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ACC Championship Game, Virginia Tech Vs. Florida State: E.J. Manuel Leads Successful First Drive

Christian Ponder not playing hasn't hurt Florida State so far. Seminoles fans can thank E.J. Manuel for that.

The sophomore quarterback led an impressive first drive deep into Virginia Tech territory, and made a great throw to the corner of the end zone on a fade that would have given Florida State its first touchdown of the day. Alas, it was dropped by Taiwan Easterling, forcing the Seminoles to settle for a field goal, which Dustin Hopkins pounded home from 32 yards out.

It's a 3-0 lead for the Seminoles in Charlotte, and a promising start for Manuel, whose two incompletions on the six-play, 53-yard drive were both drops.

Points may be at a premium in the ACC Championship Game, with a slippery turf making offensive execution a bit harder. If Manuel can keep FSU moving like he did on the first drive, the Seminoles might get just enough to win and claim the ACC's automatic BCS bowl berth.