ACC Preview: Virginia Tech at Florida state
Associated PressTALLAHASSEE, Fla. ó Virginia Tech ended a 12-game losing streak against Florida State last year and now looks to win in Tallahassee for the first time since 1974 ó two years before Bobby Bowden showed up to coach here.
Today’s game may not rival those the two schools played for the 1999 national championship or the inaugural ACC title in 2005, but the winner maintains a strong position for a place in the league’s title game Dec. 6.
“This is a must-win game,” Seminole tackle Kendrick Stewart said. “We’ve got to come out on top.”
Bowden’s 24th-ranked Seminoles (5-1, 2-1 ACC) lead the alltime series 21-11-1 after the Hokies snapped their winless streak dating to 1975 with a 40-21 win last year in Blacksburg, Va.
The last time the two met in Tallahassee, the Seminoles rallied from a 21-3 deficit for a 39-28 win in 1990. Current Florida State receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey caught 7 passes for 137 yards in a game highlighted by eight interceptions.
Turnovers could be a major factor again Saturday.
Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1) leads the nation with 19 takeaways. Florida State has lost the ball five more times than the Seminoles have taken it from opponents.
“The biggest stat they’ve got that can win a ball game quicker than any other thing is turnovers,” Bowden said. “Turning the ball over would be very big in this game.”
Special teams have always been important in this rivalry.
The Seminoles scored on a punt return and a blocked punt in the 46-29 victory that sealed the school’s lone undefeated season in 1999. Willie Reid’s punt return for a touchdown sparked Florida State’s upset win in the first ACC title game three years ago.
The Hokies intercepted Christian Ponder twice, returning one for a touchdown, and he fumbled once as Virginia Tech nailed down a fourth quarter comeback win on its way to the ACC title last year.
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