- - Friday, November 18, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. — While many of No. 9 Virginia Tech’s players expressed little interest in Virginia’s fate Saturday at Florida State, quarterback Logan Thomas offered a contrary opinion.

Thomas is rooting for the Cavaliers to beat the Seminoles. That way, Virginia Tech and Virginia would play next week in Charlottesville with the Coastal Division championship on the line.

“We want to play in the biggest games possible, and I think playing in big games gets you prepared for playing bigger games down the road,” said Thomas, who passed for 195 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 32 yards and another score in the Hokies’ 24-21 win over North Carolina on Thursday night at Lane Stadium.

“I don’t know about the rest of the guys, but I’d love to see them go out there and win. It’ll make it mean a lot more next week.”

Tech (10-1, 6-1 ACC) took care of its end of the bargain in the possible division championship scenario next week. It survived a scare from the Tar Heels (6-5, 2-5), who were down 24-7 in the fourth quarter before rallying with two touchdowns less than five minutes apart.

UNC quarterback Bryn Renner completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Erik Highsmith to cut Tech’s lead to 24-14 with 7:06 remaining, and then found Highsmith for a 64-yard strike on the Tar Heels’ next possession to set up tailback Ryan Houston’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:32 left.

North Carolina recovered an onside kick after Houston’s score, but officials ruled the kick didn’t travel the required 10 yards and the Hokies took over. Tech ran down most of the clock and held on for its sixth straight victory.

The Hokies, who hold a one-game Coastal Division lead over the Cavaliers in the loss column, won their 10th game to increase their string of 10-win seasons to eight, which is the longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision and tied with Miami (1985-92) for the third-longest in the modern era.

“That wasn’t real clean, but it was a win. I think that’s the important thing at this point in time,” said Tech coach Frank Beamer, who claimed his 250th career win and moved past Lou Holtz for eighth place on the all-time FBS wins list.

Thomas seemed to be in the minority of Tech players who care what Virginia does today against Florida State.

“I don’t really pay attention that much [to what other teams do]. We got the victory, so that’s all I care about,” said sophomore defensive back Antone Exum (Deep Run), who tied for the team lead with 12 tackles and forced a critical first-quarter fumble deep in Hokies’ territory.

But Exum admitted it would be fun if next week’s game had a winner-take-all carrot attached to it.

“It would be fun, but at the same time we just look at what’s in front of us,” Exum said. “Right now, Virginia’s [the game that’s] in front of us. We’re not really worried about what they do, because we’re going to approach the game the same way. We’re going to play with the same intensity if they win or they lose.”

Read Nathan Warters’ Virginia Tech blog at VTeffect.com

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