Recap: Florida State vs. Notre Dame
Tallahassee, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Controversy continues to surround Jameis Winston, but so does winning big games.
Winston got on a blistering hot streak in the second half and Florida State's defense hung on for dear life in the closing seconds.
It was the second-ranked Seminoles' closest call yet during their 23-game winning streak.
Winston completed 13 straight passes at one point in the second half and was 15-of-16 after intermission as Florida State knocked off No. 5 Notre Dame, 31-27, in a nail-biting thriller on Saturday night.
"He has a drive for greatness," Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher said of Winston.
Karlos Williams ran for the go-ahead 1-yard score with 7:39 left in the fourth quarter and Notre Dame (6-1) had one final gasp with 2:53 to go and the ball at the Florida State (7-0) 49.
Everett Golson kept a 4th-and-18 play alive by scrambling to his right before finding a wide-open and lurking Corey Robinson at the FSU 37 for a gain of 20 yards.
Golson hit Will Fuller for a gain of 17 on a back-shoulder throw to put the ball at the 20 and his 12-yard scramble up the middle set up a 1st-and-goal at the 8.
Jalen Ramsey kept C.J. Prosise out of the end zone on 3rd-and-goal after tackling him at the 2 on a quick slant following a 6-yard gain. Golson then rolled to his right and found a wide open Robinson in the end zone for an apparent go-ahead touchdown, but Prosise was called for offensive pass interference to negate the score.
"He did exactly what he's supposed to do," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of Prosise blocking Ramsey.
Golson's 4th-and-goal throw from the 18 was nowhere near a Notre Dame receiver and Jacob Pugh intercepted the pass in the back of the end zone to preserve the win with six seconds remaining.
"I told my guys we were going to go down and score," Golson said. "We didn't do that."
Following another week of off-the-field issues for Winston, who finished 23- of-31 with two touchdowns and an interception, he threw for 181 of his 273 passing yards in the second half.
Florida State began an investigation into whether Winston received money for signing autographs this past week. This is on the heels of the school holding a future student code of conduct hearing for Winston stemming from a December 2012 accusation of sexual misconduct.
Rashad Greene had eight receptions for 108 yards and a score, Travis Rudolph caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown and Williams found the end zone twice on the ground for the Seminoles.
"The one thing that people need to realize about the Seminoles team is when we've got our backs against the wall, we always rise. We start playing harder," Winston said.
Golson, who dropped his first regular-season game with the Irish, was 31-of-52 for 313 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for Notre Dame, which lost its first game in school history against a team that was 6-0 or better (9-1-1).
Robinson hauled in eight passes for 99 yards and two scores, Fuller tallied eight receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown and Tarean Folston racked up 120 yards rushing on 21 carries in defeat.
Winston was 8-of-15 for 92 yards in the opening half, but did not record an incompletion in the third quarter.
Trailing 17-10 at the break, Winston fired a 10-yard slant pass to Greene for a score and cap a 9-play, 70-yard march. The Irish answered right back and Golson's 11-yard hookup to Fuller midway through the third put them back in front.
Williams' 2-yard TD plunge late in the third tied the game at 24-24.
Consecutive three-and-outs from each team followed and Kyle Brindza hooked through a 46-yard field goal just inside the right upright to give Notre Dame a 27-24 edge early in the fourth.
Winston fired his first incompletion in the second half with nearly 10 minutes left in the frame, but completed his next two passes. Rudolph brought in a slant for a 16-yard gain and Greene made a sliding grab along the left sideline to set up a 1st-and-goal from the 3. Williams powered in two plays later.
Kelly elected to punt on a 4th-and-8 on their ensuing touch at the FSU 39 with 5:22 left and got the ball back following a Seminoles three-and-out.
A pair of three and outs started the game before the Irish turned the ball over on downs when Golson mishandled a snap at the FSU 39. The Seminoles, though, went three-and-out again and Notre Dame responded with a methodical 6:43 march.
Cam McDaniel powered for three yards up the middle on a 4th-and-1 at the Seminoles' 31 and a Ronald Darby pass interference four plays later put the ball at the 3. Golson rolled left on 3rd-and-goal at the 1 and hit Robinson on a quick out, finishing off the 12-play, 84-yard drive.
Florida State answered quickly, needing just four plays to tie the score as Rudolph made Matthias Farley miss at the 3 before high stepping into the end zone to tie the score late in the first.
A pair of interceptions highlighted the following two series. Tyler Hunter came unblocked from the blind side and hit Golson as he threw and his wobbly pass was easily picked off by Pugh at the Seminoles' 19. Winston gave the ball back on the very next play, backpedaling before throwing later over the middle. Joe Schmidt made a leaping interception at the 31.
Chris Brown made a diving catch for a 22-yard gain to put the ball at the 9 and Robinson came down with a 9-yard score in the back left corner of the end zone to give Notre Dame a 14-7 lead with 12 minutes left in the second.
Roberto Aguayo and Brindza exchanged field goals of 28 and 34 yards, respectively, to close the half.Game Notes
The Seminoles and Irish have met eight times, with at least one team being
ranked in all eight meetings. FSU now leads the set 6-2 ... Notre Dame was
looking to improve to 7-0 for the 32nd time in school history ... FSU has won
its last eight games against ranked opponents.