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Tampa Tribune

TALLAHASSEE - For a team beaten once at home in 50 Atlantic Coast Conference games, seventh-ranked Florida State must have been a little rankled by the circumstances surrounding Saturday night's visit from Virginia.
By the sound of it, you would have thought Miami was coming to town.

Not only were the sixth-ranked Cavaliers a notch higher than the Seminoles in the polls, but they boasted apparent advantages in almost every statistical category and held a one-game lead on the Seminoles in the league standings.

The setup couldn't have been any more ideal for Florida State.

Stoked into an emotional frenzy by the perceived slights, and eager to prove that last week's stumble at Syracuse was an exception, the Seminoles provided a powerful reminder to the Cavaliers and the rest of the ACC: Miami, or not, Florida State isn't exactly ready to be counted among the league pedestrian.

With a near-flawless performance from quarterback Wyatt Sexton and a combined three rushing touchdowns from Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington, the Seminoles rolled to a 36-3 victory.

Combined with a loss by No. 5 Purdue, the win should put the 'Noles (5-1, 3-1 ACC) among the top five when the first BCS standings of the season are released on Monday.

FSU had been 0-6 against teams ranked in the top 10 since a victory against No. 10 Maryland at home in 2001. That was the last, and only other, time that an ACC opponent held a higher ranking than the 'Noles in a game played in Tallahassee.

Sexton completed 20 of 26 passes for 275 yards and a perfectly thrown 24-yard touchdown pass that gave FSU a 19-0 second-quarter lead.

Booker ran for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and Washington scored once and added 68 yards.

Defensively, the 'Noles shut down the highest scoring offense in the ACC, holding the Cavaliers (5-1, 2-1) to a 23-yard field goal by Connor Hughes on the final play of the first half.

Virginia averaged 275 rushing yards a game coming in (fifth-best in the nation), but managed 5 on the ground in the first two quarters.

``We had hard about how good they were on both sides of the ball all week, but our guys came out and got it done,'' Sexton said. ``Our coaches did a great job of game-planning and all we had to do was come out and execute it.''

A crowd of 84,155, the second-largest ever at Doak Campbell Stadium, watched a dominant performance by the FSU defense, which held Virginia to 20 net yards rushing and sacked ACC total offense leader Marques Hagans four times.

The win is FSU's 50th at home in the ACC in 13 seasons and dropped Virginia to 0-23 all-time against top- 10 teams on the road.

If it was supposed to signal a new age in ACC parity, it ended up looking like old times.

``It really did. It was very encouraging,'' FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. ``It's the kind of win that makes me feel like we've put it together.''

After listening to the Virginia hype for a week, and given plenty of time to think about a narrow escape at Syracuse, FSU players said it combined for their best performance of the season.

``We knew if we played like we did last week they were going to run us out of our own stadium,'' Booker said. ``With this, we've got our momentum going and things are starting to click on all cylinders.''
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