- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are three keys for Florida State against Notre Dame:
1. Find the offense. The O disappeared over the final three games of the regular season, and Florida State hasn’t helped itself on third downs or with penalties. The Seminoles are last in the country with 8.17 penalties per game, costing themselves 69.25 yards per game with a total of 98 penalties this season. Only four teams in the country have more total penalties. The Noles also need to be more successful on third downs. They converted just 2-of-15 against Florida, 3-of-13 against Virginia and 4-of-11 against Miami.
2. Get pressure on quarterback Tommy Rees and cover receiver Michael Floyd. If the defense can get in Rees' face, it will disrupt Floyd’s opportunities. Floyd has 1,106 receiving yards and a school-record 95 catches. FSU’s defense is one of the best in the country, but Notre Dame’s offensive line has been one of the best at protecting its quarterback. The Irish have allowed just 13 sacks all season.
3. Continue to highlight special teams. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and FSU has two of the nation’s best kickers in punter Shawn Powell and kicker Dustin Hopkins. Powell is averaging 47 yards per punt, a figure topped only twice in a season in ACC history. Powell leads the FBS in yards per punt, and the Noles are first in net punting as a team (42.04). Hopkins has 61 field goals and 320 points in his career.
2dAndrea Adelson and Matt Fortuna