|Rashad Greene had six receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score. (US Presswire)|
FLORIDA STATE WON: It was a mistake-filled game that featured five turnovers, multiple muffed punts, and an illegal forward pass from the end zone resulting in a safety, but EJ Manuel orchestrated enough big drives - including the 8 play, 68 yard touchdown drive in the final minutes -- to escape Blacksburg with ACC title hopes intact thanks to a 28-22 win.
Both quarterbacks got off to rocky starts, tossing interceptions and missing receivers for a majority of the first half. Virginia Tech's front seven stood out from the get-go, making the Seminoles one-dimensional and holding them to -15 team rushing yards. Once the rushing attack was shut down, the Hokies turned up the pressure on Manuel. The five sacks allowed were for the most for Florida State all year, and contributed to the 3-for-14 third down efficiency. But despite all the things the Hokies did right in order to pull the upset, a few secondary breakdowns and three turnovers were the difference as the nightmare season continues in Blacksburg.
HOW FLORIDA STATE WON: Chris Thompson's absence was felt as Virginia Tech broke through Florida State's offensive line and shut down the rushing attack. Thankfully, Florida State's physical advantage at wide receiver allowed the playmakers on the outside to give Manuel a target on quick passes. Rashad Greene led the group with six receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score on a 39-yard catch-and-run with just 40 seconds remaining. Junior Greg Dent added four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown as well.
After trailing 10 points in the third quarter, Virginia Tech went on a run that made an upset appear imminent. After trimming Florida State's lead on a very impressive 8 play, 80 yard touchdown drive, the home field advantage of Lane Stadium finally set in. Florida State got backed up to their own end zone due to a false start penalty, and Devonta Freeman was called for a safety for attempting an illegal forward pass from the end zone - while trying to avoid a safety. After the free kick Logan Thomas led the 10 play drive Virginia Tech needed, milking 4:40 off the clock. But unfortunately they could not get in the end zone, and settled for a field goal with 2:19 remaining. That was too much time for EJ Manuel and his speedy wide receivers, as the Seminoles proved on the following drive.
WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: The final score was thanks to Rashad Greene's jets from 30+ yards out, and the game was sealed when Logan Thomas threw his second interception of the game to Tyler Hunter on the final possession. But the play of the game was a 4th down run by Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. The Hokies forced Florida State into the 4th down try on their final drive, and a stop would likely end the game. After all the aforementioned woes in the running game, Wilder hit the pile with a purpose and powered for the first down that kept the drive alive. Four plays later Greene hit the Virginia Tech secondary with the turbo button and Florida State was cruising to a 9-1 record.
WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles got Clemson fans very happy for a moment when they trailed in the fourth quarter. Because of the loss in Tallahassee earlier this season, the Tigers need another Florida State loss to earn the Atlantic Division bid to the ACC Championship Game. Florida State -- looking to claim their first ACC title since 2005 -- maintained their inside track on Charlotte by escaping with the win.
WHAT VIRGINIA TECH LOST: Loss No. 6 for the Hokies puts them in a historically bad position with two games left to play. Virginia Tech has not had a losing season since 1992, and will need wins over both Boston College and Virginia to avoid a seventh loss and missing the postseason. For a team that entered the season on a streak of 10+ win seasons, it is still weird to think they are on the edge of postseason elimination from here on out.
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