BLACKSBURG, Va .— With a shocking loss at North Carolina State still fresh in their minds, Florida State had its back against the wall with a similar-feeling road loss appearing to be in the works Thursday night.
But this time, the Seminoles were up to the challenge.
With 40 seconds to spare, receiver Rashad Greene took a short slant pass from quarterback EJ Manuel and raced 39 yards across Lane Stadium's Worsham Field and into the end zone as FSU beat Virginia Tech 28-22.
The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 ACC) won their fourth straight and can secure a spot in the conference's Dec. 1 title game with a victory over Maryland next week.
The Hokies (4-6, 2-4) lost for the fifth time in six games and have to beat Boston College and Virginia in their final regular-season games to qualify for a bowl for the 20th straight year.
"Nobody was flustered, nobody was afraid," Manuel said about the winning drive. "We all knew what we needed to do. We feel like we're built for things like that, and it showed tonight."
The Hokies appeared poised for the win when they kicked a 21-yard field goal to cap a 10-play drive that started after Tech scored on a safety. Seminoles tailback Devonta Freeman tried, unsuccessfully, to push a ball forward as he was being tackled in the end zone, an illegal forward pass.
But Virginia Tech had to settle for a field goal on the ensuing drive when quarterback Logan Thomas ran for 2 yards on third and 3 from the FSU 6.
"We actually had the perfect play drawn up, but we missed a block," Thomas said. "I probably would have scored."
Following the field goal that made it 22-20, the Seminoles got the ball with 2:13 left.
FSU totaled minus-15 rushing yards for the game, but former Plant High standout James Wilder had one of the biggest runs of the game, bulling up the middle to gain 7 on fourth and 1. Soon after that, Manuel found Greene, who caught six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
"Thursday night? Virginia Tech? This is what I watched every year, and now I've experienced it, and it's crazy," FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner said.