Moreover, the Hokies' lightest lineman, 275-pound converted tight end Andrew Lanier, was matched against Florida State's fiercest pass rusher, Jenkins. But if given time, Taylor was throwing against a secondary that yielded 394 passing yards to Oklahoma and 439 to North Carolina.
The line gave Taylor time, and sure enough, he passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns, 170 yards after halftime.
Florida State was without starting quarterback Christian Ponder (elbow), and backup E.J. Manuel of Virginia Beach's Bayside High riddled Tech's secondary at times.
But the Hokies intercepted him twice, and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow returned the first 24 yards for a touchdown after a diving deflection by All-ACC linebacker Bruce Taylor.
Tech's defense also continued to lock down opponents in the second half, limiting Florida State to 62 yards after intermission before a garbage-time drive in the waning seconds.
As Tech heads for the Orange Bowl, most likely against 11-1 Stanford, and eight other ACC teams prepare for likely postseason bids, a fair question is: How good is the league?
Non-conference results were not encouraging. In fact, the most impressive performance may have been Clemson's overtime loss at Auburn in Week 3, when the Tigers twice intercepted presumptive Heisman winner Cam "For Sale" Newton and limited him to 68 yards rushing, more than 40 below his average.
Wins? Maryland and Duke beat Navy, which is 8-3 entering its civil war with Army. North Carolina State won at Central Florida, 10-3 after Saturday's Conference USA title game conquest of Southern Methodist.
Then there's Florida State's 31-7 housing last week of Florida. But the Gators are 7-5, their worst record in Urban Meyer's six seasons as coach.
An uninspiring season for the ACC.
The polar opposite for Virginia Tech.
"I think this is a special group," Beamer said. "One more win in the Orange Bowl, and I'm going to be talking about this team for a long time."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime, and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP.