College Football – (5) Notre Dame Look for Big-Stage Win Against (2) FSU

College Football – (5) Notre Dame Look for Big-Stage Win Against (2) FSU

John BensonNo comments

(5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at (2) Florida State Seminoles (-11.5)

Tonight’s game between No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0, 1-0 away) and No. 2 Florida State (6-0, 3-0 home) has been circled on both team’s calendars since the start of the season. Coming into the game, both teams are undefeated but lacking a bit of respect. Saturday’s game represents a huge opportunity to earn legitimacy.

For Florida State, the media frenzy surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston has been nonstop. The latest indications are that Winston will play, which is great news for a team looking to regain the top spot in the polls.

Though FSU won the National Championship last season and are undefeated this year, they found themselves bumped to No. 2 by Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Seminoles defensive back P.J. Williams said the team is desperate to prove the doubters wrong, and knows that a convincing win over a top five team just might do the trick.

Williams said, “Every week we look to do that, but when we’re playing a bigger team on a bigger stage, we definitely look to play a lot harder and show everybody that we are one of the best teams and we can definitely compete on that level. I definitely like having doubters.”

Then there’s Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have found themselves near the top of the polls in the last few years, and managed to reach the National Championship game in 2013. However, Brian Kelly’s team has not fared well in big games when the spotlights are shining brightest. The Irish will be looking to change their fortunes on Saturday against the defending champs.

However, coach Kelly knows that, if Winston plays, his defense will have its hands full.

“What stands out here is efficiency,” Kelly said. “Not turning the football over, minimizing any of the mistakes that they make. I think you have to look at yourself the same way. Not giving up big plays is important for us. Not forcing us in a situation where we make that big mistake.

“They’re waiting for you to make a mistake, and I think that’s where they’ve shown themselves to be very, very good, and Winston in particular, he’s waiting for you to make a mistake. We have to be on top of our game.”

Though the game has been taken off the board by several bookmakers (due to uncertainty surrounding Winston’s status), the Noles are 11.5 point favorites where the game remains in play.

For Notre Dame fans, taking the Irish and the points is an easy sell. For the rest of the nation, it’s a tough decision (especially given Notre Dame’s recent big-game struggles) but taking the Irish and the points is ultimately the better play.

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