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NoleGameday

Florida State vs Notre Dame Game Preview

Game Introduction:

Florida State must win two out of its final three games to keep the bowl streak alive. After a blow out loss last week against NC State, the ‘Noles chances at another bowl game look dim. They will have a shot to shock the world against the third-ranked and undefeated Notre Dame squad. The Irish have looked dominant at times but also suspect against weaker opponents. The game kicks off at 7:30 in South Bend on NBC.

Headlines:

Get Ready for a Winter Wonderland

The weather is not going to be friendly on Saturday. It is expected to be in the 20’s and snowing. How will this affect the game? Anytime the weather is cold and wet, offenses are at a big disadvantage. This bodes well for Florida State. While most think the passing attack will be the most affected, ball carriers will have a tough time holding on to the rock as well. What I am most worried about for FSU is how center Alec Eberle handles snaps in this weather. He has been shaky at times in good weather, so I would expect a few errant snaps from the senior. Notre Dame runs out of shotgun most of the time on offense, so they may have troubles with the snap too.

Ian Book Out, Brandon Wimbush In for the Irish

Notre Dame starting quarterback Ian Book will be sidelined on Saturday due to a rib injury he suffered last week against Northwestern. Book has been a crucial part of Notre Dame’s success this year, and a big reason why the Irish are 9-0. With that said, Wimbush is a senior and was the starter before Book took over. Wimbush is a lot more mobile than Book, however, lacks the arm talent that Book has. Wimbush should make some big runs in this game when ND’s pass protection breaks down, but he shouldn’t be able to beat the ‘Noles deep in this weather. I expect FSU defensive coordinator to make Wimbush’s life miserable by bringing a lot of pressure.

Burning Questions:

Who will start at quarterback for FSU?

All Florida State fans have become detectives this week trying to figure out who gets the nod as QB1 on Saturday. There was a very confident interview by Deondre Francois earlier in the week proclaiming he was the starter. When head coach Willie Taggart was asked about 12’s comments, Taggart denounced them and said they haven’t named a starter. Just when you thought the drama was over, FSU wide receiver and James Blackman’s roommate DJ Matthew’s had a tweet indicating that Francois might be the starter on Saturday night. In my personal opinion, Blackman should get the nod. There were a lot of positives from last week, and Blackman did a great job passing the ball without much help from the run game. I truly believe Blackman gives the ‘Noles the best chance to win.

Can Florida State’s defense fix its issues from last week?

What was wrong with Florida State’s defense last week? They seemed to miss assignment after assignment, and it looked like they were in slow motion at times. NC State’s offense did virtually everything it wanted to, and the ‘Noles D couldn’t stop it. This week they will get a big assist from the weather, and hopefully spent a lot of time in the film room going over their mistakes. Brian Burns and company must make Wimbush as uncomfortable as possible in the pocket. Because if Wimbush can set and throw, the big-bodied receivers on Notre Dame will win most one on one match-ups against this FSU secondary.

Forecast:

This game is going to be sloppy. Notre Dame should be used to playing in this weather, but Florida State is going to be in for a rude awakening. While I know Florida State’s staff is doing everything to prepare for the cold, it’s still going to be the biggest factor on Sunday night. Florida State can’t run the ball effectively behind its offensive line, and Notre Dame’s strength on defense is its defensive line. It helps to have an effective run game in these bad weather games, and the ‘Noles simply don’t have the front five to produce one. Florida State is going to have to take a lot of shots in this one, and hope Terry can have another big game going deep. If the Seminoles can connect on a few kill shots, Notre Dame might be in trouble. Regardless, I believe this will be a low scoring game due to the weather, and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly coming out of the gate with a conservative and patient game plan. I’ll take Notre Dame 21-14, with a few missed field goals and some very sloppy football. Hope everyone making the trip stays warm, and if you are a true fan watching at home turn that thermostat all the way down to show your ‘Nole pride.


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