It wasn’t the prettiest victory.
Nor was it easy.
But Notre Dame got the job done in a 41-38 overtime victory over Florida State on Sunday night.
The No. 9 ranked Irish (1-0) squandered an 18-point halftime lead before Jonathan Doerer saved them with a 41-yard field goal in the first overtime. Florida State’s Ryan Fitzgerald, who made a 43-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, missed a 38-yard field goal that would’ve given FSU the lead in the first overtime.
The Irish had to battle the heat and humidity and a tribute to beloved Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who died on August 8.
Those elements, plus a shaky defense, made it an interesting evening. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said it was just good to get a season opening win in the books.
“It was a hard fought victory,” he said. “Florida State played tremendous.”
Notre Dame had to deal with the quarterback duo of Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton.
Milton, a transfer from the University of Central Florida, didn’t get in the game until the second to last offensive series of regulation for FSU.
He came in because Travis had to leave the field for at least one play after his helmet came off. Travis never got back in the game.
McKenzie finished 5 for 7 passing for 49 yards. He was the quarterback for the last 10 points that FSU scored.
Travis was effective, finishing 9 for 19 passing for 130 yards with two touchdown passes. He also ran for 76-yards and a TD.
Kelly said the two quarterbacks made it a challenge for his team.
“You know, having Jordan Travis in there, it was very difficult to defend,” Kelly said. “But you know, we found a way to win a very difficult opener on the road. I think the most important thing here is going on the road and winning the opener against a team that presented a lot of challenges. We found a way to win this game. We know we have a lot of work to do but I like this team. We will make improvements and get better in week two.”
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