Notre Dame's season ended last night with a thud as Florida State came back from a 14-point deficit in the second half and won, 18-14, in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
The game looked promising for the Irish from the start, as Tommy Rees led a drive that unfortunately ended with a tipped pass in the end zone that was intercepted. But Florida State fumbled on their first play from scrimmage and Zeke Motta returned it 29 yards for a TD. It remained 7-0 until early in the third quarter.
Rees hit Michael Floyd, playing in his last game for the Irish, with a 5-yard TD pass to cap off a 62-yard drive to open the third quarter. It was a tough game for Rees overall, as he and Andrew Hendrix were shuffled in and out throughout the game.
Florida State scored twice in the third, on a 42-yard field goal and a 18-yard pass play. They tried a two-point conversion to cut the score to 3, but failed. Early in the fourth, Hendrix was intercepted, and on the next play, Florida State took the lead for good with a TD pass to make it 18-14. Notre Dame had a shot near the end, but Rees was picked off in the end zone with just under three minutes to play, and FSU ran out the clock. (ND got it back with 24 seconds left, but they were too far from the end zone to be a serious scoring threat.)
Notre Dame finishes 2011 with a 9-4 record, and will begin the 2012 season on September 1st in Dublin, Ireland against Navy.
And after the Notre Dame game, was the Washington-Baylor matchup in the Alamo Bowl. One of the most incredible football games I've ever seen. Baylor won 67-56, and the teams had no interest in playing defense: they set a bowl record for TDs (17), total yards gained (1,397) and missed the all-time record for points in a bowl game by just 2. It sure wasn't dull.