2005 ACC Championship Game
Name=2005 ACC Championship Game
Date=December 3, 2005
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Visitor Name Short=Florida State
Home Name Short=Virginia Tech
Brent Musberger, Jack Arute,
The 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship Game was a regular-season American college football contest at
Jacksonville Municipal Stadiumin Jacksonville, Floridabetween the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Florida State Seminoles. The game decided the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conferencefootball championship. Florida State University (FSU) defeated Virginia Tech 27–22 in a game characterized by penalties, defense, and a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by Virginia Tech. The game was the final contest of the regular season for the two teams, as bowl games are not considered part of the regular season. In addition, the contest marked the inaugural championship game for the recently expanded conference.
Virginia Tech entered the 2005 season having won the 2004 ACC Championship, the last to be awarded without playing a championship game at the end of the season. Tech won its first eight games and appeared to be on course to have an untroubled run to the ACC Championship Game. But against the fifth-ranked Miami Hurricanes, Tech suffered its first defeat of the season, losing 27–7 on November 5. Because each team had one ACC loss (Miami had previously lost to Florida State) and the Hurricanes had the tie-breaking head-to-head win, Miami had the lead in the Coastal Division. But Miami later lost a second ACC game to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and the Hurricanes were knocked out of contention for the Coastal Division title in favor of the Hokies, who lost only to Miami.
Florida State earned its bid to the ACC Championship game by fighting through an Atlantic Division schedule that included several nationally-ranked teams. After defeating ninth-ranked Miami in their opening contest, the Seminoles won their next four games before losing at Virginia in a close match. Additional losses to North Carolina State and Clemson at the end of the season almost eliminated the Seminoles from contention for a spot in the championship game, but losses by Clemson and the other Atlantic Division leaders gave the Seminoles a second chance and set up an ACC Championship game between Florida State and Virginia Tech. The two teams had previously played in the 2000 National Championship Game, and the rematch served as a point of public interest.
The first two quarters of the game were characterized by defense and penalties that stifled both teams' offenses. In the second half, Florida State took advantage of a
punt returnfor a touchdownto begin a third-quarter surge. Although Virginia Tech made a late-game comeback, Florida State ran out the clock and secured a 27–22 victory. Florida State's win earned it the 2005 ACC Championship and a bid to the 2006 Orange Bowlagainst Penn State. Virginia Tech was awarded a bid to the 2006 Gator Bowlagainst Louisville. Following that game, Tech quarterback Marcus Vickwas released from the team due to repeated violations of team rules and several legal infractions.
ACC Championship Gametraditionally matches the winner of the Coastal and Atlantic Divisions of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Prior to 2005, no championship game existed. The idea for a championship game originated with the league's 2004 expansion, which added former Big Eastmembers Miami, [ [http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2003/06/26/Sports/Acc-Invites.Miami.Va.Tech-1354314.shtml ACC invites Miami, Va. Tech] Tim Candon, "The Daily Tar Heel", June 26, 2003. Accessed December 6, 2007.] Virginia Tech, [ [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2003-06-27-acc-expansion_x.htm Virginia Tech sealing move to ACC] Staff and Wire Reports, "USA Today", June 23, 2003. Accessed December 8, 2007.] and (in 2005) Boston College. [ [http://media.www.dailycollegian.com/media/storage/paper874/news/2003/10/24/Sports/Eagles.Move.Just.Another.BcsWindle-1554332.shtml?sourcedomain=www.dailycollegian.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com Eagles' move just another BCS-windle] Brendan Hall, The "Massachusetts Daily Collegian", October 24, 2003. Accessed December 6, 2007.] A request to the National Collegiate Athletic Associationby conference officials to hold a championship game following the 2004 season was rejected because the ACC lacked the requisite 12 teams, and so the league's first championship game had to wait until after Boston College's addition, which had been delayed at the school's request. [ [http://www.foxreno.com/cfoot/2760971/detail.html NCAA Rejects Potential ACC Championship Game] SportsNetwork, FoxReno.com. January 13, 2004. Accessed December 16, 2007.] With the addition of Boston College, the ACC consisted of 12 teams, allowing it to hold a conference championship game under NCAA rules. [ [http://www.centralohio.com/ohiostate/stories/20030708/football/611709.html ACC expansion doesn't concern members of SEC] Tim Vacek, Gannett News Service, July 8, 2003. Accessed December 6, 2007.] Before the start of the 2005 season, both Virginia Tech and Florida State were picked as pre-season favorites to play in the championship game in an annual poll conducted by members of the media who cover the ACC. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/25/AR2005072501462.html Hokies Are Early Favorites In New ACC] "The Washington Post", Page E01, July 26, 2005. Accessed December 30, 2007.]
