With Florida State University in danger of being upset by ACC foe Virginia Tech, EJ Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a 39-yard touchdown pass to stun the Virginia Tech Hokies on Thursday night, 28-22.
Virginia Tech took the lead with a Cody Journell field goal with 2:19 remaining, but the Manuel-Greene connection—which produced several big plays during the game—put Florida State up for good with 40 seconds remaining.
Manuel was 25-of-42 for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Greene had six catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida State scored on its first drive of the game, going 48 yards in nine plays. Kicker Dustin Hopkins nailed a field goal from 52 yards out to put the Florida Seminoles up, 3-0.
Virginia Tech answered right back, going 60 yards in eight plays, highlighted by Logan Thomas' 54-yard pass to Marcus Davis. Cody Journell tied the game with a 35-yard field goal.
Each team was intercepted and had to punt in their next two drives. But after Thomas' interception in Hokies territory, it eventually set up Hopkins' 45-yard field goal for the Seminoles.
Florida State then went three-and-out in its next two drives, opening the door for the Hokies to drive 68 yards in nine plays as Thomas found senior wideout Corey Fuller for a four-yard touchdown.
At that point, it was 10-6 with 2:49 remaining in the half. The Hokies were smelling a possible upset. But Florida State promptly drove 71 yards in five plays, highlighted by EJ Manuel's 25-yard strike to sophomore receiver Rashad Greene, to give the Seminoles a 13-10 lead at the half.
After a punt on their first drive of the second half, the Seminoles went on another drive after a Virginia Tech fumble, going 49 yards in six plays as Manuel hooked up with junior receiver Greg Dent. It was 20-10 Florida State at that point.
Then, Thomas and the Hokies responded once again, going 80 yards in eight plays. Thomas went 3-of-3 for 66 yards while scoring on a five-yard scamper on the drive. That left the Hokies down by three points with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter.
The Hokies got closer when Florida State sophomore running back Devonta Freeman was tackled in his own end zone for a safety with 6:59 to play. It set up a Florida State free kick, which led to a Virginia Tech field goal to make it 22-20, Hokies.
After the ensuing Florida State score, Virginia Tech was in position to kick a game-winning field goal at the Seminoles' 40-yard line, but Thomas was intercepted. He finished 19-of-34 for 298 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Virginia Tech freshman Michael Cole was injured and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance after a Lonnie Pryor run with 12:23 to play in the third quarter.
Brandon Mellor of Seminoles.com tweeted after Manuel's touchdown pass to Greene at the end of the first half:
There wasn't a whole lot of rushing in the first half. Nathan Warters of the Free Lance-Star pointed out an interesting stat:
#Hokies have a 46 to negative-8 rushing edge over the Seminoles. FSU out-rushed its previous nine opponents 2,116 to 656.— Nathan Warters (@NathanWarters) November 9, 2012
Wake Forest running back Joshua Harris was impressed with Thomas' response to Florida State's touchdown in the third quarter:
Logan Thomas with a PERFECT throw.. Wow— Joshua Harris (@JoshHarris25) November 9, 2012
Hokies Journal tweeted out the preliminary status of Michael Cole:
Good news on Michael Cole. Has a neck sprain, per VT. Has feeling and movement in extremities. #Hokies— Hokies Journal (@HokiesJournal) November 9, 2012
What a game.
What turned out to be a thrilling ACC clash, the Seminoles and the Hokies went back and forth throughout the game, with Thomas and Virginia Tech responding twice to Florida State touchdowns.
Neither team did much on the ground, but the Hokies held Florida State to an astounding negative-15 yards on 25 carries.
It was evident early on that this was a game that would largely come down to the arms of Thomas and Manuel.
Florida State had allowed just 4.4 yards per pass attempt coming into the game, tops in the nation, but Thomas was able to move the ball against the Seminoles despite the running game not doing him any favors. Unfortunately, that also came with two interceptions.
But it was the eight-play, 80-yard drive conducted by Manuel that was the difference.