In a game eerily similar to the 1999 Sugar Bowl game in which the Hokies and Seminoles battled for the national championship, Tech led after three quarters. A 55-yard touchdown pass from Tech quarterback Grant Noel to Davis with 40 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Hokies a 17-13 lead.
But then the big plays by FSU killed Tech. On the first play of the fourth quarter, FSU quarterback Chris Rix found Javon Walker on a 77-yard scoring play that gave the Seminoles a 20-17 lead.
The Hokies drove to the Seminole 32 on their next possession, but tailback Kevin Jones was stopped on fourth-and-1, giving FSU the ball on downs. On the next play, Rix hit Walker again, this time for 50 yards to the Tech 18. That led to a 35-yard field goal by Xavier Beitia with 10:13 left in the game that gave the Seminoles a 23-17.
The Seminoles put the game away late in the fourth quarter. A 23-yard touchdown pass from Rix to Walker accounted for the final margin.
Rix threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, while Walker caught four passes for 195 yards - a new Gator Bowl record - and two touchdowns.
Noel completed 15-of-27 for 269 yards for Tech. Davis was the Hokies' MVP in the game, catching five passes for 158 yards and a score.
The loss marked the end of the careers of 22 Tech seniors. That senior class went down as the winningest class in school history with a 39-9 record.
The Gator Bowl appearance marked Tech's ninth-straight bowl game, a current feat matched by only six other college teams.