No. 8 Seminoles rally to beat Hokies 28-22

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No. 8 Seminoles rally to beat Hokies 28-22

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a slant pass that Greene took 39 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds to play and No. 8 Florida State survived a scare to beat Virginia Tech 28-22 on Thursday night.

The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth straight and moved within a victory against Maryland on Nov. 17 of securing a spot in the ACC championship game Dec. 1.

The Hokies (4-6, 2-4) lost for the fifth time in six games and will have to beat Boston College and Virginia in their final regular season games to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th straight year.

The Hokies had gone ahead 22-20 on Cody Journell's 21-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining. The kick capped a 52-yard drive that stalled when Logan Thomas ran for 2 yards on third-and-3 from the 6.

The Hokies limited the Seminoles to 311 yards, more than 200 below their average for the season, and gained possession leading to the go-ahead field goal with a stellar defensive series.

After the Seminoles took over at their 20, Manuel threw incomplete on first down and James Gayle sacked him for a 10-yard loss on second down. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back to the 5 and, when the Seminoles tried running Devonta Freeman to the left, Jack Tyler caught him from behind in the end zone. Freeman tried to throw it, an illegal forward pass, and the safety pulled the Hokies to 20-19.

It also gave them the ball, but when they only managed a field goal, the Seminoles made them pay.

Limited to minus-15 rushing yards for the game, they got 7 from James Wilder Jr. on a fourth-and-1 play from their 41, and Manuel hit Greg Dent for 13 yards two plays later. After Manuel threw a pass away under pressure, he hit Greene on a short slant against a zone defense and Greene took it all the way.

The Seminoles opened a 20-10 lead with a 49-yard touchdown drive after recovering a fumble by Hokies wide receiver Marcus Davis. Manuel completed three passes on the six-play drive, including a 10-yard bullet to Greg Dent in the back of the end zone with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

Virginia Tech replied quickly, driving 80 yards in eight plays. Thomas hit Corey Fuller for 44 and 14 yards on the drive, and ran it in himself from the 5, bulling over several defenders.

The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the third quarter when Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole was hurt and lay face-down and motionless on the field. As the crowd stood in silence, Cole was taken away by ambulance. The school said he had a neck sprain, but had feeling and movement in his extremities.

The Seminoles arrived with the nation's No. 3 scoring offense, averaging nearly 45 points, but the Hokies neutralized it for the first 27 minutes, allowing just a pair of field goals by Dustin Hopkins.

The Seminoles twice started drives near midfield early, and got nothing out of them. The first ended with Donovan Riley's interception of Manuel's pass at the 1, and the second with a three-and-out punt.

But after Thomas drove Virginia Tech 68 yards for the game's first touchdown, giving the Hokies a 10-6 lead, Manuel and the Seminoles -- held to zero yards at that point in the second quarter -- clicked.

Manuel hit Kevin Benjamin for 12 and 17 yards, and then Greene beat Kyle Fuller twice -- for 22 and 25 yards -- to finish a five-play, 71-yard drive in 1:58 to give Florida State a 13-10 lead.

On the Hokies' drive, Thomas connected with Fuller's older brother, Corey, on three third-down plays. The first went for 33 yards on third-and-9, the second for 15 yards on third-and-4 and the last for 4 yards and the touchdown on a perfectly thrown third-and-2 fade to the right corner of the end zone.

Florida State took a 6-3 lead after Tyler Hunter intercepted Thomas' pass at the Hokies 34. Virginia Tech had a chance to tie when it recovered a punt that was fumbled by Hunter at the Seminoles 30 on the next possession, but three plays netted only 4 yards and Cody Journell's 43-yard field goal was wide left.

Virginia Tech Hokies football schedule 2016: Dates, times and where to watch

Virginia Tech Hokies football schedule 2016: Dates, times and where to watch

The Virginia Tech Hokies will begin the 2016 football season at Lane Stadium on Saturday, one week before the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee.

