Georgia Tech: 13
Florida State: 14
After an emotional 17-3 victory over the 17th-ranked Auburn Tigers, Georgia Tech looked for back-to-back victories over national ranked teams when it headed to Tallahassee, Florida for a conference battle with the 10th-ranked Florida State Seminoles. Since joining the ACC, the Seminoles had defeated the Jackets eleven straight times to take an 11-7-1 lead in the all-time series.
Following the opening kick, Florida State’s Craphonso Thorpe lost a fumble to Dawan Landry on a first down run to midfield. Despite the excellent field position, Tech failed to capitalize on the drive, losing a net of three yards in as many plays before punting back to the Seminoles.
Florida State earned one first down on a defensive holding penalty, but punted the ball back shortly thereafter to put Tech back in control at its own 27 yard line.
Reggie Ball then orchestrated an excellent drive that brought the Yellow Jacket offense within the shadow of the Florida State uprights. P.J. Daniels nearly broke free for a touchdown from the 20 yard line, but was downed by a pair of Seminole defenders at the 2. Ball and Daniels alternated shots at the Seminole line, but netted just 1 yard to leave Tech with a 4th-and-goal from the 1. Rather than take the field goal, Chan Gailey elected to go for the touchdown. For the fourth straight time, the Jackets tried a run up the middle and Daniels was turned away at the goal line, forcing a turnover on downs.
The Seminoles pushed out to the 7 and punted back to Tech at the FSU 46. Ball picked up 9 on the ground on second down before Daniels added 8 more in two runs to the 29. Three runs by Ajenavi Eziemefe closed out the opening period with Tech facing 2nd-and-15 from the FSU 28 yard line. The opening two plays of the second quarter netted just 10 yards, and Tech would settle for a 35 yard Dan Burnett field goal to take a 3-0 lead in the contest.
Following another Seminole punt, Tech again mounted a drive deep into FSU territory. But facing 2nd-and-10 from the 19, Ball was sacked for a 12 yard loss that ended any chance for a touchdown. Two plays later, Burnett would return to hit from 45 yards out with 7:49 left in the half to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 6-0.
Tech had one last chance for a score late in the second when it pushed once more into Seminole territory. But the Jackets saw another promising drive come to a close after failing to convert on 3rd-and-1 from the Seminole 40, and they would eventually head to intermission holding a mere six point advantage.
Much of the third quarter saw little action until the Seminoles mounted a drive towards the Georgia Tech goal line. But just as it looked like the Seminoles would snag the lead, Chris Rix threw an interception to Reuben Houston in the end zone that Houston returned 47 yards near midfield. Daniels then gained 6 yards on first down before exploding for a 47 yard touchdown run to give the Jackets a 13-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
But just then, the Seminole football team woke up. Rix returned to lead a 12 play, 72 yard drive that consumed over five minutes from the clock and cut the Tech lead to 13-7. The junior quarterback setup his 3 yard touchdown run with a 26 yard pass to Dominic Robinson for a first down at the Ramblin’ Wreck 14 yard line.
Needing to burn as much time as possible, Tech failed to earn a single first down. Hal Higgins’s 52 yard punt was then returned 17 yards to the Seminole 42, where Rix and the offense took the field with 4:56 left on the clock.
Rix’s first two passes went for 12 and 26 yards to Thorpe and Chauncey Stovall, respectively. He then followed an incompletion with a 13 yard run to the 6, after which he gained 1 yard to the 5. Following a timeout, Rix went back to the air and found P.K. Sam for a 5 yard touchdown with 2:57 remaining, and Xavier Beitia’s extra point put the Seminoles on top 14-13.
The Jackets squandered their immediate shot to answer when Reggie Ball lost a fumble to Eric Moore while being sacked on third down.
The Seminoles forced Tech to burn all of its time outs on their next possession, but turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-17 at the Yellow Jacket 23.
Tech managed to push to the FSU 46 as time wound down, but lost possession late when Ball’s fourth down pass was intercepted by Pat Watkins to seal the decision.
Florida State would go on to win all but two of its regular season games to finish the season as the 10-2 ACC Champions. Their performance earned them a trip to the BCS Orange Bowl, where they would face a rematch with a Miami Hurricane squad that defeated them 22-14 in mid-October. The Seminoles would again come up short to the Hurricanes, falling 16-14 after missing a field goal midway through the fourth quarter that would have given them a 17-16 lead.
GT – 15
FSU – 18
GT – 112
FSU – 91
GT – 12-25-128
FSU – 15-30-160
GT – 1
FSU – 2
GT – 2-2
FSU – 1-1
GT – 7-56
FSU – 8-90
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/091303aaa.html