The Daily Nole

5-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Holds Off Notre Dame in Top-5 Showdown on Negated TD

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Fresh off its first national championship in 14 years, Florida State was expected to again be a force to be reckoned with in 2014. The Seminoles still were as they won their first 13 games, a third straight ACC title and reached the first College Football Playoff, but the number of nail-biters played that season was a bit alarming.

Perhaps the most thrilling of several thrillers that season came on this day five years ago. The Seminoles were 6-0, riding a 22-game winning streak and ranked No. 2 in the country as they welcomed fifth-ranked Notre Dame to Doak Campbell Stadium for a prime time showdown on Oct. 18, 2014. When the contest ended, a controversial offensive pass interference call was the difference as FSU prevailed, 31-27.

The contest had been tied three times, but the Seminoles never held a lead until the fourth quarter. An 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston to Travis Rudolph served as the only touchdown of the first half for FSU as it trailed 17-10 at halftime.

The Seminoles didn’t waste much time drawing even as Winston found Rashad Greene, who finished with eight catches for a game-high 108 yards, for a 10-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Notre Dame and future FSU quarterback Everett Golson would put the Fighting Irish back in front with a 11-yard touchdown pass — Golson’s third of the night — to William Fuller on the ensuring drive. FSU answered with a 7-play, 75-yard touchdown march, capped with Karlos Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run to even the game at 24 after three quarters.

After Kyle Brindza’s 46-yard field goal with less than 12 minutes to go gave Notre Dame its final lead of the night, the Seminoles scored their third touchdown in four second-half drives. After Winston’s 15-yard completion to Rashad Greene on third down set up FSU with goal to go, Williams’ second rushing touchdown of the night — this time from a yard out — put FSU in front 31-27 with less than eight minutes to play.

Notre Dame marched into FSU territory before stalling on the ensuing possession, but was able to pin the Seminoles deep and force a 3-and-out. With less than three minutes to go, the Fighting Irish began the decisive drive just on the FSU side of midfield.

It looked as though the FSU defense would stymie the Notre Dame offense. After a pass play went for negative yardage, FSU linebacker Terrance Smith sacked Golson to set up a 4th-and-18. With the game hanging in the balance, Golson was able to extend the fourth down play with his legs before finding Corey Robinson for 20 yards to keep the Fighting Irish alive.

Golson would pass for a first down and rush for another on the drive to set Notre Dame up at with a first down at the FSU 8-yard-line. Following a pass for no game and an incompletion, Golson found C.J. Prosise for six yards down to the 2-yard-line as the Fighting Irish again faced fourth down.

With 13 seconds left, Golson found Robinson for what appeared to be their third touchdown connection of the night, but a late flag came in. Notre Dame was flagged for pass interference pushing the ball back to the 17-yard-line. Down to its last play, Golson’s throw into the end zone was intercepted by FSU linebacker Jacob Pugh and the Seminoles prevailed.

Pugh had both interceptions for FSU on the evening while Smith led the defense with 11 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. The Florida State offense was held to 50 yards rushing on less than two yards per carry, but Winston passed for 273 yards, two scores and an interception. Golson passed for 313 yards and three touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.

Throughout the course of the 2014 season, FSU would win seven games by six points or less and complete four fourth-quarter comebacks. One of those came in a top-5 match-up and on this date five years ago.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at Mike@TheDailyNole.com.

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