When #8 Florida State steps foot in Lane Stadium Thursday night they’ll have their hands full. The Thursday night crowd in Blacksburg is highly regarded as one of the most hostile in the country; some of the best ACC games in recent memory have been played in this setting. Sadly, what looked to be a great late-season match up between ACC heavyweights in the preseason has morphed into a good team playing a mediocre team on the road.
Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3 in the ACC) needs to win two of their last three games (FSU, @BC, UVA) just to become bowl eligible. If they fail to do so it’ll be the first time in 19 years that the Hokies don’t make it to a bowl game (snapping the 3rd longest bowl streak in the country). They’ve already snapped their streak of 10-win seasons (eight years in a row). In a season that has gone south for VT, Thursday night’s game gives the Hokies a chance at redemption. If they can beat the top team in the ACC it would give them some much-needed momentum heading into the crucial home stretch. Becoming bowl eligible is the goal in Blacksburg now, the only goal, and it starts tomorrow night.
What to Watch for
Florida State is legit. Not as legitimate as say, Alabama, but they’ve proven themselves to be the class of the ACC. Quarterback E.J. Manuel is in the top-three for ACC player of the year as he leads one of the most efficient offenses in the country. In their last three games the Seminoles have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 44 to 11. So, the Hokies will have their hands full trying to match up with the Nole’s pressure packages on defense and play makers on offense. While this game has the potential to be Tech’s signature win of the season there’s also a feeling that, judging by the Hokies recent play, this game could turn ugly quickly.
Stop hitting yourself…To say the Hokies have a habit of beating themselves would be a massive understatement. Last week they out gained Miami 421 to 327, had more first downs, a better 3rd down percentage, and won time of possession, but because of a blocked punt, kickoff return for a TD, and poor red zone efficiancy they lost the game 30-12. Suffice it to say, if VT took better care of the ball and was able to finish more drives with a TD, they’d be ranked and this game against FSU would carry national implications. Instead, the Hokies have lost five games do to their own mistakes.
Last week I predicted a shoot-out loss to Miami. It turned out VT left their offense at home as they could hardly muster ten measly points. Almost every week this season I’ve incorrectly predicted the outcome of these games, but like the Hokies I aim to finish the season strong and become bowl eligible myself.
I expect the Noles to be amped for a true road game, the Hokies to be playing like a team with nothing to lose (because…they have nothing to lose), and Lane Stadium to be the loudest place in VA come kickoff. Still, the Noles are too talented and the Hokies wont be mentally tough enough to rebound once they fall down a few scores.
FSU 38 – VT 20
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.