No. 5 Irish aim to extend home win streak vs. Florida State
No. 5 Notre Dame will look to stay unbeaten when it hosts Florida State on Saturday evening in South Bend, Ind.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) are coming off double-digit wins over Duke and South Florida to start the season. Notre Dame outscored its first two opponents 79-13.
Perhaps that is why Notre Dame enters the weekend as a three-touchdown favorite against Florida State (1-2), which has endured a tumultuous start to the 2020 campaign. The Seminoles lost their first two games against Georgia Tech and Miami before bouncing back with a 41-24 win against Jacksonville State last week.
This will be the first game in three weeks for Notre Dame, which postponed its Sept. 26 game against Wake Forest because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Fighting Irish had an open date scheduled for Oct. 3, allowing the program more time to monitor its roster, which included 39 players who were placed in isolation or quarantine late last month.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he would have his team prepared for this weekend.
“In terms of identifying who is available, who’s not available, it’s an exercise that we’re not going to get into other than (the fact) I can tell you this,” Kelly said. “We have modified our schedule to make certain that we’re taking care of our guys first in terms of their health, and then secondly, preparing in a manner that allows us to get our entire football team back intact. …
“How we play against Florida State will be the narrative that everybody writes relative to this either being a positive to dealing with COVID and the realities of it, or it was a major setback.”
The Fighting Irish offense is led by quarterback Ian Book, who has completed 62 percent of his passes for 407 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Top target Tommy Tremble has eight catches for 104 yards, and Kyren Williams leads the ground game with 29 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Florida State will make the trip north to Notre Dame Stadium with a new starting quarterback.
Louisville transfer Jordan Travis was named the No. 1 quarterback this week after coming off the bench to help Florida State beat Jacksonville State. Travis completed 12 of 17 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown while also tallying 11 carries for 48 rushing yards and a score.
Travis will be the team’s third starting quarterback this season, following in the footsteps of James Blackman and Tate Rodemaker. Seminoles coaches said it was possible that they could feature more than one signal-caller against the Fighting Irish but bristled at the notion that Travis was a one-dimensional, running quarterback.
“The thought that he couldn’t throw to begin with always was comical to me,” offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said. “He can throw the football. He can throw the ball really well.”
Florida State leads the all-time series 6-3. This will be the first meeting between the programs since Nov. 10, 2018, when Notre Dame cruised to a 42-13 victory.
The Fighting Irish have won 20 consecutive home games dating to Sept. 30, 2017. That marks the longest home winning streak for the program since it won 28 straight from 1942-50.
–Field Level Media