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CFN Analysis: Florida State-Virginia Tech

Staff Columnist
Posted Nov 8, 2012

Beautiful results can emerge from uneven performances. Such was the case for the Florida State Seminoles on a Thursday night in which they achieved their objectives... but looked shaky in doing so.

By Matt Zemek
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There are a few important points to make in light of Florida State's unimpressive but still ballsy win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. First, an overview: The Seminoles did not play well, but they overcame a number of missteps to secure a game they absolutely had to have. The Seminoles (who get Maryland next) will almost surely win the ACC Atlantic Division title, boxing Clemson out of the ACC Championship Game and earning the right to play a weak opponent on Dec. 1. This win meant the Orange Bowl for FSU, and the Seminoles ultimately answered the call.

Two other points are worth advancing:

1) Virginia Tech looked a lot like LSU in this game… no, not in terms of overall quality, but its response to the final three minutes of regulation. Just like LSU, Virginia Tech – a team that had been enjoying a lot of success throwing the ball – ran the ball three straight times inside the three-minute mark of regulation when it needed one more first down to gain full leverage. Running the ball twice in three downs is reasonable, but running three times isn't. Virginia Tech needed to try at least one pass, probably on second down. The Hokies' timidity mirrored LSU's lack of guts against Alabama, and it cost them.

2) The college football rulebook needs to be changed next year in yet another specific respect. When a player tries to intentionally fumble as Florida State's Devonta Freeman did in the fourth quarter – think of Ken Stabler's Holy Roller in 1978, the play that is emblematic of the intentional fumble – the rulebook needs to give the opponent the right to take the ball at the spot where the intentional (illegal) fumble occurred. Plays like that should not be seen as illegal passes. That was an intentional fumble, like Stabler's, only from a player's own end zone, not his opponent's end zone. If the rulebook was constructed and written in a more precise (and fair) way, Virginia Tech would have had a chance to score a touchdown.

By Bart Doan
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Give Florida State credit. All night, the Seminoles tried to be the guy wearing sunglasses in the night club, trying so darn hard to make sure the night would end lonely and sour. However, E.J. Manuel and the Noles did what they couldn’t do against North Carolina State: get on track after a few setbacks. In the process, they dealt another head-scratching blow to a Virginia Tech team that seems snakebitten, spit out, and eaten again.

The end was a clinic on silencing cursing fans who despise the prevent defense. Yet, you have to give Bud Foster the props (Tween version of this article, apparently) for sticking to the guns that got him most of the kill shots all night. Pressure, all night, harried the Florida State offensive line, especially on third downs. Foster didn’t deviate from it, but FSU found the money shot against it.

Yet that wasn’t the end of the night's drama. A controversial 40-yard pass play later, Logan Thomas was in business with 33 seconds left and the ball in Florida State's half of the field. Yet this is 2012, and this is Virginia Tech, which inexplicably cut off half the field rolling to Thomas’s left, meaning any throw would be at an awkward angle, and FSU did what it couldn’t against NCSU: It got a pick, a stop, a game, and redemption of sorts.

That redemption is sweet tonight in Tally. The sins of inexplicable losses with much more talent and momentum are a thing of the past for a moment.