Friday, December 30, 2011
Mopping up after Florida State
By Matt Fortuna
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Notre Dame held Florida State to 18 total yards in the first quarter of an eventual 18-14 loss. The 18 yards were the fewest by an Irish opponent in the first frame this season.
Here are a few more numbers from the Champs Sports Bowl, thanks to Notre Dame's sports information department:
FSU netted just 18 rushing yards in the first half, the fewest allowed by the Irish in any half since Oct. 16, 2010, against Western Michigan, a span of 19 games. The Seminoles managed 41 rushing yards for the game, the third-fewest by a Notre Dame bowl opponent.
Notre Dame had four sacks in the first half and five for the game. It had not recorded four sacks in a game since Sept. 24 at Pitt.
Zeke Motta's 29-yard fumble return for a score was Notre Dame's first fumble returned for a touchdown since Brian Smith on Sept. 13, 2008, against Michigan. It was just the second in Irish bowl history, joining Ed Hunsinger's 20-yard score against Stanford in the 1925 Rose Bowl.
The Irish committed at least three turnovers for the sixth time this season. They finished with 29 on the year, including nine inside the opponents' 25-yard line, eight in the red zone and six inside the 10.
Dustin Hopkins' 42-yard field goal in the third quarter accounted for the first third-quarter points surrendered by the Irish defense since Sept. 24 at Pitt. For the season, Notre Dame outscored its opponents in the third quarter by a 91-16 margin.