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Florida State tops Notre Dame, 31-27

| Sunday, October 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 2.09.58 AMZach Llorens / The Observer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — “Pass interference” will ring in Notre Dame’s ears for a long time.

The Irish thought they had won when sophomore receiver Corey Robinson hauled in a would-be two-yard pass from senior quarterback Everett Golson. Touchdown Irish — but the refs were waving their arms instead of raising them.

Offensive pass interference called on junior receiver C.J. Prosise.

“We execute that play every day, and we do it legally, and that’s the way we coach it,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said afterward. “We don’t coach illegal plays.”

With one more chance on fourth-and-18, Golson tossed the ball up under heavy pressure, and Seminoles freshman linebacker Jacob Pugh came up with it — Florida State 31, Notre Dame 27.

“We needed to make one more play,” Kelly said.

A few snaps earlier, Golson had converted on fourth-and-18, connecting with Robinson for 20 yards to keep the Irish hopes alive, but the second effort didn’t pan out.

“They called the offensive pass interferences,” Golson said. “That’s something that you can’t argue with. You just gotta play through it. That last play on fourth-and-18, I probably could have made a play, so I think that’s what I’m more just disappointed in in getting that loss.”

Irish sophomore receiver Corey Robinson and his father, former basketball great David Robinson, meet after Notre Dame's 31-27 loss to Florida State on Saturday night in Tallahassee, Florida.Mike Monaco / The Observer
Irish sophomore receiver Corey Robinson and his father, former basketball great David Robinson, meet after Notre Dame’s 31-27 loss to Florida State on Saturday night in Tallahassee, Florida.
Notre Dame ended the first half on a high, with a 17-10 lead after scoring on a 34-yard field goal by senior kicker Kyle Brindza. But Florida State jumped out after halftime, outscoring the Irish in the second half, 21-10.

The Seminoles scored first in the second half to even the score, 17-17.

“I said, ‘Think about this, as well as you got outplayed in the first half, you’re down one drive, 17-10,’” Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We got out, got the drive, got back in the game. Got the momentum and started playing our game.”

The adjustments Florida State made were evident on the field, Irish sophomore defensive lineman Isaac Rochell said.

“I think there was a huge shift in their attitude,” Rochell said. “You could tell on the field their players were more engaged in the game.”

That attitude was a refusal to quit, Seminoles redshirt sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston said.

“The one thing that people need to realize about the Seminoles team is when we’ve got our backs against the wall, we always rise,” he said. “We start playing harder.”

Winston threw for two touchdowns in the second half, and Florida State activated its running game for two rushing touchdowns.

Before that, the Seminoles rushing attack hadn’t been rolling. Florida State tallied 19 rushing yards in the first half. The Seminoles added just 31 yards in the second half, but senior tailback Karlos Williams scored a two-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter and added a second in the fourth.

The Irish, on the other hand, ran heavily at Florida State, particularly in the first two quarters as they racked up 115 yards before the half. Sophomore running back Tarean Folston handled the bulk of the work and finished with 120 yards on 21 carries.

On the third Irish drive of the game, five Folston carries drove Notre Dame from its own 16 to the Florida State 32. The Irish scored the first points of the game on a pass from Golson to Robinson.

Offensively, Notre Dame put itself in position to meet its goals, Kelly said.

“We needed to get into the 30s [in points],” he said. “We needed to have some balance in our offense, which I thought we did. We needed to have some tempo in our offense, which I think we did. And some ball control. I think we hit virtually all of those.”

Winston evened the score at 7-7 on the drive immediately following Notre Dame’s first touchdown with an 11-yard pass to freshman receiver Travis Rudolph. Irish senior safety Matthias Farley grabbed Rudolph but lost his footing and slid out of bounds as Rudolph scored. Seminoles senior receiver Rashad Greene found space and turned it into 22-yard and 33-yard gains, respectively, to set up the touchdown.

Facing a momentum shift after Florida State intercepted Golson, Irish senior linebacker Joe Schmidt intercepted Winston on the very next play. Junior defensive lineman Jarron Jones hustled Winston back toward his own end zone, and Schmidt snagged the off-balance throw. The resulting Irish touchdown increased Notre Dame’s lead to 14-7.

“Jarron got some great pressure and flushed him a little bit,” Schmidt said. “And [Winston] just threw it up there for what felt like a millennium, and thank God it just came down, and somebody whacks me from behind, which is kind of fun, and it was pretty cool.”

Golson played a clean game other than his interception and a fumble. He completed 31 of 52 passes and threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Winston was 23-for-31 with 273 yards and two touchdowns.

“I thought our quarterback played better than [Winston] tonight, just didn’t show up on the scoreboard,” Kelly said.

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