• No. 3 Notre Dame renews rivalry with Florida State

    By: The Associated Press

    Updated:

    Florida State (4-5) at No. 3 Notre Dame (9-0, No. 3 CFP), 7:30 p.m. EST (NBC).

    Line: Notre Dame by 16½.

    Series record: Florida State leads series, 6-2.

    WHAT'S AT STAKE?

    Notre Dame's national championship playoff aspirations will be decided during this three-week stretch starting with the Seminoles, who are struggling in coach Willie Taggart's first year in Tallahassee. The Fighting Irish were 1-2 last November after reaching No. 3 in the rankings and are 18-14 in their previous eight Novembers under coach Brian Kelly.

    KEY MATCHUP

    Reconstructed Irish offensive line anchored by grad center Sam Mustipher vs. Seminoles defense led by junior end Brian Burns. Though averaging 181 yards rushing (53rd nationally) per game, the Irish have been inconsistent of late on the ground. They had 80 yards against Pittsburgh, a season-high 254 against Navy and then 121 against Northwestern. Burns (13.5 tackles for loss) and Co. are surrendering 2.84 yards per rush (sixth nationally).

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Florida State: QBs Deondre Francois and James Blackman. Francois has completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,039 yards and 13 TDs but sat out last week's 47-28 loss at N.C. State with an injury. Blackman threw for 421 yards and four TDs in his place.

    Notre Dame: QB Brandon Wimbush. The Irish have to go back to their previous starting quarterback with Ian Book nursing an injury. Wimbush is a senior with plenty of experience, but he's a 50-percent career passer. He is an effective runner.

    FACTS & FIGURES

    Six of the eight games in the series have been decided by seven points or less. . FSU's 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman receiver Tamorrion Terry ranks fourth nationally in yards per catch (21.96). . LB Te'von Coney and RB Dexter Williams are two of the 11 players from Florida on Notre Dame's roster. . The Seminoles, who have prepared in sunny and warm (70s and 80s) weather, are expected to de-plane Friday in snowy conditions, with Saturday's game-time temperatures forecast to be in the low-to-mid 20s.

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