December 2, 2020

Florida State rallies to beat Notre Dame

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There were moments during the Champs Sports Bowl when Florida State and Notre Dame resembled the dominant programmes they were a decade ago.

There also were moments when it was clear that though both have made progress the past two years under their young, eager coaches, it’s not time to celebrate their returns just yet.

That sentiment was not lost on Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher after the No. 25 Seminoles rallied to beat the Irish 18-14 on Thursday night.

“This team has been through a lot,” Fisher said. “We’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations with injuries, tightly played games, and a lot of people doubted it. But I said all along this team has a special character to it. It always does. It competes.”

He was proud of how his team overcame a dismal first half and 14-point third-quarter deficit.

E.J. Manuel threw two touchdown passes, and Dustin Hopkins made two field goals to help to the Seminoles earn their fourth straight bowl victory and second straight under Fisher.

Florida State receiver Rashad Greene, who caught one of Manuel’s touchdown passes and had a team-high five catches for 99 yards, was selected the game’s MVP.

It all helped put a happy face on a night when the Seminoles’ offensive line surrendered at least five sacks for the second time this year and the offense had a fumble returned for a touchdown.

Due to injuries, Fisher was forced to start four freshmen on the line.

The Seminoles finished the game with 290 yards, went 3 for 14 on third down, and got an efficient night from Manuel. He played behind a young offensive line, but was 20 for 31 passing for 249 yards.

Manuel said none of the early miscues mattered at the end of the game, though.

“We had a very good finish,” Manuel said. “We play for each other, not individual stats and performance. We just beat Notre Dame. We’re going to feel good for months.”

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