Brandon Wimbush threw three-first half touchdown passes, Dexter Williams ran for a career-high 202 yards and No. 3 Notre Dame took advantage of Florida State turnovers to rout Florida State 42-13 on a frosty Saturday night.
With the temperature at 27 degrees — the third-coldest game at Notre Dame Stadium since the 1980 season — the Irish (10-0, No. 3 CFP) wore green jerseys for the fourth time in Brian Kelly’s nine-year tenure at Notre Dame to honor their seniors.
Wimbush, who led the Irish to their first three victories, got the start in place of injured junior Ian Book, who suffered a rib injury last week against Northwestern.
Wimbush finished 12 of 25 for 130 yards with the scoring passes to fellow seniors — a 3-yarder to wide receiver Miles Boykin and 6- and 15-yard tosses to tight end Alize Mack.
Williams, who sat out the first four games of his senior season because of a university-imposed suspension, piled up the 202 yards on 20 carries, including TD runs of 58 and 32 yards, as Notre Dame outgained Florida State, 495-322, including 365 on the ground.
Wimbush, however, did throw a pair of second-half interceptions that allowed coach Willie Taggart’s Seminoles (4-6) to stay around after the Irish had taken a 32-6 halftime lead.
Cam Akers had two touchdown runs for Florida State, his second on a 7-yard run following Stanford Samuels’ interception early in the third quarter.
But Notre Dame’s defense denied points after Dontavious Jackson’s third-quarter theft when senior Drue Tranquill and junior Khalid Kareem made stops after the Seminoles had reached the Irish 1. On fourth down, quarterback Deondre Francois (23-47, 216 yards) threw incomplete.
The Seminoles, who practiced in summer-like conditions in Tallahassee before flying into wintry South Bend, saw Francois’ second pass of the game intercepted by senior Nick Coleman and Akers’ fumble recovered by junior Daelin Hayes. The Irish converted them into 10 points while taking a 17-0 first-quarter lead.
Florida State: The Seminoles were their own worst enemy in the first half, surrendering 10 points after a pair of turnovers in the first quarter and another two points on Julian Love’s return of a blocked conversion attempt in the second quarter. FSU’s defense, which entered the game allowing just 111.1 yards per game (17th nationally), surrendered 141 yards in the first 30 minutes, 58 on Williams’ touchdown run.
Notre Dame: Notre Dame’s tall senior receivers dominated the banged-up Florida State secondary with three acrobatic TD catches in the first half. First, the 6-foot-4 Boykin outleaped his defender on a nicely thrown Wimbush pass. Later, the 6-foot-4¾ Mack kept one foot inbounds to give the Irish a 14-0 lead and then outleaped an FSU defender for a 15-yard TD in the second quarter that sent the Irish in at halftime up 32-6.
Florida State: Saturday at home against No. 17 Boston College.
Notre Dame: Saturday at Yankee Stadium as the home team against No. 13 Syracuse.
Source: The Associated Press