Florida State takes a 4-2 series lead over Notre Dame and moves to 2-1 all-time at Notre Dame Stadium. The 37-point margin is the largest for either team in the series.
Florida State earns its first win at Notre Dame Stadium since Oct. 10, 1981, when the 20th-ranked Seminoles rallied for a 19-13 win over the Irish (also the last time an ACC team won in South Bend).
FSU logs the fifth career win for the ACC in 33 games at Notre Dame Stadium. Besides the Seminoles' other series win in South Bend (1981), Georgia Tech has two wins at Notre Dame Stadium (1942, 1959) and Clemson has the other (1979).
Notre Dame drops its third consecutive home game, the first time that has happened since Oct. 6-20, 1984, when the Irish fell to #14 Miami (31-13), Air Force (21-7) and #11 South Carolina (36-32) in successive weeks at Notre Dame Stadium. It also marks the seventh time in school history that Notre Dame has lost three home games in one season (others were 1933, 1956, 1963, 1983, 1984 and 1986).
The Irish lose for the first time ever in 15 career games on November 1, falling to 13-1-1 (.900) on All Saints' Day. The only other blemish is a 0-0 tie with Army in 1946.
Florida State drew first blood on a 40-yard field goal by Xavier Beitia in the first quarter. It marked the sixth time in eight Notre Dame games this season that the opposition scored first (ND scored first at Pittsburgh and Boston College).
The 51-yard completion from FSU QB Chris Rix to WR Craphonso Thorpe in the first quarter was the longest pass play of the season by a Notre Dame opponent. The previous long was a 38-yard completion, which had been achieved twice before (including today's first possession between Rix and Thorpe).
Florida State's B.J. Ward blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt by Notre Dame's D.J. Fitzpatrick in the first quarter. It was the first blocked field goal by an Irish opponent since Nov. 9, 2002, when Navy blocked a 53-yard attempt by Nicholas Setta.
Notre Dame is shut out at home for the first time since Sept. 9, 1978, when Missouri blanked the Irish, 3-0. That covers a span of 150 games between opponent shutouts. Today's game also marks the second-worst home shutout in school history, topped only by a 40-0 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 27, 1956.
Notre Dame is shut out for the second time this season, the first time the Irish have been blanked twice in one season since 1960, when Michigan State won 21-0 on Oct. 15 and Iowa won 28-0 on Nov. 19.
The Irish came up with three interceptions today, the most thefts they have had in one game since Oct. 5, 2002, when Notre Dame had three interceptions vs. Stanford. The Irish now have 16 takeaways this season (10 FUM, 6 INT) and now have recorded three-or-more takeaways in 18 of their last 32 games.
Senior LB (and Butkus Award semifinalist) Courtney Watson registered a team-high 12 tackles today, the sixth time in seven games this season he has logged a double-digit tackle total. Watson also had three tackles for loss this afternoon after carding five TFL in his first six games this season.
Senior CB Vontez Duff came up with a 55-yard interception return for the Irish in the first quarter, the first interception for Notre Dame since Sept. 20 vs. Michigan State (a span of four games). It also was the longest interception return for the Irish since Courtney Watson's 60-yard runback at USC on Nov. 30, 2002.
With 76 yards on 18 carries today, senior RB Julius Jones has moved into sixth place on Notre Dame's career rushing list with 2,364 yards, passing Randy Kinder, who had 2,295 yards from 1993-96, and George Gipp, who ran for 2,341 yards from 1917-20.
With four kick returns (punts/kickoffs combined) today, senior KR Vontez Duff now has 107 career total kick returns, moving him past Tim Brown (105 from 1984-87) for second place on Notre Dame's career list. Duff's teammate, senior Julius Jones is first on that chart with 110 career total kick returns.
Freshman DE Victor Abiamiri made his second start of the season this afternoon. Abiamiri also started back on Sept. 20 vs. Michigan State. Abiamiri is just the second freshman to start on the Notre Dame defensive line since 1991, following Anthony Weaver, who started against Georgia Tech in the 1999 Gator Bowl.
Florida State WR Craphonso Thorpe caught seven passes for 217 yards today, the most ever by a Notre Dame opponent. The previous record was 200 yards (on 14 catches) by USC's John Jackson on Oct. 21, 1989.
Florida State DB Leroy Smith returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It's the longest interception return by an Irish opponent since at least 1980 (records are incomplete prior to that time). The Notre Dame opponent record for the longest interception return is 100 yards by Jeff Ford of Georgia Tech on Nov. 15, 1969.
For the second consecutive season, and just the third time in the 115-year history of Notre Dame football, the Irish are selecting captains on a game-by-game basis. Today's Irish captains were: CB Vontez Duff, WR Omar Jenkins, OT Jim Molinaro and LB Courtney Watson. Molinaro served as a game captain for the fifth time this season, while Duff, Jenkins and Watson all were game captains for the fourth time in 2003. Watson now has been a captain seven times in his career, while Duff has earned that honor six times. Molinaro is a five-time captain, while Jenkins has served in that role four times in his career.
Notre Dame won the toss and deferred its choice to the second half. Florida State elected to receive, while the Irish chose to defend the South goal.
Today's game marks the 171st consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 at the old 59,075 capacity). The Florida State game also represents the 219th home sellout in the last 220 games (dating back to 1964), the 158th sellout in the last 181 games and the 22nd consecutive sellout involving Notre Dame. That stretch includes the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in '99, the first five in '00, the first nine in '01, all 13 in '02 and the first eight in '03.
Counting postseason play, Notre Dame has now had its last 132 games televised on one of four networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN), a stretch going back more than 10 full seasons (1993-2002). The last time the Irish didn't appear on one of those four networks was on Oct. 31, 1992, when they defeated Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium. That game was only shown locally in South Bend on WNDU-TV.