Winston, FSU Beat the Irish: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
There was no crying on the Florida State side after this game. There was a last second penalty to cause some controversy, but in the end, the Seminoles came from behind to beat Notre Dame, 31-27. The 23-game win streak is still intact and for FSU, the road to a national title playoff is still on the right highway.
But, there were some flaws along the way.
Jameis Winston threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns and led No. 2 Florida State on a second-half comeback to hold off No. 5 Notre Dame, 31-27.
The Irish nearly pulled off the upset, moving to the 2-yard line in the game's final moments. Everett Golson threw a touchdown pass to Corey Robinson with 13 seconds remaining, according to the Associated Press and ESPN.com.
But Notre Dame was called for pass interference when a receiver blocked the defender responsible for Robinson, and the touchdown was erased.
The Irish moved back to fourth and goal from the 18-yard line. Linebacker Jacob Pugh picked off the desperation pass in the back of the end zone.
Golson threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but Winston won the duel in the second half as he completed his first 13 passes against a defense that had Florida State flustered for the first 30 minutes. Running back Tarean Folston ran for 120 yards on 21 carries.
"This team has heart, it has soul, it's a family," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said after the game. "It believes in each other, it sticks together and there's something special in this group of guys."
The Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 ACC) trailed 17-10 at halftime with their season on the line. Notre Dame (6-1) is the last ranked team FSU's schedule and the win may be its last chance to make a decisive impression on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Here are the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of this game.
THE GOOD – BOTH TEAMS CAME TO PLAY
In many games like this where the hype is huge and implications are bigger than the game, the turnout is usually uneventful.
This game lived up to the hype.
Saturday's matchup featured two quarterbacks who had never lost a regular season game. Jameis Winston is now 20-0 as a starter while Everett Golson is 16-2, with the only other loss coming in the BCS Championship Game. Those two winning percentages are the best among active FBS quarterbacks with at least ten starts.
It also means that for the 23rd straight game, the Noles have come away with a win.
THE BAD – THE STATS DON’T LIE
Notre Dame had 470 yards in total offense and Everette Golston threw for 313 yards and three scores. He also threw two interceptions.
This is the 4th time this season Florida State has allowed 400 yards in a game. Last season, it allowed 400 yards just once all season (BCS Championship Game vs Auburn).
Notre Dame outgained Florida State by 147 yards, the worst yardage margin for Florida State in any game under Jimbo Fisher (since 2010). Losing the yardage game is generally not a recipe for success, but they're actually 3-2 under Fisher when getting outgained by at least 100 yards.
THE UGLY – SOMEONE HAD TO LOSE
This is a game you could look at – even as a huge Noles fan that I am – and be happy with the game that was played much like a prize fight. FSU took everything the Irish had and withstood a last minute flourish.
The loss of defensive leaders, the departure of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and injuries to some defensive starters (DT Nile Lawrence-Stample) has resulted in an overall decline in Florida State's defensive efficiency this season.
The 10 points ties the fewest Florida State has scored at halftime when Jameis Winston started (also in BCS Championship Game last season).