FSU loses 14-13 on homecoming to upstart Virginia

BY foxsports • November 20, 2011

Florida State was favored to win the Atlantic Coast Conference this year. Virginia wasn't supposed to do much of anything.

But with one game left for both schools, the preseason favored Seminoles have four losses and are out of contention in the Atlantic Coast Conference while Virginia readies for archrival Virginia Tech with a berth in the league's championship game riding on the outcome.

''We are making some young mistakes, but we should be older,'' Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said after Virginia defeated his 23rd-ranked Seminoles 14-13. ''It's the end of the year. Those all need to stop.''

Florida State (7-4, 5-3 ACC) was ranked fifth nationally before losing three straight games earlier in the season, but they'd just gotten back into the rankings at No. 23 after rebounding with five straight victories.

Prosperity apparently didn't agree with Fisher's club.

''Very disappointing,'' said the second-year coach, who is now 17-8 overall and 11-6 against ACC opponents. ''There's no one play that lost that game. It was a conglomerate of them across the board. I thought we were past some of that.''

Florida State closes out its regular schedule next Saturday at Florida (6-5).

''This is going to be about bouncing back again,'' senior receiver Bert Reed said. ''We still have goals that we can meet.''

Beating Florida is now the big one.

Kevin Parks ran 10 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 left to give Virginia the lead, which finally held up when Florida State's Dustin Hopkins missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt in the closing seconds.

''I got through it a little too much,'' Hopkins said afterward.

He was fortunate to have gotten a shot from 42 yards.

Hopkins was moved up 5 yards for what officials ruled was a ''disconcerting signal,'' from a Cavalier defender.

''I have never been involved in a game like that,'' Virginia coach Mike London said.

Florida State seemed to be on the receiving end of a number of opportunities in the final seconds.

Despite an officials ruling being overturned by the replay booth and a costly facemask penalty in the final 38 seconds, Virginia escaped with the victory to set up a showdown with rival Virginia Tech next week with a berth in the ACC championship game riding on the outcome.

''I ran off the field a couple of times, thinking the game was over,'' Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco said. ''When everything was going on, I just sat down on one knee and prayed.''

The facemask penalty on Virginia' Cam Johnson allowed the Seminoles to convert a fourth down and a pass initially ruled complete in bounds that would have killed the clock with eight seconds left was overturned by replay and ruled incomplete.

Greg Reid's 35-yard punt return set up Hopkins' 26-yard field goal with 54 seconds left in the half to give the Seminoles a 10-7 lead at halftime.

The Seminoles had tied the game at 7 with 4:49 left in the half when Manuel hit backup tight end Ja'Baris Little on a 1-yard touchdown pass. It was the first career touchdown for Little, who was one of 16 Seminole seniors playing their final game at home.

Virginia capitalized on a Manuel fumble and scored on the first play of the second quarter to grab a 7-0 lead on Michael Rocco's 7-yard pass to Perry Jones. Rocco had completed 9 of his first 12 passes for 107 yards by the time Virginia finished up its 79-yard scoring drive.

Manuel completed 18 of 31 passes for 200 yards, but was sacked three times.

The Cavaliers, who averaged 187.6 yards rushing a game, managed just 78 against Florida State's run defense, which ranked fourth nationally going into the game.

Virginia, which has won six of its last seven games, had never won in eight previous trips to Tallahassee.