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The VT/Florida State Football Rivalry
by Will Stewart,

Florida State has VT's number more than any other ACC football team, beating the Hokies two-thirds of the times the two teams have played. FSU holds a 20-10-1 edge in the series, but as strange as it may seem these days, the Hokies used to lead the series, 10-9-1. But since a 1975 home victory (13-10) by Jimmy Sharpe's Hokies on a 61-yard field goal by Wayne Latimer, Tech has lost 11 straight in the series. Yep, since Bobby Bowden started coaching FSU in 1976, the Noles have owned the Hokies.

The series has produced some memorable games:

1964: VT 20, FSU 11: In 1964, the #10-ranked Seminoles came into Miles Stadium, boasting outstanding wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who would go on to become an Oakland Raider and have an award named after him for the top receiver in college football (the Biletnikoff Award).

The Hokies countered with Virginia Tech legend Bob Schweikert, who in addition to pulling his usual heroics at QB, punted eight times for a 47.4-yard average. The Hokies knocked off FSU 20-11 in a classic game that will still mist over the eyes of any Hokies fortunate enough to have witnessed it.

FSU QB Steve Tensi completed passes to Biletnikoff all over the field that day, with the exception of the Tech end zone, until the very end of the game. Tensi connected with Biletnikoff on a meaningless late TD pass, and Biletnikoff was so frustrated by the day's events that he heaved the ball up into the stands at Hokie fans who were razzing him.

1990: FSU 39, VT 28: In September of 1990, the Hokies traveled to Tallahassee to take on #2 Florida State. VT had just lost a heartbreaker to South Carolina the week before and stood at 2-2. I was three years out of school, and my own personal Hokie football fandom was in such a state at the time that I neglected to listen to the game on the radio, figuring that the Seminoles would crush the Hokies. (It stuns me that I wasn't even listening to the game.)

I got a call that night from my roommate, who was at work. "Are you listening to the game?" he asked breathlessly. No, I told him. "Turn it on," he said. "Tech's winning 21-3."

That was halfway through the second quarter, and indeed VT was having their way with the powerful Seminoles, behind the passing of Will Furrer and the running of Vaughn Hebron. Tech would compile 418 yards of offense on the day, almost equaling the 420 put up by FSU. A Tech offensive line led by Eugene Chung was pushing the Seminoles around.

But as was so often the case in the early part of Frank Beamer's VT career, mistakes undid the Hokies. FSU scored three straight TDs to go back up 25-21 in the third quarter, and Tech responded with a Hebron TD reception to retake the lead 28-25.

It was late in the third quarter, and when Tech's Roger Garland intercepted FSU QB Brad Johnson in VT territory, the Hokies were in good shape. But then Furrer, who had thrown an interception in the end zone in the third quarter, threw into triple coverage, and Terrell Buckley picked it off and went 53 yards for the Noles, putting FSU back up 32-28.

Most of the fourth quarter went by with no change in the score, and then the Hokies mounted a powerful drive that pushed the ball deep into FSU territory with under five minutes to go. The Hokies were running the ball at will, and when Hebron burst through the line on 3rd and 2 from the FSU 33, it looked like Tech had another first down and was marching to a go-ahead TD.

Then Hebron fumbled the football. FSU's Errol McCorvey scooped it up on the bounce and ran it 77 yards for the clinching touchdown with 3:59 to go. FSU won, 39-28.

1991: FSU 33, VT 20: The following season, FSU was scheduled to come to Blacksburg, but VT athletic director Dave Braine, in a cash pinch, said yes when the Citrus Bowl in Orlando offered to pay the Hokies $750,000 to move the game to Orlando. The game was billed as a neutral-site game, but don't kid yourself, it was an FSU crowd all the way.

The decision meant that the Hokies would play five straight games on the road that year, against (gulp) NC State, South Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia and FSU. VT lost each of the first three games, then beat WVU 20-14 on a goal line stand.

In 1991, the Seminoles were a little better than the team Tech almost beat in 1990 -- they were ranked #1 instead of a lowly #2.

The Hokies traveled to Orlando and outgained FSU 420-343, playing a spirited game in the process. But (once again) mistakes and big plays by the Seminoles swung the game their way. VT threw three interceptions -- Buckley returned one of them 71 yards for a score -- and lost a fumble on their own 33 yard line, leading to an FSU touchdown. The game was tied 14-14 midway through the second quarter, but FSU scored three straight TDs to go up 33-14. Tech added a TD late to make the final margin 33-20, Florida State.

1999: FSU 46, VT 29: And then, of course, there's "The Game of Which We Shall Not Speak," the 1999 national championship loss to FSU. We all remember the details of that game, and I won't hash over them here.

