GAME PREVIEW: Florida State at Notre Dame

Florida State has unfortunately been nothing short of disappointing this season. After coming out of the gate with loses to a terrible Georgia Tech team, and an embarrassing beat down against your arch-rival at Miami, things looked extremely bleak. But there is a small, but distinct light at the end of the tunnel for the Seminoles. And it comes in the form of Jordan Travis. After Tate Rodemaker’s disappointing home debut against Jacksonville State, which included a pick-six. Jordan Travis came in after being limited in practice, and engineered a 41-24 comeback victory. Granted, it was against an FCS team, and all of these results should be taken with a grain of salt, but the ‘Noles have something to work with moving forward.

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The ‘Noles will be facing arguably the best defense they have to this point in the years. However, coming out of quarantine from a recent COVID outbreak, ND is expecting at least two players to potentially be out of this game, in the form of DL Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Jack Kinser. While Amosa is the only starter that is confirmed out, Kinser was on their two-deep and had a good performance against USF before the COVID outbreak.

However, Notre Dame still has two very talented linebackers in the form of Mairst Liufau and Shayne Simon. Additionally, the best safety in the ACC not named Hamsah Nasirildeen, Kyle Hamilton. He is an extremely gifted athlete who has nice ball skills and is overall, the most talented safety the ‘Noles will face all year. As always, we can also expect their DL to outclass FSU’s offensive line. If the Noles can stay away from Hamilton and are able to work around their excellent LB’s, there could be a potential upset.

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As with any Notre Dame team, their bread and butter is an excellent offensive line. They return an experienced group that is ranked by PFF as the top offensive line in the nation. This line opens up holes for one of the best running backs that Notre Dame has had in Kyren Williams. The ‘Noles will need to find a way to shut down the run in order to have a chance. If they are unable to shut down the run, that opens up the passing game for the veteran QB Ian Book. Book is what makes this Fighting Irish offense go. The 3-year field commander has an excellent understanding of the game, and is able to manipulate the defense to do what he wants. While his WR core is not explosive, they get the job done. The ‘Noles will need to have their best defensive performance of the year if there is to be any chance of an upset.

Three burning questions

Can Jordan Travis make the offense work? 

The ‘Noles offensive woes have been notable this season. Enter Jordan Travis, who seemingly had an efficient game in the air and on the ground. Will he be able to make it click against a P5 opponent?

Can the defensive line get any sort of pass rush? 

FSU fans were sold on potentially one of the best defensive lines in the ACC, after breakout years by Marvin Wilson, Cory Durden, and Robert Cooper. But they have been anything but. The FSU DL has a grand total of two sacks this year, in an extremely lackluster effort to this point. Mike Norvell and Adam Fuller are going to need a whole lot more out of this defensive line for the upset to be possible.

Will this team quit yet again in the face of adversity?

We have watched this team, time and time again, throw in the towel when the going gets tough. The ‘Noles will most likely be down throughout this game. So when FSU gets down early, will the team simply give up and play dead as they did against Miami? All of these questions will be answered this Saturday in Southbend.

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