November 10, 2007
There are rivalries in college football, and then there are those teams you just cannot fucking stand. And if you're brutally honest, the sum total of your hatred revolves around the fact that for whatever reason that team just has your number.
Florida State was that team for Frank Beamer.
Heading into this game, the Hokies were 0-7 against FSU under Frank Beamer, and a disproportionately large number of those losses were of a particularly ego-deflating variety. To this day I remember the clinic that Florida State put on to pull away in the fourth quarter of the Sugar Bowl with the BCS championship on the line, proving that it takes more than the greatest scrambling quarterback the world had ever seen to make a complete, championship-caliber team. Then in the 2001 Gator Bowl history repeated itself as Florida State put 17 unanswered points on the board in the fourth quarter to take the lead and put the game away. Virginia Tech then entered the 2005 ACC championship game against FSU as heavy favorites only to watch Florida State race out to a commanding 27-3 lead after three quarters, aided by a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by the Seminoles. The Hokies managed to put up 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in that one, but it was too little, too late.
It looked as though we were in for a repeat, as Florida State came back from being down 20-6 at one point to take a 21-20 lead into the fourth quarter. But true freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor had something else in mind:
After the game Bobby Bowden had something to say about this play. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I'm sure it contained a "dadgum" or two.
Tyrod showed us what he was capable of against Florida State. He was 10 of 15 through the air for 204 yards, two TDs and one interception, while adding 92 yards and another touchdown on the ground over 17 carries. And keep in mind, he was splitting snaps with Sean Glennon during this game. The conversion on 3rd and 31 was just the exclamation mark on a brilliant performance that left little doubt which Hokies QB had the most upside.
The box score of the fourth quarter of this game reads like the instruction manual for Beamerball: a Tyrod Taylor rush for a touchdown and a pass for a 2-point conversion, a field goal, an interception return for a touchdown, and a safety. The result? Twenty unanswered points and this scene in Lane Stadium:
Now let's be honest. If you were going to get a win against Florida State, the opportunity didn't get much better than 2007. The Seminoles entered Lane Stadium at 6-3 and unranked. They would finish the season with a loss to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl and a final record of 7-5. This was a shell of the program we faced in 1999, and it was the beginning of the end for Bobby Bowden's coaching career.
But to hell with all that, because this was the game that we finally got the Florida State monkey off our back, and for that it earns a spot in the top ten.