Last year Florida State finished 3-6. At mid-season they lost to the Irish 42-26 as Kyren Williams ran wild for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. Head Coach Mike Norvell is now in to his second season with the Seminoles and seems to be looking for a quick rebuild via the transfer portal. In all 9 transfers joined FSU in the off-season.
Like Brian Kelly Norvell has brought in a transfer at the QB position. From 2016-2018 Mckenzie Milton led the University of Central Florida and was one of the better QBs in the nation until suffering a devastating knee injury. Now nearly 3 years and 9 surgeries later he is back but the QB situation is not settled. Last year Sophomore Jordan Travis played well against the Irish by throwing for 204 yards and a TD and running for 96 yards and another score. Both players are reportedly in contention to start against the Irish, and this week Brian Kelly reported the Irish were preparing for both.
Offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons, who was expected to by a top back up at ND this year, transferred after Spring practices and is a likely starter on a young Seminole offensive line.
Florida State is counting continued improvement in a running game that was decent last season and will be in the hands of Junior Jashaun Corbin who is a big back at 6-0 215 and Sophomore Lawrence Toafili who averaged 9.6 yards per carry of 37 attempts.
Gone at wide receiver is gamebreaker Tamorrion Terry who went for 146 yards and a touchdown on 9 catches against the Irish a year ago. This year’s top target to catch the football from either Milton or Travis will likely be 6-2 Kansas transfer Andrew Parchment. Also look for 6-4 early entry freshman Malik McClain to have an impact, particularly in the red zone.
After giving up 36 points per game a year ago, it would seem that the Seminoles have no where to go but up defensively. And just like on offense, FSU is going to lean heavily on transfers. Georgia Defensive end Jermanie Johnson II was a star in the Spring, and Keir Thomas, also at defensive end, is another transfer who started 32 games at South Carolina. Another South Carolina transfer is safety Jammie Robinson, and he is one of four total transfers brought in to shore up the secondary.
Last season Florida State was 85th nationally in scoring offense and 105th in scoring defense. Mike Norvall obviously has made the decision to go into the transfer portal to work a quick rebuild of this program with a proud history. The transfer factor alone makes it difficult to judge this team, particularly in game one. The guess is that it will take at least a few games for chemistry to develop.
Over/under in this game is 56, and the Irish are 7.5 point favorites.
The Fighting Irish Preview Pick: ND 30 Florida State 14