Seminoles can't recover from slow start, fall to Notre Dame, 42-13

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
November 10, 2018

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WCTV) — The Florida State Seminoles committed too many early key self-inflicted mistakes and dug an early hole against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as the Irish rolled to a 42-13 win on Saturday night from South Bend.

The game couldn’t have started much worse for Florida State. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Deondre Francois targeted tight end Tre McKitty and hit him on the hands, but it bounced out and into the hands of a Notre Dame defender, setting the Irish up deep inside Seminoles territory.

Two plays later, the Irish punched the ball in for the game’s first points, taking a 7-0 lead.

FSU went three-and-out on the next drive and Notre Dame went 81 yards on 14 plays to score their second touchdown of the night on a Alize Mack touchdown reception from Brandon Wimbush to make it 14-0.

The horrible start continued for the Noles on the first play of the ensuing drive, when Cam Akers didn’t secure the ball after being given the handoff and Notre Dame punched it out and recovered deep in Noles territory again.

However, the FSU defense stood tall and forced ND to just a field goal, bringing the Notre Dame lead to 17-0.

After the field goal, the Noles finally found their groove offensively and put together a 75-yard drive that ended the first quarter and bled into the beginning of the second that was capped off by an eight-yard touchdown run from Akers to pull the Noles within 17-6.

But, nothing could go right for the Noles for too long, and the Ricky Aguayo extra point attempt was blocked and return for two, making for a 19-6 game.

From there, the Irish scored twice more in the half, once on a Dexter Williams 58-yard run and again on Mack’s second acrobatic touchdown grab, to make for a 32-6 score that went into the halftime break.

The 32 points scored were the most in a first half for Notre Dame this year and were the most given up in a half for the Seminoles in 2018.

The second half started much like the first half did, but for the opposite teams. ND’s first drive ended with an interception into the hands of Stanford Samuels to set the Noles deep in Notre Dame territory that was capped off by Akers’ second touchdown of the day, bringing the Noles within 32-13.

Late in the third, the Noles attempted to turn another interception, this one by Dontavious Jackson, into points but were unable to punch the ball in over four plays at the goal line, turning the ball over on downs and trailing 35-13.

The Irish put the exclamation point on the game in the fourth quarter, putting together a 97-yard drive in which they exclusively ran the football and Williams logged his second touchdown of the night on a 32-yard touchdown rush to make it 42-13.

After posting 421 passing yards last week with James Blackman, Francois finished with 216, completing 23 of his 47 passes and an interception. Nyquan Murray was the leading receiver for FSU, catching six balls for 79 yards.

Wimbush finished with 130 yards on 12-of-25 passing, tossing three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Akers led the Seminoles on the ground, rushing for 63 yards on 12 touches and both FSU touchdowns.

Williams logged 202 yards on the ground for the Irish.

In total, the Irish outgained FSU, 495-322

FSU has surrendered 148 points over their last three games.

The loss leaves FSU with six losses this year, meaning they'll have to win out against Boston College and Florida to achieve bowl eligibility. The Noles will welcome the Eagles to Doak Campbell Stadium next Saturday.

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