UVa upsets FSU, hangs on in Coastal race

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
11:41
PM ET
In what was arguably the most bizarre finish in the ACC this year -- and probably in recent memory -- Virginia managed to keep its Coastal Division title hopes alive with a 14-13 upset of No. 25-ranked Florida State when kicker Dustin Hopkins, uncharacteristically, missed a field goal as time expired.

For a second time.

The clock expired the first time after a Florida State pass was initially ruled complete and the Seminoles seemed to be completely oblivious to the concept of clock management. Coach Jimbo Fisher caught a huge break, though, and was given a second chance after an official review that lasted longer than four minutes determined the pass to be incomplete, giving Hopkins -- one of the nation's most accurate kickers -- a chance to kick the game-winning field goal.

It wasn't exactly wide right, but it wasn't on target, either.

In many ways, it was a fitting end to a bumbling performance by Florida State, which looked disorganized down the stretch. This was Virginia's game, and for Florida State, it shouldn't have had to come down to replays, officiating, or penalties. The Seminoles made too many mistakes, and for all of the heat ACC officials have taken this season, they got it right when it mattered most. The officials did not lose this game for Florida State. On the contrary, they made the right call on the incomplete pass and gave the Noles another shot that most college football fans would probably say they didn't deserve. FSU was just 3-of-13 on third-downs, had 11 penalties for 94 yards, allowed three sacks, and quarterback EJ Manuel wasn't sharp in the passing game.

Virginia, though, deserved this victory, and the Cavaliers will play rival Virginia Tech for the Coastal Division title on their home turf on Saturday. The Cavaliers have never played in the ACC title game, but after four consecutive wins, there's no reason to doubt they're good enough to do it this season.

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