It was an immediate rough start on offense as a ball bounced off of Tre Mckitty’s hands into an interception that would set up Notre Dame with first and goal. FSU’s second drive didn’t fare much better as they went three and out. This one was particularly frustrating because FSU got 5 in the box on a first down carry & the result was a no gain.
On FSU’s third possesion in the first quarter Cam Akers fumbled; another turnover. On FSU’s fourth possession down 17-0; the offense finally put some rhythm together. Walt Bell moved the pocket & Deondre found Keith Gavin on a 1st down throw & catch. Another first down throw & catch, time to Tamorrion Terry, came on third down and FSU had managed to string together back to back first downs.
Jacques Patrick had the juice early; breaking five tackles & running over the Notre Dame on a 2nd down carry; this led to another first down catch on 3rd down to Tamorrion Terry. Deondre Francois made a nice play on another 3rd down to avoid the blitzer and deliver a first down catch, this time to George Campbell; who caught it on his hip.
At the end of the first quarter down 17-0; FSU was finally threatening with its best drive of the night into Notre Dame’s red-zone.
Into the second quarter FSU converted on a fourth down with a QB sneak (gasp) setting up 1st and goal. On 2nd and goal from the 8; Cam Akers took the direct snap; ran zone read & broke into the endzone for a touchdown. A tremendous drive, execution-wise, to make it a 17-6 game.
In the second quarter FSU continued to move the ball well; a fourth down conversion on a gutsy play by Nyqwan Murray; followed by another first down catch by Keith Gavin. Following some tough running by Jacques Patrick; two off-target throws by Francois ended another good drive from FSU.
With about two minutes left in the first half following two brilliant catches from Noonie Murray & DJ Matthews; Deondre Francois was sacked; Derrick Kelly false started, and FSU proceeded to waste the 28 remaining seconds in the half signaling stuff in. A really disorganized half of football from the sidelines.
The second half FSU got off to a much better start; following a Stanford Samuels III interception; FSU converted it into a touchdown off two impressive up the gut, Cam Akers runs. FSU got the ball back, two drops (one that looks like it got punched out) by Tamorrion Terry killed another FSU drive.
Another Turnover set FSU up with good field positions, tough running by Cam Akers; good blocking the offensive line and FSU was set up with first and goal with five minutes left in the third quarter. FSU unfortunately squandered a golden opportunity getting denied on 4th and goal where FSU curiously had Marvin Wilson running a route into the end zone.
It didn’t get better for FSU; a two-yard carry, a dropped pass, and a throw-away on 3rd down, leading to a 3 and out.
All in all it was a bad night for FSU’s offense with early turnovers dooming them before they even had a chance to really get started.
Deondre Francois make a few nice throws & suffered an abnormally high amount of drops (six by my count) but as the game went on his accuracy suffered leading to multiple missed throws in crucial situations.
The wide receivers were not consistent tonight; too many dropped passes turning 2nd & short into second and long and an instance where FSU had to call a timeout because Keith Gavin couldn’t get lined up. This was one night to forget for FSU’s talented wide receiver core.
Cam Akers ran hard but lost a fumble & had a false start in the fourth quarter showed a little bit of a lack of focus for the talented sophomore.
I saved the best for last that being senior running back Jacques Patrick and the offensive line. Jacques Patrick ran really hard tonight; breaking multiple tackles and gaining multiple first downs in short-yardage. He and Cam combined for 116 yards on 28 carries vs. a very tough Notre Dame front.
FSU’s over-matched offensive line played well in my opinion. By my eye Deondre Francois while facing some pressure due to blitzes had good pockets to throw from for most of the night and was only sacked once. They were also able to provide some, not a lot but some, roadway for the running backs. Probably their best game of the season considering the level of competition.
Special shoutout to Jauan Williams, a player many ‘Nole fans lamented throughout the year put in a really solid night at his first ever start at right tackle.
Overall it was a disappointing night for Florida State’s offense but their were some good spots to build upon.