JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida State scored two touchdowns in less than three minutes to start the second half on its way to a 24-point third quarter and a 27-22 win over No. 5 Virginia Tech in the inaugural ACC Championship game last night.
The unranked Seminoles (8-4, 6-3 ACC) have won 12 consecutive games over Virginia Tech (10-2, 7-2 ACC), the Coastal Division champs. It marked coach Bobby Bowden’s 15th consecutive win against the Hokies, dating to his days at West Virginia. He is 7-0 against Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.
This one sent Florida State, the Atlantic Division champs, into the Bowl Championship Series where it likely will face Penn State in the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech is earmarked to return to Jacksonville for a Gator Bowl game against Louisville.
Wideout Willie Reid broke an 83-yard punt return the first time the Seminoles touched the ball after halftime. Only punter Nick Schmitt managed to touch Reid, who caught the ball right of the right hash mark and cut the ball back toward the middle. Patrick Harrington threw the key block to spring Reid, a play that broke a 3-3 game open and gave Florida State the momentum.
Schmitt had just lifted one of his best punts of the game, a 49-yarder. The Hokies, hoping to pin Florida State inside the 20, instead saw Reid return the first punt for a touchdown against Tech since Boston College’s 83-yarder in 2002.
Virginia Tech came right back with a 26-yard completion Vick to David Clowney on third-and-6. But the play was called back when the Hokies, called for a season-high 14 penalties for 126 yards, were called for an illegal man downfield.
Free safety Pat Watkins intercepted Vick on the next play at the Tech 44. Three plays and 54 seconds later, tailback Leon Washington raced 14 yards for a 17-3 lead.
Watkins made matters worse two possessions later when he downed a punt inside the 1, trapping the Hokies. Watkins walked just to his left of the goal line, entertaining fans with his high-wire act.
After a five-play possession, Schmitt shanked a punt for 28 yards to the Tech 44. Reid caught a 41-yard pass from Drew Weatherford. One play later a holding call negated Washington’s 3-yard touchdown run. The Hokies defense then held and Gary Cismesia kicked a 41-yard field goal.
Chris Davis capped the third quarter outburst when he hauled in a 6-yard pass from Weatherford and the score stood 27-3. Clowney’s fumble set up the drive at the Tech 31. Rover Kyler Hall hit Clowney to force the turnover and Broderick Bunkley recovered.
Josh Morgan caught Vick’s 28-yard pass in the early minutes of the fourth. Vick’s 16-yard run kept the drive going.
Vick’s 5-yard dash up the middle made it 27-15 with 10:57 to play. His 50-yard pass to Morgan keyed the four-play, 78-yard drive, giving the Hokies two touchdowns in 2:32.
Cismesia gave the Seminoles a 3-0 lead with 11:34 left in the first. Greg Carr hauled in a 38-yard pass to set it up.
Brandon Pace’s longest field goal of the season and a yard short of his career long tied the game with 1:12 left in the opening quarter. Pace’s 45-yard kick grazed the right upright, but went through, capping a 15-play drive. The Seminoles kept the drive going with an illegal participation penalty on third-and-9 at the Tech 21.