Two of the most storied programs in college football met this weekend. The Florida State Seminoles and Notre Dame Fighting Irish squared off on Saturday night, and the ‘Noles had their three-game win streak against the Irish snapped when they fell, 42-13, thanks in part to senior running back Dexter Williams’ 202-yard night.
This matchup between storied programs dates back way before this year, though. The Irish may have almost four-times as many national titles, over 400 more wins, over twice as many All-Americans, about 230 more draft picks and 230 more weeks in the AP Poll, but Florida State has won six of the nine games in this series, including the win streak prior to Saturday’s loss.
Saturday was their first meeting since 2014 when both teams were ranked in the top five and the Seminoles won, 31-27. Florida State has won the last three games dating back to 2003. The last time Notre Dame beat the ‘Noles was in 2002 when the Irish finished with 10 wins.
The Seminoles have been lucky when they have played the Irish, rarely getting them during a season when they are at their best. They have only won eight games during the last two seasons they met up, 2011 and 2014, and only five in 2003.
It is the opposite for Notre Dame until this season’s rout. They had played Florida State on years they have been extremely successful. Of the eight seasons when these teams have played, 1981 is the only season when the ‘Noles didn’t win at least nine games.
This will be a look-back at the last two times these teams have played since they have only played twice in the past 15 years.
2014: Florida State 31, Notre Dame 27
Led by Jameis Winston and Rashad Greene, the Seminoles came back from a seven-point halftime deficit to beat the Irish. Winston finished with 273 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 23-of-31 passing. Greene had a game-high 108 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. The run game struggled though with Karlos Williams leading with 25 yards on eight carries. He did score two touchdowns though. Dalvin Cook added 20 yards on 12 carries.
The Notre Dame offense put up pretty good numbers on offense. Everett Golson, a season before transferring to Florida State, threw 51 passes and completed 31. He finished with 313 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Tarean Folston had 120 yards on 21 carries and Corey Robinson had 99 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions.
Williams scored his second touchdown of the game about halfway through the fourth quarter to take the lead and would be the difference in the game. FSU ended up outscoring the Irish 21-10 in the second half to earn the win.
2011: Florida State 18, Notre Dame 14
After falling behind 14-0 four minutes into the second half, the ‘Noles scored 18 consecutive points to win the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl. They were led by a solid performance by EJ Manuel with 249 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-31 passing. As a team, there wasn’t much success on the ground with only 41 yards on 29 carries. That number looks much worse than it should because of -20 yards from Manuel. But they were led on the ground by Devonta Freeman with 48 yards on 13 carries. Greene was the leading receiver with 99 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
In both of these match-ups, they were able to pull out wins even without a solid run game, something they have gone without this season. But they also had some solid QB play in these games and good defense. In the last two games this season, they have allowed a combined 106 points.
The tables turned in South Bend on Saturday night, as Notre Dame cruised to an easy win to put Florida State on the verge of missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981.