The Hokies began the 2005 regular season ranked eighth in the country, and played their first game at ACC opponent North Carolina State. It was a close-fought game, but
quarterback Marcus Vickthrew a game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the defense slowed a late NC State rally as Virginia Tech earned a 20–16 win. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/recaps/2005095aaa.html Hokies hang on to down N.C. State in season opener] Jimmy Robertson, Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com, September 5, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2008.] Following the close call against NC State, the Hokies blew out their next several opponents. Virginia Tech defeated Duke and Ohio by scores of 45–0 each. The Virginia Tech defense held Duke's offense to just 35 total yards, an NCAA record. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/recaps/20050910aaa.html Tech 'D' stymies Duke as Hokies open season 2-0] Jimmy Robertson, Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com, September 10, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2008.] Following those victories, Tech hosted 15th-ranked Georgia Tech, beating the Yellow Jackets by a score of 51–7. Tech's defensive success in those games was typical of the season as Virginia Tech won the first eight games of its season. [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/pastschedules.html?season=2005 Virginia Tech Football Past Schedules Database] 2005–2006 Football Schedule, Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com. Accessed January 12, 2008.]
In their ninth game, however, third-ranked Virginia Tech suffered its first loss. On a Thursday night game at home, the Hokies lost 27–7 to the fifth-ranked Miami Hurricanes. Normally, a loss to the division-rival Hurricanes would have knocked the Hokies out of contention for the ACC Championship Game, as Miami had the tie-breaking head-to-head victory and was expected to win the remainder of its games. But because Virginia Tech won the rest of its games and the Hurricanes lost two ACC contests, (Virginia Tech's only ACC loss was to Miami) the Hokies won the Coastal Division championship and qualified for the championship game over Miami. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/recaps/20051127aab.html Tech Downs UNC 30-3; Heading to ACC Championship] Matthew Spiers, Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com, November 26, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2008.]
The Seminoles, like Virginia Tech, were picked as pre-season favorites to win their division. Florida State opened its 2005 season against traditional rival Miami, ranked ninth in the country. In a defensive struggle, Florida State managed to upset the favored Hurricanes, 10–7. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=252480052 Late Hurricanes mistake seals win for Seminoles] The Associated Press, ESPN.com. September 5, 2005. Accessed April 25, 2008.] Following the victory, Florida State went on a four-game winning streak, defeating Syracuse, Boston College, Wake Forest, and The Citadel en route to a 5–0 record. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/05-fsu-m-footbl-CumulativeStats.html 2005 Florida State Football Cumulative Statistics] Florida State Sports Information Department, seminoles.cstv.com, January 12, 2006. Accessed January 12, 2008.]
In the Seminoles' sixth game of the season, they traveled to Charlottesville,
Virginiato face the Virginia Cavaliers. In a hard-fought game, the Seminoles lost, 26–21, earning their first loss of the season. After winning their next two games, Florida State lost to NC State, Clemson, and 19th-ranked Florida, the first time they had three consecutive losses since 1983. [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/112605aaa.html Florida State Falls In Gainesville] The Associated Press, seminoles.cstv.com, November 26, 2005. Accessed January 12, 2008.] Florida State ended the regular season with a conference record of 5–3, but because one of those losses had been against a Coastal Division opponent, Florida State finished with the best Atlantic Division record and was named that division's representative to the ACC Championship Game.
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick was predicted to be the key player for the favored Virginia Tech Hokies in pregame discussion. Vick had led the Hokies to a fifth place national ranking and an offense that earned 610 rushing yards in the final two games of the regular season. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview?gameId=253370259 Vick key to Hokies chances in ACC title game] The Associated Press, ESPN.com. November, 2005. Accessed December 17, 2007.] Off the field, the matchup between head coaches also was a point of interest. At the time, Florida State head coach
Bobby Bowdenwas the winningest active head coach in college football, while Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamerwas the third-winningest. Beamer had never defeated Bowden in a game. [ [http://www.theledger.com/article/20071111/NEWS/711110485/1002 Beamer's #11 Hokies Finally Beat Bowden] Hank Kurz, Jr., The Associated Press, TheLedger.com. November 11, 2007. March 13, 2008.] Before the game, Beamer was named the ACC's 2005 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/29/AR2005112901493.html Beamer Named ACC Coach Of the Year] Mark Schlabach, "The Washington Post", E05, November 30, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
In addition, the game was a rematch of the
2000 BCS National Championship Game. In that game, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, Florida State defeated Virginia Tech 46–29 despite the performance of Hokie quarterback Michael Vick, who would later be selected as the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. [cite web |author=Jim Trotter |title=Vick-Tomlinson was the ultimate win-win trade |publisher=National Football League |date= 2004-10-13|url=http://images2.nfl.com/news/story/7787935 |accessdate=2007-05-01 ] Vick's brother, Marcus, would be the Hokies' starter at quarterback for the 2005 ACC Championship Game. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/AR2005120101767.html For Hokies, a Florida State Map] "Mark Schlabach", "The Washington Post", E01, December 2, 2005. Accessed December 25, 2007.]
