Seminoles rally to edge sloppy Irish

ORLANDO, Fla. — In Notre Dame's three early season losses turnovers, poor second-half performances and an inability to score in red zone were costly.

The Irish thought they'd put those problems behind them after winning five of their final six games of the regular season.

Those issues came back Thursday night and it proved too much for them in an 18-14 loss to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Florida State rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit and used a pair of touchdown passes by E.J. Manuel and two field goals from Dustin Hopkins to secure the win.

The victory was FSU's fourth straight bowl win. The loss snapped a streak of two straight bowl wins for the Irish and drops their overall bowl record to 15-16.

FSU receiver Rashad Greene, who caught one of Manuel's touchdown passes, was the game's MVP.

"It started in South Florida," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly of the Irish's issues of turnovers and missed opportunities.

"And it continued to shoot itself throughout the entire year. We know what we need to do. We've already talked about it, and the players that are going to be back for the 2012 football season will be committed to getting that end done."

The No. 25 Seminoles (9-4) started four freshmen on their offensive line and gave up five sacks, but FSU's defense picked off Notre Dame quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix three times and had four sacks.

Junior linebacker Manti Te'o, who led Notre Dame with 13 tackles and got in on a sack Thursday, said fatigue was not a factor in the Irish not being able to maintain pressure on Manuel in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame shuffled between Rees and Hendrix throughout the game, but both struggled to get the Irish points inside the red zone, converting on 1 of 3 for the game. They also a combined 19 for 35 and just 187 yards passing.

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