On Thursday night, as a season filled with high expectations continued to slip away, Florida State Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel had a rallying cry for his beleaguered, battered and bruised teammates: Believe.
Manuel walked up and down the sideline as Virginia Tech K Cody Journell pushed a 21-yard go-ahead field goal through the uprights with two minutes to go, pleading for his teammates to not lose hope and faith that he could bring them back for the critical road victory.
Less than two minutes later, the faith was rewarded when Manuel hit Rashad Greene for a 39-yard touchdown pass to put Florida State ahead. Manuel didn’t just talk about bringing his team back, he did it on the field.
They would hold on, of course. At 9-1, Florida State isn’t going to have an opportunity to play for a BCS Title as some predicted before the season. They will, however, likely finish this season as ACC Champions with a ticket to the Orange Bowl. If FSU isn’t quite all the way back to the glory days, they are getting closer and closer.
If this season were being played in the future, FSU would be tagged as the “sleeper” team in the postseason tournament that few teams would want to play against. Why? Despite being largely ignored since a loss to N.C. State last month, the Seminoles have pasted together quite the season resume.
Heading into the final weekend of conference play, Jimbo Fisher’s team leads the nation in total defense, third-down defense, and yards per play on offense.
It might just be time to believe in Florida State’s chances of winning a BCS game this season.