The Virginia Tech offense was led by quarterback Marcus Vick, brother of former Tech all-star Michael Vick. Coming off a season-long suspension in 2004, Vick threw for 1,855 yards, 14
touchdowns and nine interceptions in the 2005 season leading up to the ACC Championship. Vick also ran for four touchdowns during the season and earned first-team All-ACC honors. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf 2005 ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com. "All Eyes on Vick", Page 13. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Receiving Vick's passes were a number of wide receiversand tight ends. Tight end Jeff King, a second-team All-ACC selection, had 20 receptions for 230 yards and five touchdowns for the season before the ACC Championship. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf 2005 ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com. "Using the Tight Ends", Page 14. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Wide receivers Eddie Royaland David Clowneyalso had statistically significant seasons heading into the conference championship. Royal had 21 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns during the regular season, while Clowney had 28 catches for 515 yards and three touchdowns. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf 2005 ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com. "Royal Flush", Page 13. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
Virginia Tech's rushing offense was led by several different
running backs: Mike Imoh, Branden Ore, and Cedric Humes. In 2005, Hokie running back Cedric Humes had accumulated a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns against North Carolina in the Hokies' final regular-season game. Backup running back Branden Ore ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 17 attempts, the second time in as many games that Humes and Ore ran for 100 yards or more in the same game. The Hokies ran 31 times in the second half and threw only two passes. A similar running game was predicted for the ACC Championship Game. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/26/AR2005112601369.html Va. Tech Claims ACC Title Game Berth] Mark Schlabach, "The Washington Post", E01, November 27, 2005. Accessed December 24, 2007.] Imoh, meanwhile, was limited by an ankle injury suffered during the course of the season. Heading into the conference championship game, he had rushed for 415 yards and three touchdowns. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf 2005 ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information, Hokiesports.com. "Finding Imoh", Page 12. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
The day before the game, Florida State center David Castillo was named to the
ESPN the MagazineAcademic All-America Second Team, which recognizes college football players who have achieved academic success. Writers and staffers at the magazine vote on a list of players, which is separated into "teams" based on position and performance. Castillo, who was a key component of the Seminoles' offensive line, was also a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, informally known as the "academic Heisman". [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120205aaa.html Castillo Named To 2005 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Second Team] Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. December 2, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Castillo, normally a backup, was scheduled to start the game due to the first-half suspension of guard Cornelius Lewis and a season-ending injury to offensive tackleCory Niblock. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111405aad.html Offensive Tackle Cory Niblock Lost For Season With Torn ACL] Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 14, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.] [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/112905aaa.html Tuesday's Football Practice Report] Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 29, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
Drew Weatherfordrecorded a statistically impressive year and was the top freshman quarterback in the nation in terms of passing yardage and passing touchdowns. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/weatherford_drew00.html Drew Weatherford] Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Wide receivers Willie Reid, Greg Carr and Chris Davis were the primary beneficiaries of Weatherford's passing offense during the 2005 season. Carr, a freshman, caught 27 passes for 593 yards and a conference-leading nine touchdowns. Davis, a junior, caught more passes and recorded more receiving yards during the 2005 season than he had in both his previous seasons combined. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/fsu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/05bowl_guide.pdf 2006 Orange Bowl Media Guide] (PDF) Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. Page 5. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Reid, the lone senior starting in the Florida State corps of wide receivers, played in a variety of positions on offense and held the Seminoles' team record for most punt returnyardage. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111405aac.html Reid Is A Jack Of All Trades] Chuck Walsh, Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 14, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
The Seminoles' rushing offense was led by starting running backs
Leon Washingtonand Lorenzo Booker. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/fsu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/05bowl_guide.pdf 2006 Orange Bowl Media Guide] (PDF) Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. Page 12. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Booker led the team in rushing yardage, rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, and average yards per game. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/fsu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/05bowl_guide.pdf 2006 Orange Bowl Media Guide] (PDF) Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. Page 18. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Washington was the tenth-ranked rusher in Florida State history in terms of rushing yardage. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/fsu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/05bowl_guide.pdf 2006 Orange Bowl Media Guide] (PDF) Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. Page 28. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