Justin Fuente's first game as head coach will come against the Liberty Flames. Here are the details: 

Who: Liberty Flames vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

What: Week 1 of the 2016 College football season

When: 12:30 p.m., ET, Saturday, Sept. 3

Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.

TV Channel: ACC Network

Virginia Tech Hokies 2016 football schedule:

Game 1 on Sat., Sept. 3: vs. Liberty, 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network

Game 2 on Sat., Sept. 10: Battle at Bristol vs. Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway, 8 p.m. on ABC

Game 3 on Sat., Sept. 17: vs. Boston College, 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU

Game 4 on Sat., Sept. 24: vs. East Carolina, time TBA

Game 5 on Sat., Oct. 8: at North Carolina, time TBA

Game 6 on Sat., Oct. 15: at Syracuse, time TBA

Game 7 on Thu., Oct. 20: vs. Miami, 7 p.m. on ESPN

Game 8 on Thu., Oct. 27: at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. on ESPN

Game 9 on Sat., Nov. 5: at Duke, time TBA

Game 10 on Sat., Nov. 12: vs. Georgia Tech, time TBA

Game 11 on Sat., Nov. 19: at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. on NBC

Game 12 on Sat., Nov. 26: vs. Virginia, time TBA

RELATED: JUCO TRANSFER NAMED HOKIES' STARTING QB FOR OPENER

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

In his first game with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Jerod Evans will be leading the team as the starting quarterback, head coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday. The quarterback competition started as a two-man race between Evans and fifth-year senior Brenden Motley before a late surge by true freshman Josh Jackson turned it into a three-way battle. In the end, however, the decision was no surprise.

Evans, a junior transfer, began his college career at Air Force in 2013. He transferred to Trinity Valley Community College where he developed into a dynamic talent. In 2015, Evans threw for 395.5 yards per game and 38 touchdowns in just eight games before a wrist injury ended his season.

RELATED: HOKIES REVEAL UNIFORMS FOR BATTLE AT BRISTOL

Rated as the No. 1 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in the country, Evans was recruited by Fuente while he was still at Memphis and chose to follow the head coach to Blacksburg.

New coaches are rarely afforded the opportunity of starting their own recruit in their first season at a new school. Given that and the high potential of Evans as a playmaker, it was ultimately no surprise to hear Fuente peg him as the starter.

The announcement came with one caveat, however. Evans was named the starter specifically for the opener against Liberty, but not beyond that. Granted, Evans would have to play pretty poorly to force Fuente into switching starters the week before the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee, but an opener against an FCS team should allow for Fuente to play multiple quarterbacks. If Motley outplays Evans, perhaps it could reignite the quarterback battle.

Even so, Thursday's announcement shows the starting job is now Evans to lose.

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Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

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Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

When Virginia opens the season on Sept. 3 against Richmond, they will have a new quarterback starting under center. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall named junior transfer Kurt Benkert the starting quarterback on Wednesday morning over seniors Matt Johns and Connor Brewer, according to multiple reports.

Benkert was expected to start for ECU just last season, but a knee injury in preseason forced him to miss the entire year. He is considered the most mobile of the three, which given Mendenhall's history with dual-threat quarterbacks, likely was a major factor in the head coach's decision.

RELATED: HOKIES REVEAL UNIFORMS FOR BATTLE AT BRISTOL

As a junior, Benkert was the only candidate with two years of eligibility remaining, a prospect hat reportedly "intrigued" Mendenhall. If Benkert is able to hold on to the position and start next season as well, it would represent a measure of stability Virginia has not known for quite some time.

What likely helped Benkert was the fact that his head coach at ECU, Ruffin McNeill, is now an assistant as UVa. By coming into a school with an offensive system Benkert was familiar with, it eliminated the learning curve most transfers go through with their new teams.

Benkert will replace Johns who was the team's starter last season and co-starter the season before. The fact that the competition was a three-man race at this point in the summer despite Johns' experience was a clear indication that his ability to win back the starting job was in clear jeopardy.

In addition, Mendenhall also announced Johns and Brewer were still competing for the backup role.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: What is the ceiling for Maryland football in 2016?