E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining Thursday night to lead No. 10 Florida State to a 28-22 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
“I think we got a little mixed up on the coverage that we were in on the boundary side,” said cornerback Antone Exum, who broke up three passes. “They picked us off and kind of had (Greene) running free through the middle.”
It was Tech’s third straight loss, as the Hokies (4-6, 2-4 ACC) are now in serious danger of seeing their 19-year bowl run come to an end.
“I want to thank our fans for hanging in there with us and trying hard,” said Frank Beamer, head coach. “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.”
Logan Thomas had an up-and-down game for Tech, completing 19-of-34 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown to go along with two interceptions and a rushing touchdown.
“Obviously, it’s tough,” Thomas said. “We’re going up to play a good Boston College team in the freezing cold and you just have to have the right mindset and be ready to go.
“After a loss like this, the first thing you want to do is get back on the field. That’s the way I feel.”
After Florida State took the lead late in the fourth quarter, Thomas hit redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles for a 35-yard strike to put the Hokies in good position for a comeback.
However, on the next play, Thomas threw behind Corey Fuller — who finished with a 124 yards receiving with a career-high seven catches — on a crossing pattern, resulting in a Tyler Hunter interception that sealed the victory for the Seminoles.
Bud Foster’s defense stole the show in a game that many predicted Florida State would win handily. Foster dialed up multiple blitz packages all night, resulting in five Tech sacks and negative 13 yards rushing for the Seminoles.
“We brought pressure the whole night,” Beamer said. “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, then they made some big plays there at the end.”
Even as Tech kept the pressure on him most of the game, Manuel never seemed overwhelmed, converting several huge throws throughout the night.
“Obviously they threw it around a little bit more, but that’s the situation that we all want to be in as a defenseman,” said linebacker Jack Tyler, who led the team with eight tackles. “We need make a stop there (at the end of the game), and we didn’t make it happen.”
Manuel finished 25-of-42 passing for 326 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Only Cincinnati’s Munchie Legaux has thrown for more yards in a game against the Hokies this season.
Tech hadn’t lost three games in a row since dropping the final three games of the 2003 season.
The Hokies retake the field next Saturday in Chesnut Hill, Mass. against Boston College. Time for kickoff has yet to be determined.