Heading into the ACC Championship game, the Virginia Tech defense was ranked first in the nation for total defense and scoring defense. [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, "Countdown to Kickoff", Page 2. Accessed January 25, 2008.] In pass defense, the Hokies were second in the nation, allowing an average of just 88.38 yards a game. ACC rival Miami was first, allowing just 84.57 yards per game on average. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, "Team Rankings", Page 42. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
On the field, the Tech defense was captained by safety Justin Hamilton, who recorded 26 tackles and three
interceptions during the 2005 season. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, "The Captain's Spot", Page 16. Accessed March 5, 2008.] On the defensive line, Tech's most significant defensive players were defensive ends Chris Ellis and Darryl Tapp. Tapp, an All-ACC selection, recorded 41 tackles (including nine sacks), three forced fumbles, and a blocked field goal. Ellis recorded defensive MVP honors for the Hokies' first-ranked defense. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, "Book (Defensive) Ends", Page 17. Accessed March 5, 2008.] At linebacker, the Hokies started Vince Halland Xavier Adibi. Hall, a second-team All-ACC performer, led the team in tackles and returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown during the regular season. Adibi recorded 61 tackles during the season, having recovered from a torn muscle suffered during the 2004 season. [ [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/notes/12032005.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes] (PDF) Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, "Call 9-11", Page 19. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
On defense, the Seminoles were led on the defensive line by
nose guardBrodrick Bunkley, who ranked among Florida State's historical leaders in tackles for loss. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111105aab.html Broderick Bunkley -- The Man Behind The Mask] Jennifer Hunter, Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 11, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.] Also on the defensive line was defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, who was among the ACC's leaders in recorded sacks. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111405aab.html There's More To Wimbley Than Meets The Eye] Tina Thomas, Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 14, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.] At linebacker, the Seminoles had A.J. Nicholson, who was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, traditionally given to the best linebacker in college football. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111305aab.html The Nicholson Tradition Must Go On] Jon Bartek, Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. November 13, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2008.]
By the end of the 2005 season, the Seminoles recorded five blocked kicks, 12 interceptions, and more than 1,000 tackles. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/05-fsu-m-footbl-CumulativeStats.html 2005 Florida State Football Cumulative statistics] Florida State Athletics department, seminoles.cstv.com. January 12, 2006. Accessed March 12, 2008.] The Seminoles finished the season ranked 12th in rushing defense and 14th in total defense. [ [http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2005&div=4&rpt=IA_teamrushdef&site=org IA National Team Report: Rushing Defense] NCAA, [January 4] , 2006. Accessed March 12, 2008.] [ [http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2005&div=4&rpt=IA_teamtotdef&site=org IA National Team Report: Total Defense] NCAA, [January 4] , 2006. Accessed March 12, 2008.]
The 2005 ACC Championship Game kicked off in Jacksonville, Florida at 8:11 p.m. on December 3, 2005. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=253370259 Florida State pulls off VaTech upset, clinches BCS berth] The Associated Press, ESPN.com, December 4, 2005. Accessed December 17, 2007.] The game was televised on ABC in the United States, and earned a
Nielson ratingof 5.1, higher than that of either the Big 12 Championship Gameor the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/28/AR2007112802242.html Success Doesn't Equal Sellouts for ACC] Adam Kilgore, the "Washington Post", E03, November 29, 2007. Accessed December 17, 2007.] Brent Musberger, Jack Arute, and Gary Danielsonwere the broadcasters for the game. At kickoff, the weather was mostly cloudy with an air temperatureof convert|67|°F|°C|lk=on degrees. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Box Score (Final)] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, Page 2, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.] Approximately 72,429 fans were present at the game, but more than 75,000 tickets had been sold. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Box Score (Final)] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, Page 1, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.] Virginia Tech won the pre-game coin toss, but elected to defer its choice to the second half, forcing Florida State to have the ball on offense to begin the game. [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/05champrecords.pdf ACC Championship Game Notes and Records] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, December 4, 2005. Jacksonville, Florida. Accessed January 26, 2008.]
Florida State received the ball to begin the game, and returned the opening
kickoffto its 19-yard line. In his opening drive, Seminoles quarterbackDrew Weatherford completed several long passes, including a long 37-yard strike from his own 48-yard line to drive the Seminoles' offense inside the Virginia Tech red zone. Once there, however, the Florida State offense began to struggle with the Virginia Tech defense, which had recovered somewhat from the initial shock of Weatherford's offensive success. On the three plays that followed Weatherford's 37-yard pass, Florida State managed only six positive yards, but this total was largely negated by a five-yard false startpenalty that pushed FSU's offense backward. Facing a fourth down, Florida State coach Bobby Bowdensent in kicker Gary Cismesia to attempt a 31-yard field goal. The kick was successful, and the three points gave Florida State an early 3–0 lead with 11:06 remaining in the quarter.
