|Florida State WR Rashad Greene scores the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter at Virginia Tech on Thursday night. (US Presswire)|
Florida State QB EJ Manuel hit WR Rashad Greene for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining to give the the Seminoles a 28-22 win on the road at Virginia Tech and deliver a signature moment for the redshirt senior quarterback from Virginia Beach, Va.
The winning score capped off what was at times a frustrating night for Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) and Manuel, who was playing in his home state for the first time in college. He was sacked five times and rarely looked comfortable against a Virginia Tech defense that blitzed more than usual to try to rattle him.
“EJ took a beating back there,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He made some bad plays, but he stood in there and made the plays he had to. And I think that's what great players do and great quarterbacks do. They're able to find a way to win when it's not your A-game.”
On Greene's touchdown, the Hokies (4-6, 2-4 ACC) once again brought pressure, but Manuel got the ball away underneath to allow his speedy receiver to run away from the Virginia Tech secondary.
“It's not all on our back end,” Virginia Tech LB Jack Tyler said. “We didn't get any pressure on that play. That's what our job was. It's just one of those situations, that's a play that we have to make if we want to win this game against a team like Florida State and how good they are. We needed to make a play and just didn't.”
Virginia Tech had taken the lead on a 21-yard field goal by Cody Journell with 2:19 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Seminoles proceeded to go 68 yards on eight plays for the game-winning score.
“Nobody was flustered,” Manuel said of the last drive. “Nobody was afraid. We all understood what we needed to get done, and we knew what to do.”
Fisher said the team works every Thursday in practice on two minute situations. That practice paid off on this Thursday night in a hostile environment -- not only in the fourth quarter but also at the end of the first half when the offense drove 71 yards for a touchdown.
It was a sour ending for a Virginia Tech defense that played so well throughout the majority of the game. The Hokies limited the Seminoles to minus-15 rushing yards and just three of 14 on third-down conversions.
That ultimately wasn't enough. Now the Hokies must win their final two games -- at Boston College and at home against Virginia -- to make it back to a bowl for the 20th consecutive year. If Florida State defeats Maryland on Nov. 17, the Seminoles will clinch the Atlantic Division and a berth in the conference title game on Dec. 1 in Charlotte, N.C.
(Video courtesy of the ACC Digital Network)
(For more on the game, check out CBSSports.com's Eye on College Football)
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