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Florida State 28, Virginia Tech 22: Seminoles survive scare in Blacksburg

Rashad Greene “pulled a T.J. Yeldon” and Florida State’s slim BCS National Championship hopes are alive because of it, with the Seminoles holding on for a thrilling 28-22 victory Thursday night against Virginia Tech.

The key play came late in the game with the Seminoles trailing 22-20. With under a minute to go and Florida State just looking to get into field goal range for the win, Manuel hit Greene for a short screen pass, and thankfully for Florida State’s struggling offense, the speedy receiver did the rest. Greene took the play 39 yards for the score (in a play eerily similar to Yeldon’s last week against Alabama) to give the Seminoles a 26-22 lead with just 41 seconds to go. Florida State got a two-point conversion, and more importantly held on for the win in Blacksburg. In the process, they also held on to their ACC and National Championship hopes as well.

But despite merely getting the victory, it was an otherwise forgettable night for a Florida State club which improved to 9-1 on the season.

From the start, the Seminoles looked flat and hardly like one of the 10 best teams in college football, nor like the club that many believed was the best one-loss team in the sport. On the evening they finished with an embarrassing -15 yards rushing, the offense turned the ball over twice, and E.J. Manuel was his usual inconsistent self, completing just 25 of 42 passes (although in Manuel’s defense, three of those completions did go for touchdowns).

What’s got to be even more concerning for Seminoles fans is that even Florida State’s usually stout defense hardly looked like itself. On the evening they allowed 386 yards of offense, which might not be bad for most teams, but was downright awful for a club which came into the game with college football’s No. 1 ranked defense. Prior to Thursday, the Seminoles had allowed just 227 yards of offense per game.

But despite the struggles, Florida State did get the victory, and now can sit back on Saturday and wait to see if any of the teams ahead of them in the BCS standings fall.

With the overall weakness of the ACC the Seminoles will need a lot help, and ranked 10th overall, are trailing not only a bunch of undefeated and other one-loss clubs, but South Carolina and LSU, a pair of clubs which each have two losses as well. The point being, all Florida State can do is continue to win, and hope others around them lose, with their November 24 date with 8-1 Florida looming larger and larger every week. Win that, and the ACC title game the following week, and Florida State will be right in the discussion for the BCS title, depending on how some other games shakeout.  

In terms of the ACC title race, Florida State can wrap up the Atlantic Division with a victory over Maryland next week.

As for Virginia Tech, for a team that is usually wrapping up Coastal Division titles this time of year, the Hokies need to rally just to get bowl eligible.

At 4-6 Virginia Tech has their work cut out for them, needing victories over Boston College and Virginia in the coming weeks.  

For all his opinion, analysis and insight on college football, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.

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