Virginia Tech's first possession of the game began at its 15-yard line after the Florida State kickoff. Hokie quarterback
Marcus Vickcompleted his first pass of the game, a nine-yard toss to Eddie Royal, and the Hokies picked up a first down on the next play. From there, however, things began to go downhill for the Virginia Tech offense. Vick was sacked on the next play, running back Cedric Humes was tackled for a five-yard loss, and the Hokies committed a five-yard false start penalty. The miscues prevented Virginia Tech from gaining another first down, and the Hokies were forced to punt the ball away. Florida State recovered the kick at the 50-yard line and began its second offensive possession of the game. Although Weatherford completed his first pass of the drive, both subsequent passes fell incomplete. The Seminoles punted the ball back to Virginia Tech, and the kick rolled into the end zone for a touchback.
The Florida State touchback allowed Vick to start at his 20-yard line for Virginia Tech's second possession of the game. The possession began no better than the first one, as Virginia Tech committed a 10-yard holding penalty on the first play. On subsequent plays, however, the Hokie offense began to move the ball with success. Vick completed a 12-yard pass to
wide receiverEddie Royal, and the offense was aided by a 15-yard Florida State penalty, which gave the Hokies an automatic first down. Following the first down, Vick completed the first big Virginia Tech play of the game, throwing the ball 35 yards downfield to Justin Harper, who caught it in Florida State territory. Two more plays pushed Virginia Tech to the edge of the Florida State red zone, but a penalty and another sack prevented the Hokies from advancing the ball further. Virginia Tech was forced to send in kicker Brandon Pace to attempt a 45-yard field goal. The kick was good, and Virginia Tech had tied the game 3–3 with 1:00 remaining in the quarter.
After receiving the post-field goal kickoff, the Florida State offense began another drive. After an incomplete pass and a short rush, Weatherford completed a 12-yard pass for a first down as time expired in the quarter. After 15 minutes of play, the score was tied 3–3, but Drew Weatherford had begun driving Florida State offense down the field. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/playbyplay?gameId=253370259&period=1 1st Qtr Play-by-Play] ESPN.com, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
Having earned a first down with the final play of the first quarter, Drew Weatherford and the Florida State offense ran into difficulty as the second quarter began. An incomplete pass and a rush for no gain were followed by a false start penalty and another incomplete pass, and Florida State was forced to punt. Virginia Tech recovered the ball at its 26-yard line, but failed to capitalize on the defensive stop. Marcus Vick threw two incomplete passes and was sacked before Virginia Tech was forced into a punt.
Following the punt, the two teams continued to trade possessions throughout the quarter. Defense dominated, and what few big plays occurred were either neutralized by penalties or stopped by incomplete passes or rushes for no gain. In the second quarter, Virginia Tech punted the ball twice and turned the ball over on downs once. Florida State punted the ball three times and had the ball when time ran out in the quarter. Neither team managed to score, and only twice did either team manage to penetrate into the opponent's territory. At halftime, the score remained tied, 3–3. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/playbyplay?gameId=253370259&period=2 2nd Qtr Play-by-Play] ESPN.com, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
Because Florida State had received the game's opening kickoff, Virginia Tech received the ball to begin the second half. As in the first half, however, the Virginia Tech offense failed to advance the ball in any meaningful fashion. Marcus Vick threw two incompletions and running back Cedric Humes managed a short three-yard dash. Forced to punt the ball away yet again, Virginia Tech set up the game's critical play. From his 34-yard line, punter Nic Schmitt kicked the ball 49 yards to the Seminoles' Willie Reid, who broke through the Virginia Tech
special teamspunt coverage for an 89-yard punt-return touchdown. Reid's return was the first touchdown of the game and the first touchdown in ACC Championship Game history. With 13:46 remaining in the third quarter, Florida State had taken a 10–3 lead.
After the kickoff, the Hokie offense continued the lethargy that had characterized its play in the first half, as Mike Imoh was stopped for no or little gain on consecutive plays before the Hokies were called for a five-yard illegal procedure penalty. On the next play, Florida State capitalized on the momentum it had gained with Reid's punt-return touchdown as defender Pat Watkins intercepted Marcus Vick's pass, returning it to the FSU 44-yard line. Drew Weatherford and the Seminole offense, with the game's momentum firmly in their favor, wasted no time expanding their lead. Weatherford completed a 6-yard pass, then a 21-yard one, and was aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty against Virginia Tech. Deep inside Virginia Tech territory, the third play of the drive was a 14-yard touchdown rush by Leon Washington. The speed of the drive, after a nearly scoreless first half, frustrated the Virginia Tech defense, which committed a 15-yard personal foul after the touchdown. The scoring drive had taken just three plays and 54 seconds, and gave Florida State a 17–3 lead with 10:23 remaining in the quarter.
