Tell us if you’ve heard this before: turnovers cost Notre Dame a game this season.
It was the case early in the year, when the Irish committed 10 turnovers on their way to an 0-2 start to the season, and it proved to be critical in an 18-14 loss to No. 25 Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Irish quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix were interchangeable tonight, and neither played particularly well. Rees got a majority of the snaps, but threw two interceptions; Hendrix threw another one to give Notre Dame three costly turnovers and allowed Florida State to score 18 unanswered points.
It was a defensive struggle — neither team broke 300 yards of offense — and the lone score in the first half was courtesy of Notre Dame’s defense, but the difference was E.J. Manuel’s two touchdowns combined with two more field goals.
The Irish drop to 8-5 on the season and the Seminoles move to 9-4. Both teams had high preseason expectations, but it was FSU that was able to salvage a quality win in the postseason. Notre Dame, on the other hand, will have another long offseason as they try to climb back into college football’s elite.