Florida State shows plenty of heart and toughness in Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame.

Florida State beat Notre Dame 18-14 Thursday night in the Champs Sports Bowl. Sounds like a hard fought good victory for the Seminoles. Oh but it was so much more for the Noles. Sometimes the Box Score doesn’t tell the whole story of a game. This was of the gutsiest grittiest wins you’re likely to see this bowl season.

Florida State was starting 4 freshmen along their offensive line due to a slew of injuries, and it showed early. Notre Dame was confusing the young Nole Linemen upfront with various blitzes.

When they weren’t blitzing the Irish were still having their way upfront. Florida State couldn’t run the ball and QB EJ Manuel spent more time on his back than throwing passes. When Notre Dame went up 14-0 at the beginning of the 2nd half it felt more like 24-0.

Even during the game the Seminoles were taking on multiple injuries to players. Honestly I thought it would be too much to overcome for FSU, but did they ever dig deep.

The line started blocking. Manuel had time to throw, and the receivers began making plays. Rashad Greene had 99 yards receiving and looks like a future star. Nigel Bradham comes up with an interception after Notre Dame Brian Kelly switched quarterbacks and on the ensuing possession Florida State took the lead for good.

By the way is any coach out there meaner to his quarterbacks than Kelly? I think Stever Spurrier was blushing watching Kelly rip his QB’s every time they came off the field. Anyways… enough of Kelly this win was about Florida State.

Nole fans should be and I’m sure they are very proud of their team’s effort. What does this say about the Seminoles for this year and the future? Florida State finishes the year 9-4 which was below most folk’s expectations, but there has to be some optimism about the program.

This was Florida State’s first back to back 9+ win seasons since the 03-04 seasons. It’s a work in progress in Tallahassee. Having whispers of competing for national title were a bit of reach this year, but Florida State proved tonight and over the course of the 2011 season that hit with adversity they weren’t going to quit. That’s something Jimbo Fisher can build on for next year. In 2012 I’m not predicting any national championship runs, but I do see a team that can win 10 or 11 games and continue it’s march back to national prominence.

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