Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 19, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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20 NOV. 19, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI T wenty-five years ago almost to the day, the Fighting Irish walked out of Notre Dame Sta- dium with a 10-0 record after a 31-24 victory over No. 1 Florida State to put itself in the driver's seat for a national title. Once again in 2018 Notre Dame is 10-0 after toppling the Seminoles 42-13 at home. This was a far inferior Florida State unit, falling to 4-6, and this time the No. 3-ranked Irish won't rise to No. 1. However, the national ti- tle aspirations remain alive and well. On Senior Day, senior Dexter Wil- liams romped for a career-high 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, leading a physical charge that piled up 365 yards on the ground for Notre Dame. Such output helped take some burden off an offense minus starting junior quarterback Ian Book, who was recovering from a reported rib/ kidney injury. In his place, senior Brandon Wimbush started for the 16th time in his career and tossed three touchdowns passes while fin- ishing 12-of-25 passing for 130 yards, although he also threw two intercep- tions. He added 68 rushing yards. On defense, safety Alohi Gilman shined against both the run and pass, recording a team-high 10 tackles (one for a loss), two quarterback hurries and a pass broken up. Next up is a top-15 showdown in Yankee Stadium with 8-2 Syracuse, which possesses one of the nation's most prolific offenses. Head coach Brian Kelly believes his troops are in a good place in their primary point of emphasis since January: finishing with a flourish in November. "They know that this has been coming," Kelly said. "Our practices have reflected that … I feel good about where we were physically and mentally. We can handle a road trip to New York. I don't think that's go- ing to be much of an issue. "Our guys are mentally prepared for it, but we had to plan for it. This wasn't something we just said, 'All right, let's get ready for a road trip this week.' "We've planned the month of No- vember out, and we're ready for it." FIRST QUARTER: NOTRE DAME 17, FLORIDA STATE 0 Top Moment: On the game's sec- ond play, Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois' short toss bounced off receiver Tre McKinney, with good coverage by senior linebacker Te'von Coney, and senior nickel Nick Cole- man made the interception and re- turned 27 yards to Florida State's 3-yard line. Two plays later, Wimbush found Boykin for a score on a three- yard back-shoulder fade for a quick 7-0 lead at the 13:45 mark. Top Performer: Wimbush was 6-of-11 passing for 44 yards with two scores, and carried four times for 20 yards. Stats: Notre Dame had 75 total yards (44 passing and 31 rushing), while Florida State had 59 (53 pass- ing and six rushing).The huge differ- ence was FSU's two turnovers that set up two Irish scores requiring only nine total yards of offense. Items: The second Irish possession resulted in a 14-play, 81-yard drive that took 5:03 and was capped with a six-yard touchdown pass on third- and-goal to leaping senior tight end Alizé Mack with 6:21 left … Notre Dame converted four third downs in that situation, each of which required at least four yards to move the chains … The third Irish score, a 26-yard field goal by senior Justin Yoon, was set up when junior defensive end Ade Ogundeji forced a fumble by Seminoles running back Cam Ak- ers that junior defensive end Daelin Hayes recovered at the FSU 15-yard line … It was 17-0 with 5:53 still re- maining in the quarter. SECOND QUARTER: NOTRE DAME 32, FLORIDA STATE 6 Top Moment: Following a 17-yard run by Wimbush to convert a third- and-10, Williams exploded through the middle for a 58-yard touchdown romp to give the Irish a 25-6 lead at 11:37. The extra point was blocked. Just Like Old Times Notre Dame rushes for 365 yards while improving to 10-0 with a 42-13 trouncing of Florida State

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