With the first week of the college football season rolling into Sunday night, No. 9 Notre Dame facing Florida State turned out to be the best game of the weekend.
It had an epic, magical comeback (by FSU QB McKenzie Milton) and another near-comeback as the Seminoles trailed by 18 at the end of the third quarter. Milton led FSU’s scoring drive to tie the game and cap an 18-point fourth quarter. That comeback would ultimately fall short as Notre Dame won in overtime.
The game featured some wild numbers:
1,017: That’s the number of days since Milton last played in a football game. Milton was a star at UCF and led the Knights to a perfect season in 2017 before suffering a devastating leg injury that nearly cost him his right leg. Nearly three years later, Milton completed 5 of 7 passes for 48 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.
366: That’s the number of passing yards for Irish QB Jack Coan. That’s the most by a Notre Dame QB in a season opener. The previous record was 346 yards by Tommy Rees in 2013. Coan is the first Irish QB to have 300 yards and four touchdowns since Jimmy Clausen in 2009.
Irish third quarter: Coan did damage with the deep passes with three of his TDs coming from 23 or more yards. In the third quarter, Coan was 8-for-8 for 175 yards and two touchdowns as Notre Dame built its big lead. Overall, Coan was 7-for-11 for 184 yards on passes 10 or more yards downfield.
264: That’s the number of rushing yards for FSU. It’s the first time the Noles had 250 rushing yards against a top-10 opponent since 2012.
16-2: That’s FSU’s record when scoring 38 or more points against a top-10 opponent. The only other loss came in 1971.
2,470-3: That’s the record of ranked teams when leading by 18 or more points in the fourth quarter from 2004 to ’20. FSU had four 18-point comeback wins over the past 15 seasons but did not add to that mark. Over that same timespan, Notre Dame is now 68-0 when leading by 18 or more in the fourth quarter.
1996: This was Notre Dame’s first overtime road win. The overtime rule changes were introduced in 1996.
Social media reaction
IRISH WIN ☘️☘️☘️
An absolute thriller in Tallahassee. pic.twitter.com/1dGbt8pvV6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 6, 2021
— Travis Johnson (@trapj99) September 6, 2021
38 points allowed to Florida State is laughable tho. Sheesh.
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) September 6, 2021
McKenzie Milton came back from a gruesome leg injury that kept him out since 2018 and erased a Notre Dame double digit lead in the 4th quarter to force overtime. It wasn’t meant to be tonight for the Seminoles but what an inspirational story Milton is telling.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 6, 2021
Wow the Hail Mary’s were being said all over the @NotreDame campus / the Rosary beads were out & the Irish win 41-38 over the gutty @FSUFootball team . Yes leading 38-20 after 3 quarters it would have been a devastating opening game loss but the bottom line ND 1-0
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) September 6, 2021
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) September 6, 2021
Research from ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.