by CFP Staff
Florida State rallied from a 14-0 3rd-quarter deficit to beat Notre Dame 18-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl.
E.J. Manuel threw two touchdown passes and Dustin Hopkins kicked a 29-yard field goal, all in the final stanza, to help the 'Noles win their 4th straight bowl game and improve their overall bowl record to 24-14-2.
The Irish saw a 2-bowl winning streak end as they lost for the 10th time in their last 12 postseason appearances and dropped to 15-16 all-time in bowl games.
The matchup of traditional powerhouses Notre Dame and Florida State produced the first sell-out in the history of the Champs Sports Bowl at the 65,438-seat Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando, Florida. Both teams came into the game sporting 8-4 records as they squared-off for the first time since 2003.
The only other bowl meeting between these teams took place at the end of the 1995 season with Florida State 31-26 in the Orange Bowl.
The 'Noles are now 5-2 in a series that only began in 1981 and has rarely been played. This was their second all-time meeting in Orlando with Florida State winning a regular season clash 23-16 in 1993.
Florida State is now 8-0-1 all-time in Orlando. Notre Dame is 1-2 all-time in Orlando with the lone victory coming in the regular season over Navy 45-14 in 2000.
The last time these teams played each other in the regular season, they traded road victories in a home-and-home series in 2002 and 2003 with the Irish winning 34-24 at Tallahassee in 2002 and the Seminoles thumping Notre Dame 37-0 in South Bend the following year.
Florida State improved to 13-5-2 in bowl games played in the state of Florida, and 3-0-1 in bowl games played in Orlando. The 'Noles are 24-14-2 overall.
Notre Dame fell to 3-6 in bowl games played in the state of Florida, but this was their first postseason trip to Orlando. The Irish are 15-16 overall in bowl games after appearing in bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2005-2006. The loss snapped a 2-bowl winning streak for Notre Dames after they had lost 9 in-a-row.
FSU won seven of its last eight games after starting 2-3.
63.2% of CollegeFootballPoll.com voters picked FSU to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected the 'Noles to come out on top by 3.04 points.