UVa Upends No. 23 Florida State, 14-13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) –It looked as if the game was over. A couple of times, at least. Virginia players and coaches celebrated … a few times.
In the final 38 seconds, a costly facemask penalty gave Florida State (No. 25 BCS, No. 23 AP) a crucial first down and a replay ruling gave the Seminoles a few extra seconds to attempt a potential game-winning kick.
Still, Virginia escaped the weirdness to upset Florida State 14-13 on Saturday and set up a showdown with rival Virginia Tech next week for a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
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 was overturned by replay and ruled incomplete with 8 seconds left.
“It was a catch to us,” a drained, but exultant Virginia coach Mike London said. “It might be one of the best wins I’ve been involved with in my whole coaching career.”
Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt with 3 seconds left.
“I got through it a little too much,” Hopkins said afterward.
He was fortunate to have got a shot from 42 yards.
Hopkins was moved up 5 yards for what officials ruled was a “disconcerting signal,” from a Cavaliers defender.
It didn’t help.
Kevin Parks gave Virginia the one-point lead, by running 10 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 left.
“I have never been involved in a game like that,” said London, who was still trying to sort out the chaotic finish.
“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.”
It was the second straight week Florida State was involved in a game that featured controversial calls and replay decisions.
But Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said his team made more than enough mistakes of their own.
“There’s no play that lost that game,” Fisher said. “It was a conglomerate of them across the board.”
Maybe the biggest of them all came in the third quarter when Virginia’s Chase Minnifield ran down Florida State’s Bert Reed.
The Seminoles failed to score a touchdown after Reed was pulled down at the 1 after a 68-yard completion. Florida State settled for Hopkins’ second field goal to take a 13-7 lead.
“It ended up being a big play of the game,” Minnifield said. “I saw him break out and I started sprinting as hard as I could and, by God’s grace, I was able to catch him.”
Virginia (8-3, 5-2) snapped Florida State’s five-game winning streak with its fourth straight win.
Hopkins, who missed a game-winner last year against North Carolina and then kicked a 55-yard winner the following week to beat Clemson, had kicked a pair of field goals earlier in the game.
It didn’t seem to make any difference how many chances Florida State got at the end.
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 (7-4, 5-3) 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 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.
Rocco was elusive for most of the game, driving Virginia 75 yards on five plays in just 37 seconds for the winning touchdown. The sophomore quarterback completed 22 of 31 passes for 238 yards.
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.