Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

November 10, 2012

Virginia Tech whipped ‘Noles everywhere except on board

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech did everything but win the game.

The Hokies may have played their best game of the season on Thursday night, but still dropped a 28-22 decision to No. 10 Florida State.

That happens when a team is struggling, and the Hokies (4-6, 2-4) have done just that all season, and now must win their last two games to extend the school’s bowl streak to 20 years in a row.

Virginia Tech’s defense, which was expected to be a strength all season, played like it against the Seminoles. Florida State entered scoring 44.8 and accumulating nearly 525 yards a game, but the Hokies held them to 28 points and 311 yards, their second lowest output of the year.

Most impressive was the Seminoles’ lack of production on the ground. Florida State finished with a net total of negative-15 yards rushing, with the Virginia defense harassing quarterback E.J. Manuel all night and finishing with 12 1/2 tackles for loss and five sacks.

“The defense really had their moments. We just gave up a drive at the end of the half and at the end of the game,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “We had those rushing yards at the end of the half.

“I thought we played our hearts out. They have good players and made some big plays. Part of it was us and part of it was them though.”

Virginia Tech’s offense, which has been inconsistent all season, outgained the Seminoles 385-311, with 298 yards of that coming from the arm of Logan Thomas, including completions of 54, 44, 35 and 33 yards. He also had two interceptions, the second of which secured the win for Florida State.

The Hokies also struggled running the ball, finishing with just 87 yards.  

“We had some big plays there. Probably more big plays against Florida State than any team they have played,” Beamer said. “I thought our kids battled and hung in there so I am proud of them.”

Florida State led 13-10 at the half, having answered a Virginia Tech touchdown drive with one of their own. The Seminoles built the lead to 20-10 following a lost fumble by Marcus Davis before the Hokies scored 12 unanswered points to take a 22-20 lead with 2:23 left on the clock.

Virginia Tech drove the ball to the Florida State 13 with the final minutes, but three running plays were unsuccessful and the Hokies had to settle for the 21-yard field goal by Cody Journell and the two-point lead.

“If we could have picked up another first down then we could have had a couple of more plays, but we didn’t,” Beamer said. “I was talking there at the end of taking more time off the clock, but I didn’t want to interfere with the rhythm. I was hoping we could have scored a touchdown there.”

That gave the Seminoles plenty of time, and Dustin Hopkins — who had already made two field goals — is one of the better kickers in the nation.

However, he wasn’t needed. Florida State was able to convert a 4th-and-1 at the Seminoles’ 41, and moved the ball to the Tech 39.

Manuel, a native of Virginia Beach, then connected with Rashad Greene on a slant pattern across the middle and he dashed 39 yards to the right corner of the end zone for the winning score.

Beamer was asked what the Hokies could have done on the final drive to keep the ‘Noles out of the end zone.

“We brought pressure the whole night. They are one of those teams that you have to have pressure on their quarterback and we did a good job most of the night,” he said. “Then they made some big plays there at the end.”

Virginia Tech got the ball back, reached the Florida State 40 on a long pass, but Thomas was picked off on the next play.

Despite the struggles of the Hokies, Lane Stadium was still nearly full on a very cold and windy night, and Beamer certainly appreciates the support of the disappointed Virginia Tech fan base.

“I want to thank our fans for hanging in there with us and trying hard,” Beamer said. “We just couldn’t get it done for them. You have to give Florida State credit. They hung in there and made some plays when they needed to. You have to give our kids credit, they hung in there and battled.”

Virginia Tech must win at Boston College on Nov. 17, and extend its winning streak over Virginia to nine on Nov. 24 to earn a bowl bid for a 20th straight season.

“I am proud of our football team,” Beamer said. “(We) just couldn’t get the thing to totally bounce our way. Again, we had the lead and we couldn’t hold it.”

 —Contact Brian Woodson

 at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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