By: Omari Brown
It was homecoming week for the Florida State Seminoles and the University of Virginia Cavaliers were looking to spoil the festivities. The final minutes at Doak Campbell Stadium provided plenty of drama Saturday night and kept Virginia’s ACC title hopes alive. With 1:16 left and FSU trailing by just one point,Lamarcus Joyner’s 32-yard kick return to the FSU 41-yard line gave the ‘Noles an opportunity to seal a victory.
It looked like all the signs pointed to Dustin Hopkins getting the opportunity to kick the game-winner much like what he did last year in the win over Clemson. After two short passes and an incomplete pass quarterback EJ Manuel was sacked on 4th-and-1 in what appeared to seal the Cav’s victory.
However a costly facemask penalty gave Florida State a chance to win the game. Three plays after the 15-yard penalty at the Virginia 30-yard line, Manuel connected with Bert Reed on a completion but he was short of the first-down marker and did not get out of bounds.
While the Cavs bench was celebrating and the Seminole fans were stunned, a booth review revealed that Reed never had possession and FSU would get one more chance for a 48-yard field goal try. “It was a catch to us and it wasn’t a first down either so because of that the clock should continue to run and it ran out,” said Virginia head coach Mike London.
The review break gave Hopkins a chance at a game-winner, which was moved up five yards after a defensive offsides penalty. Hopkins had the chance to nail the 43 yard field goal but it was wide left giving the Cavaliers a rightful reason to celebrate as they escaped with a 14-13 comeback victory over No. 23 Florida State.
With the victory, UVA will face rival Virginia Tech next weekend with the winner of that game claiming the ACC’s Coastal Division title. “Virginia hung in the game; made enough plays to win at the end, made the play they needed to make, had the drive they needed to get. It was all on us as far as keep leaving them in the game,” FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I have never been involved in a game like that,” said London, who was still trying to sort out the chaotic finish.” Mike London said.