Georgia Tech: 15
Florida State: 21
Following a tough loss to Georgia to close the regular season, the Jackets looked to rebound against 13th-ranked Florida State in the ACC Championship Game for a chance to earn a BCS berth in the Orange Bowl.
The Seminoles entered the game at 10-2, having recently fallen to the Florida Gators in the regular season finale to fall from the top-10. Their only other loss came at the hands of the N.C. State Wolfpack in a stunning 17-16 upset in early October, virtually ending their hopes for a national title.
The schools last met in 2009 when the Jackets dropped the ‘Noles 49-44 for their first-ever victory in Tallahassee en route to the 2009 ACC Championship. Florida State’s last victory in the series came in 2003 when Chan Gailey’s Jackets blew a 13-0 lead in the last seven minutes to fall 14-13 in heartbreaking fashion.
Georgia Tech opened the game with a three-and-out that gained no yards and a 20 yard punt that gave the Seminoles the ball at the Yellow Jacket 43 yard line.
E.J. Manuel found Lonnie Pryor for 21 yards on first down to the 22 and the ‘Noles would score five plays later on a 3 yard run by Devonta Freeman to jump out to an early 7-0 advantage.
The next few series were dominated by the defenses until the Seminoles regained possession at their own 36 with roughly two minutes to play in the opening period. A good mixture of run and pass moved Florida State into Georgia Tech territory at the start of the second quarter before James Wilder Jr. capped off the 64 yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 14-0.
Tech returned with Vad Lee at the helm and quickly countered with a 42 yard pass to Darren Waller on first down to put Tech at the Seminole 23 yard line. The offense managed one first down at the 12, but eventually stalled at the 8. Chris Tanner then came on to connect from 27 yards out to put Tech on the board, trailing 14-3.
Manuel quickly moved the Seminoles into Yellow Jacket territory on the drive that followed, and a personal foul on Chris Milton set up Tech’s opponent with a first down at the 25. From here they took to the ground and scored five plays later on a 1 yard run by Wilder to make it 21-3 with roughly five minutes to play in the first half.
With Tevin Washington now leading the offense, the Jackets collected themselves and steadily marched into FSU territory as the clock wound towards halftime. The senior quarterback would eventually launch Tech into scoring position with a 20 yard run to the Seminole 27, but poor execution on the plays that followed forced a fourth-and-thirteen from the 30. David Scully then entered to hit a 47 yard field goal with roughly a minute to play to make it 21-6 at the break.
The third quarter saw a surge in the Ramblin’ Wreck defense when a unit that looked completely outmatched in the opening half forced two punts and recovered two fumbles. But the Tech offense continued to struggle early, punting on their first possession and throwing a pick on their second to remain trailing by fifteen.
Midway through the period, Tech took over at its own 25 following a punt, and David Sims, Zach Laskey, and Robert Godhigh alternated carries on nine straight runs en route to the Florida State 16 yard line. The Jackets dodged a bullet when Deon Hill recovered a Washington fumble at the 19, but could advance no further and were forced to settle for a 36 yard Chris Tanner field goal to get within twelve at 21-9.
As play carried into the fourth quarter, the Tech defense continued to hold strong. Florida State was able to push to the Tech 25, but gave the ball back on third-and-ten when Emanuel Dieke forced and recovered an E.J. Manuel fumble at the 30.
Washington found Jeremy Moore for 18 yards on first down near midfield, and Sims gained 9 on three consecutive runs to follow. Facing a fourth-and-one, Washington’s number was called on a quarterback keeper, and he picked up the first down at the Seminole 41. On third-and-thirteen, Tevin went to the air and found B.J. Bostic for 32 yards to the 12. Sims, Godhigh and Washington pushed the drive to 3, and Godhigh returned to pick up another fourth-and-one at the 1. Washington capped off the drive with a sneak on the next play, but failed on the two-point conversion attempt and Tech trailed 21-15 with six minutes remaining.
The Seminoles took over at their 26 following the kick and burned just over four minutes off the clock while pushing out to midfield. But on third-and-ten from the Tech 48, E.J. Manual attempted a deep pass that was picked-off in incredible one-handed fashion by Jemea Thomas at the Yellow Jacket 15 yard line.
Washington returned to the field, needing a touchdown to snatch a victory and advance to the Orange Bowl. But after picking up two first downs en route to Tech 42, the senior quarterback threw an interception to Karlos Williams at the 45 that was returned all the way to Tech’s four yard line. The ‘Noles would kneel twice to seal the victory and Tech would fall to 6-7 on the season.
Florida State went on to defeat 15th ranked Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl in convincing fashion, dropping the Huskies 31-10 after leading just 17-10 at the start of the fourth quarter to finish the year at 12-2 overall.
GT – 19
FSU – 22
GT – 183
FSU – 194
GT – 5-16-118
FSU – 16-21-134
GT – 2
FSU – 1
GT – 2-0
FSU – 2-2
GT – 3-25
FSU – 6-39
– Game Highlights