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October 25, 2008TALLAHASSEE -- It has been a while since Florida State has been in a position to control its own destiny, but now they do once again.
Wake Forest stumbled in Miami and suffered their second conference loss on the season earlier Saturday, and Florida State took full advantage. The No. 23/24 Seminoles defeated Virginia Tech 30-20 in front of 81,876 in Doak S. Campbell stadium.
"When we lost to Wake Forest, it looked like there was no chance to win our division because if they happened to lose a game, which we didn't think they would, then the fact that they beat us head to head, they would be the champion," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "But all of a sudden they lost one, all of a sudden they lost another. So that put us back where if we could win out, we could win our division.""
Mickey Andrews saw his game plan go out the window as Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor hurt his ankle forcing the Noles to adjust to a different style of play from pocket passer Sean Glennon.
And it took a while for them to adjust.
After digging themselves a 10-0 hole, Florida State responded in a big way as senior running back Antone Smith took the hand off to the left, burst through the defense, and raced down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown run, his 11th of the season.
The Hokies and Seminoles traded field goals, including a 50-yard boomer from Gano before halftime, giving Virginia Tech the 13-10 advantage as the teams entered their respective locker rooms.
As was the case in last week's North Carolina State game, the Seminoles defense made the proper adjustments and shut the Hokie offense down.
"We are going to have to play 60 minutes if we are going to continue to win," Bowden said. "That is exactly the way we have done. We felt that in the first half, our secondary played too soft, so we adjusted. Mickey (Andrews) told them to tighten up, just jump on them more you know. We did and played a lot better.""
The offense woke up too.
Taiwain Easterling made a fantastic four-yard touchdown catch with about six minutes left in the third quarter to put the 'Noles up for good.
Marcus Sims added another touchdown late in the same quarter from a yard out to put FSU up 24-13.
Virginia Tech fought hard to get back in the game despite losing Glennon to injury. Cory Holt came in the game and did an admirable job for the Hokies, tossing a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andre Smithto bring the score to 27-20.
Up by a touchdown, Florida State's lead was not safe. The Seminoles put together a eight play, 46-yard drive that was capped off by a 46-yard field goal from senior Graham Gano for the final score to put the game out of reach.
"As I said earlier, to be successful, you have to win the close games," Bowden said. "We haven't the last two or three years. We had one close win, we might win one over six. This year we've won the close games.""
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