A shorthanded and normally run-oriented Cavaliers team caught the fourth-ranked Seminoles off guard by passing its way to its first win against a top-ten opponent in seven years in front of 63, 106 at Scott Stadium.
"Our goal was to stay bold and stay aggressive out there," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "We accomplished that."
The triumph was Virginia's first over FSU since Nov. 2, 1995, when the Cavaliers became the first team to knock off the Seminoles in ACC play. FSU's bid to win its 100th ACC game was also thwarted.
The Cavs sealed the upset when Nate Lyles intercepted an overthrown pass by FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford with 53 seconds to play. Much like they did in 1995, fans spilled onto the field and celebrated with the team.
Trailing 26-10 heading into the final period, the Seminoles did rally late. Chris Davis caught a 22-yard touchdown catch with 12:31 to play that was followed by a completion to Greg Carr on the two-point conversion that brought FSU to within eight.
Gary Cismesia booted a 32-yard field goal at the 7:35 mark but the Seminoles would get no closer.
FSU elected to punt with 3:26 to play when a drive stalled at the UVA 35. The strategy worked - FSU regained possession with just under a minute to play - but was undermined by Weatherford's turnover.
Weatherford was otherwise effective and leaned on heavily. The redshirt freshman set a career-high for passing yardage for the second consecutive week. He completed 35-of-59 attempts for 359 yards but was picked off three times.
The Cavaliers drew upon the elusiveness of Hagans for the majority of the contest, calling a variety of rollout looks to buy time for his receivers to get open. The strategy worked - Hagans completed 16 of his first 20 passes and racked up 224 yards before halftime.
Virginia also toyed with several trick plays. None worked, but the FSU defense was noticeably off-balance and gave up a season-high 306 yards through the air to a Virginia team that chose the pass over the run with both of its starting guards out.
Connor Hughes connected on field goals from 50, 37, 35 and 45 yards out to reward UVA's offensive efforts.
Tight end Jonathan Stupar and tailback Wali Lundy caught first-half touchdown passes for the Cavs, who benefited from FSU impatience to build a 23-10 halftime lead.
The Cavs got a field goal to show for an interception that Weatherford threw when the Seminoles chose to pass from their own 1-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, the Seminoles threw three incompletions and punted, setting the Cavs up with just enough time to notch another touchdown 20 seconds before intermission. A scrambling Hagans dumped off to Wali Lundy just before Ernie Sims brought him to the turf.
The Seminoles ran just eight times in the first half and 20 times in the contest.
FSU's troubles with UVA tight ends continued - Stupar and Tom Santi combined for eight catches and 104 receiving yards.
Willie Reid paced the Seminoles with 100 receiving yards on seven receptions.
Lorenzo Booker contributed 69 rushing yards - 58 of which came on a first-quarter touchdown run - for the Seminoles, who travel to Duke next week.
Cavs Curtail Title Talk
Nole Digest Top Stories
Florida State vs. Nicholls State HighlightsFSU opened the game on a 32-6 run and never looked back, topping Nicholls State, 118-63.
Nole DigestYesterday at 5:54 AM
Florida State in Hot Pursuit of LSU Commit2017 Mobile (Ala.) Murphy defensive lineman Neil Farrell still has LSU No. 1, but he's planning officials and has other schools in hot pursuit of him. Is there a chance for a flip?
Tiger BlitzThursday at 9:30 AM
Inside the Matchup: Michigan vs Florida StateThe Wolverines and the Seminoles battle it out in the Orange Bowl.
Scout CFBThursday at 8:15 AM
Jim Harbaugh Really Loves an FSU TraditionJim Harbaugh could not stop raving about a Florida State tradition during his introductory Orange Bowl press conference
Nole DigestWednesday at 4:06 PM