January 1, 2012

Champs Sports Bowl: Five things we learned

For the first time this season, Florida State overcame a second half deficit and claimed the Champs Sports Bowl trophy. The victory over Notre Dame won't heal all the wounds from a disappointing season but it may give us a peek into what kind of team the Seminoles will field in 2012.

Despite a horribly ineffective offensive performance in the first half, Florida State came to life in the second half and overcame a 14-0 deficit. Thanks in large part to a rejuvenated offensive line and big plays by freshman wide receiver Rashad Greene, EJ Manuel directed four straight scoring drives over the final quarter and a half. And after surrendering a touchdown drive to Notre Dame to start the second half, Mark Stoops' defense clamped down on the Irish for the rest of the game forcing three punts and two interceptions.

As a result of the 18-14 victory in Orlando, the 'Noles finished the 2011 season with a 9-4 record and will probably end up ranked in the top 20. While that's a far cry from being a preseason top five team, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2012 based on what took place in Orlando.

Here's a rundown of the top five things we learned about the Seminoles in he Champs Sports Bowl.

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