Their frustration clearly apparent, the Virginia Tech offense fared no better on their next possession. Two plays were stopped for no gain, and the only positive play—a five-yard pass to Eddie Royal—was negated by a false start penalty. The Hokies were again forced to punt the ball away to Florida State, their fifth of the game. The punt allowed FSU to start at their own 46-yard line, and at first, the Seminoles were able to capitalize on that opportunity, showing some of the effectiveness that characterized their prior drive. Lorenzo Booker ran for 24 yards on two plays, but afterwards, Drew Weatherford threw two incompletions. A false start penalty backed up the Seminoles, who were forced to punt after failing to pick up the first down. The kick was an excellent one, and Florida State's special teams were able to get downfield and stop the ball inside the Virginia Tech one-yard line, again hurting the Hokie offense.
Though hampered by the need to work inside his own end zone, Marcus Vick completed an 11-yard pass to tight end Jeff King for a first down. The play was the sole positive gain for the VT offense, however, and Virginia Tech was forced into its sixth punt of the game. The kick was a poor one, and traveled only 28 yards before flying out of bounds. Thanks to the bad kick, Weatherford was able to start his offense inside Virginia Tech territory, and took advantage of the situation. On the first play after the punt, Weatherford completed a 41-yard throw downfield to Willie Reid, who hauled in the ball at the Virginia Tech three-yard line to give the Seminoles a first and goal. After a failed quarterback sneak, however, Florida State was penalized 10 yards for holding and Weatherford was sacked for a loss of three yards on the next play. Although unable to cross the goal line for a touchdown, FSU did send in kicker Gary Cismesia for his second field goal attempt of the day. The kick, a 41-yarder, was good and gave Florida State a 20–3 lead with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Following the kickoff, Virginia Tech's offense took the field badly needing to cut down Florida State's lead in order to allow enough time for a fourth-quarter comeback. This was not to be, however, as on the sixth play of the drive, wide receiver David Clowney fumbled the ball after catching a three-yard pass from Marcus Vick. The ball was successfully recovered by Florida State's Broderick Bunkley, thus giving Florida State another excellent chance to score from deep inside Virginia Tech territory. On the second play after the fumble, quarterback Drew Weatherford connected on a 22-yard strike to Greg Carr to drive inside the Virginia Tech 10-yard line. A five-yard facemask penalty against Virginia Tech only added to the Hokies' defensive problems, and two plays later, Weatherford capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis, expanding the Florida State lead to 27–3 with just 18 seconds remaining in the quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, any hope of victory was seemingly out of reach for Virginia Tech. Three quick plays after the kickoff resulted in a first down before time ran out, but at the end of the third quarter, Florida State still had a 27–3 lead. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/playbyplay?gameId=253370259&period=3 3rd Qtr Play-by-Play] ESPN.com, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
Virginia Tech began the fourth quarter in possession of the ball and with a first down, but trailing by 24 points and virtually out of the game. The first two plays of the fourth quarter were similar to what the Tech offense had shown all game: an incomplete pass and a rush for no yards. On the third play, however, Florida State was penalized 15 yards for having too many players on the field, and Virginia Tech was awarded an automatic first down. The penalty allowed the Hokie offense to continue its drive, and Marcus Vick scrambled for 16 yards on the next play, then threw a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Morgan, who broke free for a touchdown. The score was Virginia Tech's first touchdown of the game, and came with 13:03 remaining in the game. Following the touchdown, the Hokies attempted a
two-point conversion, but Vick's pass fell short and the conversion attempt failed. The score cut the Florida State lead to 27–9, but this was still a large margin for the amount of time remaining in the game.
Florida State received the post-score kickoff merely needing to run down the clock to secure its lead and the win. Two complete passes set up a third-and-two for Drew Weatherford, but his third-down pass fell short, stopping the clock and forcing a Florida State punt. Only a minute and a half had run off the clock, and Virginia Tech recovered the punt at its 22-yard line. On the second play after the punt, Florida State committed a
pass interferencepenalty that gave Virginia Tech 15 automatic yards and a first down. As in the previous drive, the penalty kick-started the Virginia Tech offense. On the next play, Vick connected with Josh Morgan on a 50-yard pass—the longest offensive play of the game—that drove the Hokies to the Florida State nine-yard line. After that, a Florida State holding penalty gave Virginia Tech a first-and-goal from inside the FSU five-yard line. Marcus Vick scrambled four yards for the touchdown, and what had been a 24-point Seminole lead was now cut to 11 points. The drive had taken just 55 seconds off the clock, and it appeared that Virginia Tech still had a chance to make it a close game. As before, Virginia Tech attempted a two-point conversion, and as before, it failed. With 10:50 remaining in the game, the score was now Florida State 27, Virginia Tech 15.
