Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 19, 2018

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

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26 NOV. 19, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED THE FIGHTING IRISH RUN PAST FLORIDA STATE Heading into its matchup with Notre Dame, Florida State featured a stout run defense that ranked 17th nationally in yards allowed per con- test (111.1) and was surrendering just 2.9 yards per carry, with no team eclipsing 3.89. Notre Dame, however, cruised past both marks in the blowout victory over the Seminoles. Led by senior running back Dexter Williams, who ran for a career-high 202 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, the Fighting Irish rushing attack accu- mulated 365 yards and two scores on 50 carries (7.3 yards per attempt) against the Seminoles. The 365 rushing yards were the most allowed by Florida State since it gave up 401 to Georgia Tech in 2009. "It says a lot about this team," Wil- liam noted. "It shows that this team has a lot of grit. "People are still going to have their opinions about us, but we're still go- ing to do what we do and trust the process each and every day." It was the first time since 2003 — when Julius Jones went for a pro- gram-record 262 yards on 24 carries (10.9 yards per rush) — that a Notre Dame running back averaged more than 10 yards per carry with a mini- mum of 20 attempts. "Dexter doesn't have a lot of miles on him, and I think that that helps as we go through later in the year," head coach Brian Kelly explained. "He hasn't played a lot. Backs that have a lot of carries are banged up, especially here in the month of No- vember. They have a tendency to wear down a little bit. He's got fresh legs, and he's still learning. "We're seeing the effects of a back that is coming into his own and get- ting an opportunity now later in his career. He is seeing things, learning things and tapping into his potential. Notre Dame is the beneficiary, and he will be too. It's a win-win situation." In total, four Notre Dame play- ers averaged at least 5.7 yards per carry in the win. Senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush was second be- hind Williams with 68 yards on 12 attempts (5.7 yards per carry), while sophomore running back Jafar Arm- strong notched 44 yards on seven attempts (6.3 yards per carry). Junior running back Tony Jones Jr. added 39 yards on six rushes (6.5 yards per carry). "I talked about how important it was to run the football in November when teams know that you're going to run the football and you exert your will," Kelly said. "And I thought we were able to do that today. That had a lot to do with the final score." BRANDON WIMBUSH HELPS FUEL STRONG START Senior quarterback Brandon Wim- bush returned to the starting lineup against Florida State due to the injury to junior signal-caller Ian Book. Fit- tingly, it was on Senior Night inside Notre Dame Stadium. FLORIDA STATE GAME NOTES BY COREY BODDEN Senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush threw three touchdown passes in the first half and finished with 198 yards of total offense (130 passing and 68 rushing). PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL MISCELLANEOUS NOTES • With the win, the Fighting Irish finished perfect at home (6-0) for the third time in seven seasons, joining the 2012 (6-0) and 2015 (6-0) squads. Notre Dame had just one such stretch from 1990-2011. • Because Notre Dame's first snap on of- fense came at Florida State's 3-yard line, it opened the game with four tight ends: senior Alizé Mack, fifth-year senior Nic Weishar, and sophomores Cole Kmet and Brock Wright. • No offensive play ended in a loss of yard- age for the Irish, a first since at least the end of the 1995 season. • Senior Nick Coleman's interception was the first of his career, while junior defensive end Ade Ogundeji forced his first fumble and junior drop end Daelin Hayes recorded his first fumble recovery this year. • Junior cornerback Julian Love's blocked point after return for two points was the first for the Irish since 2016 (defensive back Cole Luke versus Syracuse).

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