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Notre Dame hopes to keep their unbeaten record clean when they face a struggling Florida State squad on a cold Saturday night from South Bend. The Seminoles are a disappointing 2-5 in the ACC, while the Fighting Irish are ranked third in the latest CFP poll.
Can FSU make a bowl game?
It’s been a rough first season for Willie Taggert after taking over for Jimbo Fisher, who moved on to Texas A&M. The Seminoles have just four wins on the season and need to win two of their last three games to earn a bowl bid. They have the longest streak in the nation, earning a bowl bid for 36 straight seasons. However, they probably will be the underdog against Boston College and Florida at home in their final two games after Notre Dame.
The consistency of the offense has been an issue since Jameis Winston left Tallahassee in 2015 but the defense has now become a major problem. Last week, they get destroyed at No. 22 NC State, 47-28. They allowed the Wolfpack to run for 177 yards on the ground and quarterback Ryan Finley to throw for 240 yards with three TDs.
The offense was a staple for Taggert at South Florida but the play calls are now being handled by offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
“I thought Walt did a good job of calling plays,” Taggart said. “I’m sure there’s some plays – like every play-caller – there’s always some plays you would like to take back. But I thought he did well.
“I know, for myself, being able to see the game a little better and also interject and help out along the way, I thought that helped us on the offensive side of the ball.”
Sophomore quarterback James Blackmon played well in place of injured Diondre Francois, completing 29 of 46 for 421 yards with four TDs and a pick.
On the season, the Seminoles have no rushing game (76.7ypg. 2.3ypc), so everything is on the quarterback. They rank 23rd in passing (281.9ypg) but average just 23.8 points per game (105th). They also rank 65th in yards allowed per game (394.9ypg) and 121st in passing yards allowed (281.2ypg). Compare that to last season when they gave up 195 passing yards per contest.
Book it Ian!
Notre Dame has not dominated all of their opponents but they’ve found a way to win all nine games. They knew they might be tested against Northwestern last week from Evanston but came through with a 31-21 win. Quarterback Ian Book completed 22 of 34 for 343 yards with two TDs, while the defense held the Wildcats to just 249 total yards.
Book just makes plays with his arm and legs when needed. The Irish led most of the game, including leading 24-7 with 11:16 left in the game. But Northwestern scored two straight touchdowns to cut the lead to three with 7:05 left. With 2:45 left, Book took it 23 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback keeper to give Notre Dame the cushion they needed and the victory.
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) November 6, 2018
Book threw for 343 yards to improve to 6-0 as the starting quarterback. Receiver Chase Claypool had a season-high eight catches for 130 yards. On the season, Book is completed 74.5 percent of his passes for 1,824 yards with 15 TDs and four picks. Senior running back Dexter Williams leads with 568 yards rushing and eight TDs.
Notre Dame has a balanced attack on both sides of the ball. They rank 33rd in the nation in yards per game (449.6ypg) and 35th in passing yards (268.1ypg). On defense, they rank 26th in total yards allowed per game (331ypg) and 26th in passing yards (188.4ypg), which is important against Florida State.
Notre Dame is:
- 4-1-1 ATS last 6 non-conference games.
- 9-4-1 ATS last 14 after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Florida State is:
- 0-3-1 ATS last 4 on fieldturf.
- 2-8-2 ATS last 12 vs. a team with a winning record.
Updated on Nov 10 at 3:30pm EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Sharps are not sold on Wimbush at QB. 65% of the tickets written are on ND, but the line has come down from -18 to -16.5.
Injury / Weather Report
It will be cold, but no other Weather Issues are expected.
Florida State’s Impact Injury Report:
OL Cole Minshew and DB Levonta Taylor (19 Tackles) are out.
Notre Dame’s Impact Injury Report:
Starting QB Ian Book is out. Brandon Wimbush was the starter to begin the year so they may be OK.
TD Alize Mach (250 Yards) is questionable
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
There could be snow and very cold weather on Saturday night. That’s not good news for the Seminoles, who are used to playing in hot, muggy weather. If they get behind early, they may start packing it in against the Irish. It’s not easy to throw in that weather and that’s where you need a running game. FSU has one of the worst running attacks in the nation so they have to rely on Blackmon, assuming he starts against a tough Notre Dame pass defense. This is going to be another ugly loss for Florida State.
Prediction: Notre Dame -17.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I really like the over here even with the weather issues. Florida State’s pass defense is horrible, which is bizarre considering how good they’ve been over the years. Notre Dame finds ways to win, whether it’s running the ball, Book running or throwing it or they could score off of turnovers. FSU will throw a lot even in the cold weather because that’s all they can do. They are 5-1 Over their last 6 non-conference games, while Notre Dame is 5-1 Over their last 6 non-conference games.
Prediction: Over 54.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Notre Dame is going to crush this team and it’s going to start early. Florida State will wilt early in this one due to the cold weather and the fact that they are not very good this season.
Prediction: Notre Dame -8.5
Half-Time Total Bet
That’s a low total. I think Notre Dame could score almost 26 points by themselves. This is a bad FSU team that is struggling to stop people in the air and can’t run the ball. But they can still pass it.
Prediction: Over 26