Florida State began work at its 30-yard line, again needing to just run down the clock to ensure victory. As before, however, Drew Weatherford took to the air, throwing a two-yard pass. Two rushing plays followed, but were stopped for little gain. Florida State again went three-and-out and had to punt. Two and a half minutes had been run off the clock, and Virginia Tech took over at its own 30-yard line after a seven-yard kick return. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Play-by-Play Summary (4th Quarter)] (PDF) TheACC.com, The Atlantic Coast Conference, "2005 ACC Championship Stats", Page 17. December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.] Unlike the two previous drives, however, Virginia Tech had almost no success on offense. A 10-yard holding penalty pushed the Hokie offense back to start the drive, and quarterback Marcus Vick was sacked for a loss to finish off the Tech possession. VT was forced to punt the ball back to Florida State, which took over at its 43-yard line with 6:21 remaining.
By this point in the game, Florida State was fully committed to running down the clock and executed three straight rushing plays to keep the time running out. Virginia Tech was forced to use two of its
timeouts to stop the clock, but was eventually successful in forcing a Seminole punt. The kick rolled inside the Virginia Tech 10-yard line before being downed, pinning the Hokies deep in their territory. The first play of Tech's drive was almost a disaster for Virginia Tech, as Marcus Vick fumbled the ball while attempting to avoid a sack. Fortunately for the Hokies, the ball was leapt on by Tech's Duane Brown and the drive stayed alive. Virginia Tech moved the ball downfield through the air with difficulty. Due to the limited time remaining, Virginia Tech was forced to rely mainly on passing plays, which stopped the clock when incomplete or were completed for a first down. A 14-yard pass to Josh Morgan and a 10-yard throw to Cedric Humes moved the Hokies to their 47-yard line. Vick then completed a 19-yard pass to Jeff King and Florida State committed a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Marcus Vick, which was tacked on to the end of the play. After the penalty, Virginia Tech's offense was deep in Florida State territory, and two plays later, Marcus Vick ran into the end zone on a one-yard quarterback scramble. Rather than attempt another two-point conversion, the Hokies kicked the extra point, and with 1:44 remaining, Virginia Tech had closed the gap to 27–22.
In a situation with more time, Virginia Tech would have kicked the ball off to Florida State and hoped for a defensive stop to give the offense a chance for a game-winning drive. With less than two minutes remaining, however, and with Virginia Tech having used all its timeouts, the only chance for the Hokies was to attempt a difficult
onside kick. A successful recovery would give the Hokies another chance on offense. Kicker Brandon Pace teed up the ball, and kicked it forwards, bouncing the ball high into the air to create a jump ballsituation. Virginia Tech's Xavier Adibi recovered the ball, but because the kick had only traveled nine yards before the recovery, the ball was awarded to Florida State. NCAA rules state that an onside kick must travel at least 10 yards before the kicking team can legally touch the ball, [ [http://www.ncaa.org/library/rules/2006/2006_football_rules.pdf 2006 Football Rules] (PDF) NCAA.org, 2006, Page FR-88. Accessed December 23, 2007.] and Pace's kick had not traveled the requisite distance.
Having recovered the ball, and with Virginia Tech having no remaining timeouts and no way to stop the clock, Florida State was able to run out the remaining time in the game and secure a 27–22 victory. Towards the end of the game, players on each team acted with hostility towards each other, and several received personal foul penalties. The penalties had no effect on the final outcome of the game, and Florida State won the ACC Championship Game and an automatic bid to the
2006 Orange Bowl. [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/playbyplay?gameId=253370259&period=4 4th Qtr Play-by-Play] ESPN.com, December 3, 2005. Accessed December 23, 2007.]
Thanks to his performance in leading Florida State to the win, FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford was named the game's
Most Valuable Player. Weatherford finished the game having completed 21 of his 35 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown. [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Individual Statistics (Final)] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, "Final Statistics", December 3, 2005. Accessed January 26, 2008.] Weatherford would eventually finish the season with 3,180 passing yards, the most ever recorded by a freshman quarterback in the ACC. [ [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/weatherford_drew00.html Player Bio: Drew Weatherford] Florida State Sports Information Department, Accessed January 26, 2008.] On the opposite side of the ball, Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick finished the game 26 for 52 with 335 yards, one interception, and one touchdown. Although Vick was slightly better statistically than Weatherford and the Hokies were more statistically successful on offense thanks to Vick, the Most Valuable Player award is not usually given to a player on the losing team.
Virginia Tech turned the ball over twice—once on a
fumbleand once on an interception. The two turnovers resulted in two touchdowns for Florida State, and the resulting 14 points were greater than Florida State's margin of victory. The Seminoles did not turn the ball over during the game. [ [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Drive Chart (Final)] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, "Final Statistics", December 3, 2005. Accessed January 26, 2008.] Both teams were highly penalized during the game. Virginia Tech finished with 17 penalties for 143 yards, while Florida State was penalized 12 times for 114 yards. The penalties affected each team's ability to convert third downs, as Virginia Tech was only able to convert 9 of 20 third-down attempts, while Florida State was successful on just 3 of its 13 attempts. [http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/acc/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/champstats.pdf Team Statistics (Final)] (PDF) The Atlantic Coast Conference, "Final Statistics", December 3, 2005. Accessed January 26, 2008.] Despite trailing for much of the game and running a pass-heavy offense, Virginia Tech dominated the game's time of possession, controlling the ball for over 35 of the game's 60 minutes.
Florida State's 27–22 victory over Virginia Tech secured it the 2005 ACC Championship and a bid to the Orange Bowl. The victory also had ripple effects for
bowl gamebids across the Atlantic Coast Conference and lasting repercussions during the football season that followed the game.
Florida State (8–4) earned a BCS berth despite a record inferior to the other seven BCS teams. Regardless of that fact, the Seminoles' matchup with Penn State (10–1) in the
2006 Orange Bowl, where college football's two winningest coaches, Penn State's 78-year-old Joe Paternoand Florida State's 76-year-old Bobby Bowden, squared off. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/04/AR2005120401218.html Virginia Tech Accepts Gator Bowl Invitation] Eric Prisbell, "The Washington Post", E12, December 5, 2005. Accessed December 25, 2007.]
Virginia Tech accepted a bid to the 2006 Gator Bowl, which was also played in Jacksonville, albeit a month later than the ACC Championship Game. The Gator Bowl Committee selected the Hokies over Miami due to Virginia Tech's reputation for having a large fan base that traveled well. Virginia Tech's selection bumped Miami to the 2005 Peach Bowl, while the Virginia Cavaliers were selected for the
Music City Bowland the Clemson Tigers earned a bid to the Champs Sports Bowl.
In the off-season following the ACC Championship Game and Florida State's selection by the Orange Bowl, the Orange Bowl committee announced it would be entering into an exclusive contract with the ACC to grant the winner of the ACC Championship Game an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl unless it was ranked high enough in the
Bowl Championship Seriesstandings to play in the BCS National Championship Game. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072501258.html ACC, Orange Bowl Make a Deal] "The Washington Post", July 26, 2006, E02. Accessed December 16, 2007.]
Following the ACC Championship Game, Virginia Tech quarterback
Marcus Vickstormed off the field, refusing to talk to reporters. Vick, who picked up a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game, also earned several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the 2006 Gator Bowl, where post-game replays revealed that he purposefully stomped on the leg of Louisville Cardinals' defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Vick claimed he apologized to Dumervil after the game, but Dumervil stated that no apology had been made. In the wake of the incident, Virginia Tech officials announced that they would be conducting a review of Vick's conduct on and off the field. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowls05/news/story?id=2279427 Virginia Tech to review, address Vick's behavior] The Associated Press, ESPN.com, January 3, 2006. Accessed December 30, 2007.]
On January 6, 2006, just a few days after that game, Virginia Tech officials dismissed Vick from the Virginia Tech football team, citing a December 17
traffic stopin which Vick was cited for speeding and driving with a revoked or suspended license. Vick had hidden the information from the team and the infraction was not discovered until January. The traffic stop, an earlier suspension from the team, and his unsportsmanlike conduct during the 2005 ACC Championship Game and 2006 Gator Bowl were used as grounds for his dismissal. [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=ncf&id=2283020 Virginia Tech kicks Marcus Vick off football team] The Associated Press, ESPN.com, January 6, 2006. Accessed December 30, 2007.]
List of Atlantic Coast Conference football champions
Other Conference Championship Games
SEC Championship Game
Big 12 Championship Game
*WAC Championship Game
MAC Championship Game
*Conference USA Championship Game
* [http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-footbl/accfbchamp.html Official website of the ACC Championship Game]
* [http://www.hokiesports.com/football/ Official Virginia Tech football website]
* [http://seminoles.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/fsu-m-footbl-body.html Official Florida State football website]
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