Florida State overcame a historic defensive effort from the Virginia Tech defense on Thursday night in Lane Stadium, holding off the Hokies 28-22 courtesy of a final minute touchdown drive.
The Seminoles’ BCS saving victory is not the most noteworthy story emanating from Blacksburg, though — freshman Hokie defensive back Michael Cole was taken to LewisGale Hospital in an ambulance, following a terrifying scene midway through the contest. Cole was motionless on the turf for almost 10 minutes, his facemask removed and his body covered with a blanket while the silent Lane Stadium audience looked on.
Fortunately, Virginia Tech sports information representatives told the Associated Press that Cole had movement in his extremities.
A Hokie defense that has fallen short of the typically elite level other Bud Foster-coordinated units reached played like Virginia Techs of the past. Florida State finished with -15 yards rushing, one of the worst outputs on the ground in program history.
Fourth worst rushing performance in #Noles history. -29 Auburn (1957), -21 Wyoming (1966), -18 UF (1969), -15 VT (2012)
— FSU Football (@FSU_Football) November 9, 2012
Forty of those negative yards came off sacks of EJ Manuel. The Seminole offensive line failed to contain Foster’s blitz packages effectively — which, ironically, was the Hokies’ undoing.
After taking the lead on a Cody Journell field goal — set up in part by Virginia Tech’s aggressive pursuit forcing a safety — Foster remained aggressive on the ensuing possession. Manuel guided a drive not didn’t conclude in the end zone; Rashad Greene stepped over the goal line on Florida State’s way to Charlotte, home of the 2012 ACC championship.
The Seminoles still have one ACC contest remaining, next week at Maryland. However, the mounting injuries on the Terrapin roster won’t have FSU fearing the turtle. Not only was withstanding Virginia Tech’s best performance of an otherwise disappointing campaign critical in Florida State remaining in position to win the ACC’s automatic BCS berth, it also maintained any hope the Seminoles have of receiving an at-large bid.
Florida State concludes the regular season against Florida, one of the premiere rush defense teams in the nation. Virginia Tech came into Thursday’s game ranked No. 70 and completely shut down the ‘Noles — was that a sign of struggles to come when Gators come calling? Though the Florida encounter obviously has no implications on the ACC Orange Bowl bid, the one-loss Gators are worth big BCS computer points. Albeit slim odds, the Seminoles are not out of the BCS championship race.