But I recall one thing that really put things in perspective. It was a ranking of the top college football teams of all time, a list that was put together shortly after that 1999 season. An extensive web search did not produce a link to that list, so I don't remember which web site compiled the list, but as I recall, it ranked that 1999 Virginia Tech team somewhere in the mid-to-high 30's.  Meaning that there were only about 35 teams better in the entire history of college football, according to the author(s) of the list.

Sadly, the FSU team that beat the Hokies in that championship game was about 20 spots higher on the list.

2001: FSU 30, VT 17: In the 2001 Gator Bowl, it looked as if the Hokies might finally break their long losing streak to Florida State. VT quarterback Grant Noel threw for 269 yards, a VT bowl record at the time, and Tech took a 17-13 lead into the fourth quarter after a 55-yard TD reception by Andre Davis.

But Tech cornerback Ronyell Whitaker inexplicably went to sleep on the job, giving up 155 yards receiving to FSU's Javon Walker on three fourth-quarter receptions, two of which went for touchdowns of 77 and 23 yards. FSU stopped Tech on a critical fourth and 1 in the fourth quarter, and the Seminoles won by nearly two touchdowns.

It has been almost 30 years since VT beat Florida State, and the Hokies won't get a chance to do it again for at least two more years. The Seminoles and Hokies aren't scheduled to meet in 2004 or 2005. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Rookie Diary #8: Adibi Visits the Tennessee Titans
by, 4/16/04, 1:50 pm
I found out early last week that I was going to go to Tennessee. My agent called and said they wanted to talk to me some more, nothing serious. I guess they wanted to get a feel for me a little bit more.
in TSL Pass

A Gym Rat's Notebook #14: A Look Ahead: The Backcourt
by Elijah Kyle, 4/16/04, 10:00 am
One would think after the kind of freshmen seasons registered by Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon that they would be feeling pretty giddy and confident about the next three seasons wearing the maroon and orange colors of the Virginia Tech program. But in a clear sign of the what-have-you-done-for-me lately mentality the predominates major college basketball these days, both would be wise to listen closely for the footsteps looming behind them.
in TSL Pass

ACC Ready to Sign Off on New TV Deal
by Will Stewart,, 4/15/04, 10:25 am
The Greensboro News & Record and Landmark News Service both reported yesterday that the ACC is close to signing off on a new football TV contract with ESPN and ABC that represents a significant increase in the dollar amounts from the league's current contract.
in News and Notes

A Fan's Perspective on the State of the Program
by Robert Teitelbaum, 4/14/04, 3:15 pm
As I write this, I have just finished reading the two newest articles posted on April 12. Michael Hinton has been arrested for malicious wounding and ten . . . TEN, great Hokie footballers are off to bigger and hopefully more lucrative things. If those two things weren’t enough, there is still the looming Vick, Imoh and Hill cases, which should have quite the impact on the whole reason any of us frequent this hallowed web site.
in Voice of the Fan

The State of the Program, Part 6: Recruiting
by Will Stewart,, 4/14/04, 10:55 am
Recruiting is a complex science and a vast, comprehensive subject, but we'll try to deal with it as best we can. You run a risk when you paint the subject of recruiting with broad strokes, but nevertheless, there are some all-encompassing themes that we can highlight so you better understand how the Hokies go about signing the next-generation football players, and what it means for Virginia Tech football.
in TSL Pass

A Major Player in ACC Expansion Moves On
by Jim Alderson, 4/13/04, 3:15 pm
The days, weeks and months draw short until Virginia Tech moves to the ACC. As I ‘X’ off another day on my calendar that has July 1 circled, I notice in the news that one of the major players in last year’s ACC expansion drama is moving on. NC State Chancellor Marye Anne Fox has resigned to take over a similar position at the University of California at San Diego. I shall miss her.
in TSL Pass

Michael Hinton Arrested, Charged With Felony
by Will Stewart,, 4/12/04, 11:20 pm
Backup rover Michael Hinton was arrested early Monday and charged with felony malicious wounding and misdemeanor destruction of property. The charges relate to an incident at a Blacksburg McDonald's late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
in News and Notes

2004 Hokie Draft Preview: A Banner Day Coming?
by Jeff Ouellet, 4/12/04, 11:20 am
For as long as I have been a VT fan, the conclusion of spring practice represents the circle of life, college football style. A dual reality is unmistakable - as Virginia Tech’s young football players show flashes and portend what is to come the following fall, the Hokies’ established stars wait anxiously to hear professional football teams call their name in the annual NFL "selection meeting," suggesting unconditional acceptance of their skills.
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