The Notre Dame Fighting Irish
will host the Florida State Seminoles
on Saturday in what was supposed to be one of the biggest games of the season. This is the 25th anniversary of the Irish-Seminoles 1993 game that was named, “The Game of the Century.” Florida State and Notre Dame were the top two teams in the country that season, but things are a little different this time around.
Notre Dame comes into this game with a 9-0 record and is the third-ranked team in the latest College Football Playoff Polls. The Irish have a great shot of reaching the 2018 College Football Playoffs barring a late-season collapse. Florida State, on the other hand, is just 4-5 on the season, and they don’t even look like a bowl-eligible team. The Seminoles have lost two straight games by a combined 68 points to top-25 teams. Notre Dame is -16.0 in this anniversary matchup with the Seminoles.
Wimbush Back In As Starter
suffered a huge blow this week when it was announced that quarterback Ian Book
will be forced to miss this game with an injury. Head coach Brian Kelly
must now turn back to senior Brandon Wimbush
, who lost his job to Book earlier this season. Wimbush is a dual-threat quarterback, but his passing accuracy was a big reason for his benching. He has completed just 55.3 percent of his passes this season and has thrown just one touchdown to four interceptions. The Irish are averaging 33.7 points per game this season but might need to rely on running back Dexter Williams
more in this game.
The defense of the Fighting Irish has been consistently great all season long. Notre Dame is allowing just 19.3 points per game, and have not allowed more than 27 points in a single game this season. Jerry Tillery has been a disruptive force for the Fighting Irish this season, recording seven sacks to lead the team. Notre Dame also features one of the best place kickers in college football in senior Justin Yoon.
Seminoles Offense A Mess
While Notre Dame has a small question mark on offense for this game, Florida State
has a mess that seems to be getting worse. Head coach Willie Taggart
has announced that he has turned over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Walt Bell. Florida State is averaging just 23.8 points per game this season, and just 19 points per game in their previous two losses. Quarterback Deondre Francois
is expected to return for this game, but backup James Blackman
looked sharp in the loss to NC State. Francois has thrown for over 2,000 yards this season but has also been shaky with the ball. Blackman threw for 421 yards and four touchdowns in his first college start last week.
The Seminoles defense has not been much better than the offense so far in 2018. Florida State is allowing opponents to score more than 30 points per game and has given up a combined 106 points in the last two games. Florida State is in the bottom-15 in passing yards allowed per game, giving up over 282 per game. The Seminoles are catching a huge break with Ian Book being injured for this matchup, but they still need to find a way to get more stops.
Irish Survive Major Scare
Notre Dame has looked like one of the top teams in the country since Ian Book became the starting quarterback, but that could change this week. The Fighting Irish will need Wimbush to take care of the ball and limit turnovers in this game. Florida State showed signs of life on offense last weekend, and they will show up big in this game. This rivalry has produced some memorable games in year’s past, and the same thing should happen in this one. Throw the records out as this will be a tight contest. Take the points and bet Florida State +16.0 against Notre Dame on Saturday.