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Florida State 28, Virginia Tech 22

The SportsXchange

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech's players talked all week about playing for pride and bowl eligibility after falling out of the race for the ACC's Coastal Division title.

That was almost enough for the Hokies against No. 10 Florida State on Thursday night.

Virginia Tech made a valiant effort but couldn't make enough stops on defense or plays on offense to complete an upset bid, and they fell 28-22 to the Seminoles.

Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel, a Virginia Beach native playing in his home state for the first time as a Seminole, passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns.

The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 ACC) scored the game-winning points on Manuel's 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rashad Greene with 40 seconds remaining. Manuel then connected with tight end Nick O'Leary for the two-point conversion.

Virginia Tech (4-6, 2-4) reached the Florida State 40-yard line on its last possession, but Seminoles defensive back Tyler Hunter intercepted a Logan Thomas pass at the 30 with 27 seconds remaining.

Thomas finished with 298 passing yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown.

The Hokies, who are now 7-31 against top-10 teams under coach Frank Beamer, must win their final two games to reach a bowl game. They are guaranteed to finish the regular season at .500 or worse for the first time since 1992.

Virginia Tech went ahead 22-20 on Cody Journell's 21-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining, but the Hokies' defense, which was stout most of the game, couldn't hold the lead.

The Hokies held the Seminoles to a season-low 311 total yards and a season-low minus-15 rushing yards. They sacked Manuel five times.

Florida State capitalized on a third-quarter Virginia Tech turnover to go ahead 20-10. Hokies wide receiver Marcus Davis lost a fumble near midfield, and the Seminoles scored a short time later on Manuel's 10-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Dent.

Virginia Tech answered with touchdown on its next possession. Thomas completed passes of 44 and 14 yards to senior wide receiver Corey Fuller, and the quarterback scored on a 5-yard run to pull the Hokies to within 20-17.

Virginia Tech drew even closer midway through the fourth quarter on a bizarre play. Florida State tailback Devonta Freeman tried to avoid a safety by throwing the ball forward, but he was penalized for an illegal forward pass, which resulted in a safety anyway, cutting the Seminoles' lead to 20-19.

Florida State scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to wide receiver Greene with 48 seconds left in the first half to take a 13-10 lead into the break.

The Virginia Tech defense held the Seminoles to only two Dustin Hopkins field goals before the last-minute scoring strike.

The Hokies struggled offensively for most of the first half before putting together a touchdown drive late in the second quarter. Thomas connected on two big third-down passes to Fuller and then delivered a perfect 4-yard fade pass over the shoulder of Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner that Fuller caught near the right side of the end zone for a touchdown.

Virginia Tech held Florida State's high-powered offense to only 161 yards in the first half, and the Hokies forced two turnovers that they failed to convert into points.

The Seminoles scored on their first possession on a 52-yard field goal by Hopkins. The Hokies answered with a 35-yard Journell field goal on their first possession but then went five consecutive drives without a first down.

Florida State took a 6-3 lead at the beginning of the second quarter on Hopkins' 45-yard field goal, and that score stood until Thomas' touchdown pass with 2:49 remaining in the second quarter.

NOTES: With his 52-yarder, Hopkins improved to 3-for-3 on field goals longer than 50 yards this season, with a long of 56. ... Thomas threw his 13th and 14th interceptions of the season, the highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision. ... Virginia Tech freshman Donovan Riley's first-quarter interception was the Hokies' first forced turnover in eight quarters. ... Seminoles wide receiver Rodney Smith has caught a pass in 35 consecutive games. ... Hunter muffed a punt in the second quarter, and the Hokies recovered at the Seminoles' 30. The Hokies were held without a first down, and Journell missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt. It was Journell's second miss in his three attempts.
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