SOUTH BEND – Forget the mystery of the green shirts. How about no sweaters? About 15 Notre Dame players transformed…
SOUTH BEND – Forget the mystery of the green shirts. How about no sweaters?
About 15 Notre Dame players transformed 27-degree temperatures and wind-coolant values in their teens by warming up – in the most figurative sense of the words – shirtless. Dozens of others did it without sleeves.
The not so subtle psychological warfare aimed at a screaming Florida State Team at the other end of the field became less implied and more relentless when the game actually began and Irish became green.
At that time, the third ranked Notre Dame finish was placed on a 42-1
3 Senior Night Smackdown by Seminoles, Saturday Night at Notre Dame Stadium, the shaky and most inconsistent part of its large-scale playoff team atmosphere showed a big spark .
“I talked about the importance of driving the football in November, when teams know you will drive the football and exercise your will,” said ND coach Brian Kelly, his Irish 10-0 title to the Yankee Stadium next weekend for a showdown with No. 13 Syracuse (8-2). “And I thought we could do it.”
Senior Dexter Williams saved his best for his last game in Notre Dame Stadium, with a career 202 yards on 20 berries and two long touchdowns (58, 32 meters) known as lightning bolts. By doing so he became the first player to crush 200-yards rushing ground on a Seminole defense of 36 years.
“We have a lot to work on, so we’ll just keep working and keep getting better and get more efficient,” Williams says. “But I’m definitely fond of what we did tonight.”
Florida State is a self-destructive, confusing 4-6 team, now a loss away from its first losing season since 1976. But the shiny statistical stack throughout the season has been its ability to quench the opposition field play.
Seminoles came to the Notre Dame Stadium 17th nationally in driving defense, 111.1 per game allowed and sixth in turn per bear allowed at 2.84. Notre Dame entered the country’s No. 53 rushing offensive (181 yards per game) but bowed his muscle into the field game against a season high 365 meters.
The three previous high-rises this season against FSU were Syracuse with 222, NC State with 177 and Clemson with 120. ND’s rushing total and yards per bir n (7.3), actually were the best numbers posted against Florida State in nine seasons.
And it came with the nation’s leaders in completion and sixth in pass-through, junior quarterback Ian Book, laterally, of uniform and unable to complete the running game while recovering from ribs.
Senior Brandon Wimbush, who received one of the highest bowls in the pregame Senior Night ceremonies, got his first start since September 15 against Vanderbilt.
In Wimbush’s three starts this season, before the book was turned to the top of the depth chart, the Irish never made more than 24 points. They exceeded the total Saturday night for about 3½ minutes to the second quarter on the first of Williams & # 39; TD runs and had a 32-6 command at half.
As has been the case in each of Wimbush’s four starts, Ireland made its first possession of the game. The crime had some help this time from forgotten senior defensive back Nick Coleman.
Relegated to a large extent to special team games since the beginning of September, Coleman began nickel against FSU and picked away quarterback Deondre Francois on second-game offensive games. His 27th resignation set up Wimbush and ND offensive at FSU 3.
On the other side Wimbush associated with senior Mikes Boykin led a bleed for a 7-0 ND lead 75 seconds into the game.
“I’m so proud of him, all he has gone through,” said Boykin, who had four catches for 30 meters. “He will succeed with all he wants to do. Because he will go out today today against a team like this I do not think the fans understand how big a person he is and how big a player he is.”
Wimbush had by far the best quarterback rushing performance against Florida State this season – 68 yards on 12 berries, more than twice what Syracuse QB Eric Dungey collected. Overall, the nine opposing QBs start Saturday night, combined for minus-9 meters at 50, bear against Seminoles.
In the appropriate game, Wimbush ended 12-of-25 for 130 meters and three touchdowns and two interceptions. When Wimbush threw his second pick of the match, at the 8: 3 mark of the third quarter, the Irish tried to do nothing but the rest of the game.
The last 25 Irish offensive games were runs, including all 12 plays in the 97-yard unit, chipped by Williams 32-yard burst at 13:10 in the game that closed the score. Freshman QB Phil Jurkovec handled the last handoffs and drove the ball himself, for two meters at the end of the game.
“He is a good teammate.” Kelly said about Wimbush. “He has been like that all year long, regardless of whether he has a starting role or backup role.”
“So why did I take timeout to take him out of the game because he deserves that kind of recognition. He led our football team when we needed him.”
If it turns out to be Wimbush’s last game at Notre Dame Stadium – and he has a fifth year alternative to play at ND or elsewhere in 2019 – there were some FSU’s Francois were one of the three QBs that Notre Dame started fishing when the first 2015 recruitment of Class QB- The involvement Blake Barnett was released. Travis Waller (now Jonsen) and Jarrett Stidham were the other two before the Irish coaching staff re-engaged with Wimbush and poached him from Penn State’s class.
Another link was that four years ago, Wimbush’s only loss was his high season in high school heading to a New Jersey state title was an out-of-state matchup with IMG Academy and Francois. Wimbush threw 377 yards in Jersey City St Peter Prep’s 36-20 loss in a game played in Bradenton, Fla.
The past was definitely on Wimbush’s mind when he took the field Saturday night, not so far back in it.
“It was really emotional. The six weeks (as backup) were tough, but they were inspiring,” he said. “They did something for me. It made me work by contrast and gave me another perspective.”
Francois has meanwhile been working behind a Seminole offensive line that has no real traction this season. He finished 23-in-47 for 216 meters and a intercept for an average 83.3 efficiency.
“We released the passport, and they got them,” said FSU coach Willie Taggart. “We must catch the football, the other is on the football. We have to keep working on it.”
“Again, it’s disappointing, because it keeps us back, but we can not stop. We must continue to work on it in practice and then take the stand for the game. I think that’s one of our problems is mental toughness, discipline and execution. “
Kelly, who is now 5-0 when his team is wearing green, had some trouble complaining at any stage of the game. He even joked trying to set a quarterback controversy for the media benefits.
” You’ll be bored just talking about a guy, “he said with a smile.
And he logged every time the running game was picked up and up again, partly because Williams’s game of light to start the season now looks like a blessing .
“He does not have much miles on him and I think it helps as we go through later this year,” Kelly says. “Has not played much.”
“Backs that have a lot of berries that turn up, especially here in November, they tend to carry a little. He has fresh legs and he still learns.”
“So I think we see the effects of a back that comes into his own and gets an opportunity now later in his career – certainly seeing things, learning things and knocking in his potential. Notre Dame is the recipient, and he will also be. So that’s a win / win situation. “