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No. 8 Florida State rallies to beat Va. Tech, 28-22
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a slant pass that Greene took 39 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds to play and No. 8 Florida State survived a scare to beat Virginia Tech 28-22 on Thursday night.
The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 ACC) won their fourth straight and moved within a victory against Maryland on Nov. 17 of securing a spot in the ACC championship game Dec. 1.
The Hokies (4-6, 2-4) lost for the fifth time in six games and will have to beat Boston College and Virginia in their final regular season games to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th straight year.
The Hokies limited the Seminoles to 311 yards, more than 200 below their average for the season, and gained possession leading to the go-ahead field goal with a stellar defensive series.
After the Seminoles took over at their 20, Manuel threw incomplete on first down and James Gayle sacked him for a 10-yard loss on second down. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back to the 5 and, when the Seminoles tried running Devonta Freeman to the left, Jack Tyler caught him from behind in the end zone. Freeman tried to throw it, an illegal forward pass, and the safety pulled the Hokies to 20-19.
It also gave them the ball, but when they only managed a field goal, the Seminoles made them pay.
Limited to minus-15 rushing yards for the game, they got 7 from James Wilder Jr. on a fourth-and-1 play from their 41, and Manuel hit Greg Dent for 13 yards two plays later. After Manuel threw a pass away under pressure, he hit Greene on a short slant against a zone defense and Greene took it all the way.
The Seminoles opened a 20-10 lead with a 49-yard touchdown drive after recovering a fumble by Hokies wide receiver Marcus Davis. Manuel completed three passes on the six-play drive, including a 10-yard bullet to Greg Dent in the back of the end zone with 6:53 left in the third quarter.
The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the third quarter when Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole was hurt and lay face-down and motionless on the field. As the crowd stood in silence, Cole was taken away by ambulance. The school said he had a neck sprain, but had feeling and movement in his extremities.
The Seminoles arrived with the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense, averaging nearly 45 points, but the Hokies neutralized it for the first 27 minutes, allowing just a pair of field goals by Dustin Hopkins.
The Seminoles twice started drives near midfield early, and got nothing out of them. The first ended with Donovan Riley’s interception of Manuel’s pass at the 1, and the second with a three-and-out punt.
But after Thomas drove Virginia Tech 68 yards for the game’s first touchdown, giving the Hokies a 10-6 lead, Manuel and the Seminoles — held to zero yards at that point in the second quarter — clicked.
Manuel hit Kevin Benjamin for 12 and 17 yards, and then Greene beat Kyle Fuller twice — for 22 and 25 yards — to finish a five-play, 71-yard drive in 1:58 to give Florida State a 13-10 lead.
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