame lose, but it is much easier to lose to the Seminoles than Florida State’s record would indicate.