Notre Dame football: Final thoughts on a win over Florida State

Notre Dame football

After almost three weeks with no action, Notre Dame football took the field once again in South Bend on Saturday. The visiting team was the Florida State Seminoles, a competitor that was not new to the Irish. There were not many concerns whether this would be a close game, as Notre Dame had quite the advantage being ranked a top five team. The concern was how Notre Dame would handle being under the lights after a long break due to COVID-19 infections. Presumed to have a lot of potential this year, the Irish have only had two games before FSU to show their skills. Although both were wins, there were a lot of areas on the field that needed work.

Regarding the game yesterday, Notre Dame should be relieved it was an easy opportunity to adjust to playing in the stadium. For dealing with adversity and uncertainty, there was no doubt it would take an adjustment to ensure every player had the same mentality. The overall showing was not terrific, but there were some impressive plays. Ian Book looked better than before, the running game was relatively strong and the Irish kept the momentum into the second half. The Irish put up 42 points overall, compared to 26 points for the Seminoles.

The Irish should absolutely be focusing on steady improvement for future games. Notre Dame allowed too many penalties, missed throws and dropped passes. Florida State is not a ranked team. I am sure many Irish fans wanted to see a shutout, like the game against South Florida. There were too many mistakes that kept Florida State in the game.

The First Half

Off the bat, there was a fumble by Kyren Williams that allowed Florida State an early opportunity to score. Instances like this happen, but there is no doubt that Williams should know by now how to securely carry a ball. The Seminoles grabbed the lead early, which was not a look the Irish should be proud of.

The punt return unit contributed to Florida State gaining another few points early on. Lawrence Keys muffed a punt, allowing the Seminoles to take over and score again. Allowing FSU to stay in the game during the first half was one of Notre Dame’s biggest downfalls. The Irish need to learn how to initiate immediate dominance to ensure they stand their ground and have control of the game.

Irish Defense

Notre Dame’s defense was lacking this game. The Seminoles went for three fourth down conversions and were successful on every single attempt. This is something the Irish defense should have had locked down. Fourth down conversions can lay a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.

Overall, the Irish defense gave up 405 yards. For an offense that is lacking, this was simply too many yards to give. Sure, there are many possibilities that could be at fault for this occurrence. At the end of the day, it comes down to how well a team is able to perform under pressure.

Notre Dame football walked away on Saturday night with a win, but I am sure Brian Kelly has a list of improvements he is ready to work on in the coming week.

Photo by Erin Fennessy | The Observer