Night game. Energized crowd. Top-10 opponent. Honoring a legend. McKenzie Milton’s return.
Florida State was competitive and very fun to watch, despite a trio of turnovers that were tough to overcome. And in the end they were for the Seminoles, who showed fight to the finish despite adversity early and late.
Jonathan Doerer made a 41-yard field goal attempt in overtime as No. 9 Notre Dame escaped with a 41-38 win after Florida State rallied from an 18-point deficit to tie the game in regulation.
Ryan Fitzgerald’s 37-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left to begin overtime, allowing Notre Dame to run a few plays and set up Doerer’s kick.
Jack Coan completed 26 of 35 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns in his debut as Notre Dame’s quarterback. Coan tossed touchdown passes to Michael Mayer, Kyren Williams, Kevin Austin and Joe Wilkins for Notre Dame (1-0).
The Seminoles rallied from an 18-point deficit to score on three straight drives, including two where McKenzie Milton was featured prominently. Notre Dame led 38-20 with 4:37 to go in the third quarter, but Florida State engineered two touchdown drives and added a late field goal.
Jordan Travis connected with Andrew Parchment on an 8-yard touchdown with 13:42 to go, and Treshaun Ward had a 2-yard TD run with 5:36 left. Fitzgerald then connected on a 43-yard field-goal attempt to tie the game at 38 with 40 seconds to go.
Milton entered the game when Jordan Travis’ helmet popped off, and the UCF grad transfer quarterback fired a 22-yard strike to Ja’Khi Douglas — his first college pass since suffering a gruesome leg injury in Nov. 2018. Ward scored the touchdown on the drive in which Milton entered the game.
After sitting for all three quarters, Milton was a huge spark and finished 5 of 7 for 48 yards with three rushes for six yards.
“It was time to roll,” Milton said. “I didn’t have time to process any emotions. A job had to be done. God is real. That’s the one thing I can say. Nobody’s ever come back from an injury like this. Thousands of people praying for me from the moment I got hurt. Coaches believing in me. I’m not here without all the support, all the prayers.”
Florida State (0-1) has lost five straight season openers.
Jashaun Corbin had an 89-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put FSU on the board. That total surpassed Corbin’s best game from 2020, which was 77 yards at NC State. Corbin had 15 rushes for 144 yards. Corbin’s touchdown was the longest for a Seminole since Dalvin Cook broke off a 94-yard score at Wake Forest in 2015.
Removing Corbin’s chunk play, the Seminoles only had 18 rushing yards on the other 15 carries in the first half. But the Seminoles finished quite well, accumulating 264 rushing yards on 48 carries (5.5 yards per carry). Treshaun Ward had a career-best 76 rushing yards.
Travis was under constant pressure as FSU’s pass protection could not hold up against Notre Dame. He tossed three interceptions on FSU’s side of the field of the field, all of which resulted in short fields that the Fighting Irish capitalized on for touchdowns. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton had two interceptions, including one where he ranged from the far hash to the FSU sideline.
Travis was 9 of 19 for 130 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Keyshawn Helton caught four passes for 53 yards.
Jermaine Johnson was impactful coming off the edge, bringing heat on Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan. Johnson had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. Robert Cooper shared a sack with Johnson.
Kalen DeLoach led the Seminoles with eight tackles, including four solo tackles. DeLoach was making his first career start on Sunday.
D.J. Lundy had four tackles in his first FSU start.
Travis Jay had an interception, picking off Coan on a Hail Mary late in the game.
Quashon Fuller had tackles for loss on consecutive plays in the second half.
Notre Dame accumulated 431 yards but just 65 on the ground. Florida State’s rush defense had a major bounce back from its 2020 performance vs. the Fighting Irish as well as last season in general.
FSU held Notre Dame to just 2 of 9 on third-down plays in the first half. Notre Dame finished 6 of 17 on third downs.
Notre Dame ended up scoring on three drives — late in the second quarter and twice in the third quarter — off short fields. But Florida State also forced some late punts in the fourth quarter to put the Seminoles in position to win.
Alex Mastromanno had a 53-yard punt among his four first-half punts.
Ryan Fitzgerald connected on a 43-yard field-goal attempt to tie the game at 38 with 40 seconds to go but missed the 37-yarder in overtime.
Honoring coach Bowden
A crowd of 68,316 honored coach Bobby Bowden just moments before kickoff and with a touching rendition of “Amazing Grace” that was performed by FSU’s Marching Chiefs.