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Countdown To Kickoff: Florida State

The Fighting Irish (8-4) look to earn bowl wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1991-93 seasons when they face Florida State (8-4) in the Champs Sports Bowl at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., Thursday afternoon. The game will kick off at 5:31 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally by ESPN (Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore and Holly Rowe).

This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools with Florida State holding a 4-2 advantage.

Here is Saturday’s Countdown to Kickoff:

10 – For the first time in 10 years, Notre Dame's defense has allowed fewer than 21 points per game in consecutive seasons.

9 – The Champs Sports Bowl marks the ninth postseason bowl game for the Irish in Florida - the most of any state. It is also a homecoming for nine scholarship players - tied with California and Ohio for the most on Notre Dame's roster.

8 – The Irish defense has alloed just eight rushing touchdowns (including only three by running backs) this season, which is tied for fifth in the NCAA behind Alabama, LSU, TCU and Utah.

7 – In the seven years the NCAA has published Graduation Success Rate (GSR) numbers, Notre Dame's football team has ranked in the top three every year. The Irish have graduated the highest percentage of football players each of the last three years.

6 – Senior wide receiver Michael Floyd owns six career or single-season Notre Dame receiving records: career receptions (266), yards (3,645), touchdowns (36), yards per game (86.8), and 100-yard games (17). He also owns the single-season school record for receptions (95).

5 – Notre Dame tallied over 500 yards of total offense five times this year. In the five seasons prior to 2011, the Irish recorded 500 yards in a game on just five occasions.

4 – The Irish are playing a fourth team from the ACC this year and will look to go 4-0 in those games with a win against Florida State, which would give the Irish four wins over teams from the same conference for the first time since 1993.

3 – Junior Cierre Wood and senior Jonas Gray are one of three running back tandems (along with Oregon and Oklahoma State) with at least nine rushing touchdowns apiece.

2 – Junior inside linebacker Manti Te'o was named a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Capital One Academic team.

1 – Notre Dame's defense ranks first in the nation in fewest points allowed in the third quarter this season. The 13 points allowed are the fewest permitted in any quarter by an Irish defense since 1982.

Enjoy the game and be sure check out BlueandGold.com afterward for complete post-game coverage.

Just The Stats, Please

A statistical look at today’s matchup.

Following is the statistical comparison between Florida State and Notre Dame. National rankings are in parenthesis out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

TEAM RANKINGS

Rushing Offense
Notre Dame: 166.00 (51)
Florida State: 118.08 (99)

Passing Offense
Notre Dame: 258.08 (33)
Florida State: 257.67 (34)

Total Offense
Notre Dame: 424.08 (34)
Florida State: 375.75 (73)

Scoring Offense
Notre Dame: 30.50 (42)
Florida State: 31.67 (35)

Sacks Allowed
Notre Dame: 1.08 (18)
Florida State: 3.00 (111)

Rushing Defense
Notre Dame: 147.08 (57)
Florida State: 81.83 (2)

Pass Defense
Notre Dame: 202.17 (33)
Florida State: 192.75 (19)

Pass Efficiency Defense
Notre Dame: 127.31.87 (48)
Florida State: 119.11 (32)

Total Defense
Notre Dame: 349.25 (34)
Florida State: 274.58 (6)

Scoring Defense
Notre Dame: 20.92 (29)
Florida State: 15.17 (4)

Sacks
Notre Dame: 1.67 (80)
Florida State: 3.00 (9)

Turnover Margin
Notre Dame: -1.08 (116)
Florida State: .17 (T-42)

TOP 50 INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS

NOTRE DAME
Rushing: Cierre Wood 86.83 (46)
Receptions Per Game: Michael Floyd 7.92 (9)
Receiving Yards Per Game: Floyd 92.17 (25)
Kickoff Returns: George Atkinson III 27.40 (15)
Tackles: Manti Te'o 9.58 (T-27)

FLORIDA STATE
Passing Efficiency: E.J. Manuel 151.01 (18)
Total Offense: Manuel 235.27 (47)
Punting: Shawn Powell 47.00 (1)
Punt Returns: Greg Reid 11.37 (17)
Field Goals: Dustin Hopkins 1.67 (T-8)
Scoring: Hopkins 8.67 (22)
Sacks: Brandon Jenkins .58 (T-41)

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