This is the Stuff of Legends

If you read my blog in the off season, you’d know that I love college football and it’s history. I wrote about Games of the Centuries since I have been watching the game in my Saturdays Series and those posts are still up in my blog if anyone is interested.

This is the kind of stuff that got me interested in college football. In the NFL, teams can lose games and still make the playoffs and that system is fine. But, in college football, every game is hugely important. It’s imperative that you win if not every game, then to lose no more than 1 game if you have a desire to play for the national championship.

In the old days, there were more games between national and regional powerhouses because the schools only played 10 games. Then, it became 11 games and the powers that be with each schools started more an more scheduling cream puffs to pad your record. Now, it’s 12 games and the padding of schedules is at an all time high.

Back in the day, there were dozens of independent programs. Led by Notre Dame, schools like Florida State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Houston, Miami, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Georgia Tech were all independents. But, slowly but surely all of them joined conferences and the security involved with that.

All of them except for Notre Dame, who remains an independent.

 

Conferences like the SEC schedule weak out of conference opponents with the thought that they are the best and their conference schedule is tough enough.

Well, if you are so much better than anyone else, why does scheduling an opponent from the Pac 12 or the Big 12 discourage you? Why schedule a cream puff that none of your fans get excited about coming to the stadium to see?

 

In the old days, powerhouse teams played powerhouse teams during the season. It was fun and it was exciting.

Notre Dame has had to keep scheduling old rivals and anyone else that will agree to play them. They aren’t scared of anyone.

 

That brings us to Saturday night and the game between Notre Dame and Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Kudos to the Seminoles for agreeing to play the Irish.

 

This game was a lot of fun.

 

The hype leading into this game was unreal. Football guys and nerds like me were talking about the 1993 season when the Florida State Seminoles were ranked #1 and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were ranked #2.

This season they weren’t ranked quite so highly. The Seminoles were #1, but they haven’t been playing as well as expected so they were passed in the polls by the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels. The Fighting Irish weren’t ranked that highly as the season got going but worked their way down to about #5 or #6 depending on which poll you go by.

 

Folks either love or they hate Notre Dame. It’s kind of like the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys, you either love them or you hate them.

I tend to love Notre Dame because as a football fan I appreciate what they have done for college football and their history is like nobody else in college football. Plus, Joe Montana played there and he is a legend of the game.

I also admire and respect Florida State and the sort of product they have put on the field over the last 40 years or so.

 

This game was proud historical football program versus proud and talented program. On Saturday night there was a winner and a loser, just like in all college football games, but anyone that watched this game no matter which side they pulled for was a winner as well.

It’s games like these that made me fall in love with this sport as a kid and I am still in love to this day with this stuff. This is the stuff of legends.

 

Notre Dame scored first on a 1 yard pass from Quarterback Everett Golson to Corey Robinson. Robinson, of course, is the son of the Admiral David Robinson of San Antonio Spurs and NBA fame.

 

The Seminoles came right back and didn’t waste a lot of time doing it with a Touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to true freshman Wide Receiver Travis Rudolph in less than 2 minutes.

The Notre Dame defensive front kept steady pressure on Jameis Winston all night long. Irish Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder has worked as a coordinator on the college level and in the NFL and it showed clearly on Saturday. The Irish defense seemed to be ahead of the Seminoles at times.

Golson hit Wide Receiver Corey Robinson yet again on another Touchdown and Robinson had a big night. It pays off having 6-5 Wide Receivers on every level of football.

After the Seminoles drove and kicked a Field Goal with the nation’s best kicker, Roberto Aguayo, the Irish drove down to kick their own Field Goal to go into the locker room leading 17-10.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish dominated the first half on both sides of the ball. The Irish had 254 yards of offense in the first half and the Seminoles had 111.  The Seminoles ran for 19 yards in the first half and the Irish controlled the line of scrimmage. Jameis Winston was 8 out of 15 for 92 yards and 1 Touchdown and a pick in the first half.

The Seminoles must have had a nice half time speech, because after receiving the kickoff they drove it 70 yards for a Touchdown from Winston to All American Rashad Green. The game was tied at 17.

Winston went 7 for 7 on that drive inn spite of being in the grasp of a Notre Dame defender on one particular play.

The Irish were not to be denied and drove it right back down the field with Everett Golson making similar heroic efforts as Jameis Winston had just done.

Golson hit speedy wide out William Fuller a couple of times on this drive and Fuller did all of the work including an 11 yard Touchdown. William Fuller is about as good as any Wide Receiver in the country with speed to burn. He is a play maker and a difference maker.

Everett Golson tweaked his hamstring or something on this drive and had to leave the game momentarily. Sophomore Quarterback Malik Zaire from Kettering, Ohio is his backup and a very impressive player in the Spring Game.

Florida State had an answer for Notre Dame’s answer and drove it down the field very impressively with a Karlos Williams 2 yard Touchdown run capping it off. The game was now tied 24 all.

The long drive allowed Everett Golson enough time to get back on the field to lead the Irish, but the Seminole defense tightened up a bit.

By the early 4th quarter, the Irish kicked a Field Goal to go up again, 27-24.

 

The Seminoles didn’t take kindly to the Notre Dame Field Goal and drove it the length of the field and took the lead for the first time with a 1 yard run by Karlos Williams.  It was 31-27, with Florida State owning the lead.

Of course, a classic game should have a classic ending and so this one did. Notre Dame actually scored a Touchdown to win this game, but it was called back by a penalty.

When all the smoke cleared, the Florida State Seminoles walked away with a 31-27 win.

The Irish rushed for 157 yards and held the Seminoles to 50 yards total. Golson threw for 313 yards and Winston had 273 yards. The Irish also had 26 first downs to 18 by the Seminoles but all that matters is the scoreboard.

This game was fun and exciting and was one of the better games of the year so far. The Florida State Seminoles definitely did not hurt their chances to gain a playoff spot. Maybe, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still in it as well claiming that they actually outplayed the Seminoles.

A game like this is definitely the stuff of legends.

 

People will be talking about this game for years to come.

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