Notre Dame running back Tarean Folston all business back in Florida

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Tarean Folston was as serious about his semantics as his running last week.

“Friends?” the Notre Dame sophomore running back said when asked about familiar faces from his past on the Florida State roster.

“Not friends. Not this week. But I know a couple of people on their team, and a couple of them know me.”

One of eight Floridians on the Irish roster, Folston was a constant and central figure Saturday night in fifth-ranked Notre Dame’s resurgent running game in the first half of its showdown with No. 2 Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium.

The Irish held a 115-19 edge in rushing yards in taking a 17-10 halftime led, with Folston accounting for 78 on 14 carries. He was the workhorse on ND’s first scoring drive of the game, a 12-play, 84-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard pass from Everett Golson to Corey Robinson.

Folston had 45 yards in that drive as the Irish ran the ball nine of the 12 plays.

“(Coach Brian Kelly) pretty much wanted me to continue to work harder, say stuff when needed, step up and be more of a vocal leader,” said Folston, who has dominated the carries in a three-man running back rotation the past two games.

“I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot more lately.”

He had extra incentive to do so Saturday night in Tallahassee against a school that tried very hard to recruit him.

Folston’s mother and grandmother got to see him play for Notre Dame in person for the first time, making the 4 1/2-hour trip from Cocoa, Fla., on the Atlantic Coast.

“It means a lot and makes me feel good,” Folston said of his mom being able to see him. “I’m playing in front of my family and playing for my family.”

Personnel matters

Typically, 6-foot, 215-pound freshman Montgomery VanGorder, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s son, serves as the scout team quarterback to prepare the Irish defense for an upcoming game.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly opted this week instead to use freshman third-string quarterback DeShone Kizer to imitate FSU’s 6-4, 235-pound starting QB, Jameis Winston.

“I think everybody was really pleased with what he was able to do," Kelly said of the 6-5, 220-pound Kizer. “We also put some of our freshman receivers down there that had been up with us to give them even more of what we consider that type of speed.

“Justin Brent was down there. Corey Holmes was down there, and I thought our defense was very pleased, our staff was in terms of the looks they were getting.

• Sophomore offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, who battled for a starting spot through spring and into fall camp, is apparently surging again.

“McGlinchey’s right there,” Kelly said of his battle to overtake grad student Christian Lombard. “I’ve got to make a decision to sit down a senior. That’s a big decision. We like Christian a lot. He’s been very valuable to our program. McGlinchey’s pushing him. That’s a battle over there.”

• Notre Dame reserve outside linebacker Ben Councell didn’t make the trip because of an injury. Councell has played sparingly this season.

• Holder Hunter Smith, who had trouble with two holds that led to missed Kyle Brindza field goals Oct. 4 against Stanford, made a nifty save on a low snap in the second quarter Saturday that Brindza was able to convert on ND’s second PAT of the game.

• Fourteen freshmen made the travel roster for the season's first true road game. The list comprises Kizer, wide receivers Justin Brent and Corey Holmes, cornerback Nick Watkins, linebackers Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini, safety Drue Tranquill, punter/holder Tyler Newsome and six defensive linemen — Daniel Cage, Jay Hayes, Jhonny Williams, Andrew Trumbetti, Grant Blankenship and Kolin Hill.

Taking the sixth?

Austin Collinsworth accompanied his team to Tallahassee, walked out to midfield with the other ND captains for the pregame coin flip and then became a cheerleader for the rest of the night.

The grad student safety must eventually decide if that’s the role he wants to play for the rest of the season and petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility or try to come back from a torn labrum in his left shoulder and perhaps play in one more regular-season game and a bowl game and call it a career.

Collinsworth suffered the injury Oct. 11 in a win over North Carolina, his only start and second game action of the season. He missed ND’s first four games with a knee injury.

An injury to the same shoulder in 2012 combined with a back injury later in the season wiped out that entire year for Collinsworth.

“We’re going to accommodate whatever he wants to do at this point,” Kelly said of the decision whether to finish in 2014 or try to come back for 2015 instead.

“He means a lot to us. He’s a great captain. But I think all those things are on the table, because he has been interrupted twice, so he does fit that criteria. We’re not going to assume anything, and I don’t think he’s ready to make any of those decisions right now.

“I think we’re going to take another week or so. He’s going to take the bye week, talk to his family, spend some time and think about it, then I think he’ll be ready to make a decision as to what he wants to do.

Bye week plans

Unlike with ND’s first bye week of the season in September, Kelly said he’ll give his team some extended time off during the second, which happens to coincided with the school’s fall break.

“We're going to look at Navy on Monday and Tuesday, and then we're getting them out of here,” Kelly said. “We stayed the first bye week here. We did not let them leave with the expressed purpose to get them out of here on the second bye. “

The team will report back Saturday, Oct. 25, and next face Navy in Landover, Md. on Nov. 1.

That’s the ticket

The most expensive ticket in college football’s secondary ticket market was not Saturday’s game between No. 2 Florida State and No. 5 Notre Dame at Doak Campbell Stadium, but rather Tennessee at No. 3 Ole Miss, per TiqIQ.

The average price for an ND-FSU ticket was $255.81 compared to $289.22 for the Rebels’ SEC home game.

Midseason All-America

Senior tight end Ben Koyack entered Saturday night’s game with a respectable 16 receptions for 150 yards and one very big touchdown reception in the final 61 seconds of ND’s 17-14 win over Stanford on Oct. 4.

And that was enough to lift him into a first-team berth on SI.com’s mid-season All-America team, released earlier in the week.

Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith was a second-team selection.

Florida State had five selections. Offensive guard Jose Matias and kicker Robert Aguayo were first-teamers. Wide receiver Rashad Greene, tight end Nick O’Leary and offensive guard Tre’ Jackson made the second team.

ehansen@ndinsider.com

574-235-6112

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Notre Dame's Tarean Folston played in his home state for the first time since arriving at ND. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)