The Florida State Seminoles have played in many close regular season games over the last 1 ½ seasons but the one thing that they managed to do was win them all. On Saturday night in an all too familiar scene FSU battled with cross conference rival Georgia Tech. In a game that looked like FSU would open the score up and run away with the win Georgia Tech stood strong when they needed to. They put themselves in great position to win the game and they did just that by making a huge play when they needed to with only seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied 16-16 Roberto Aguayo, one of the best kickers in college football history, lined up to kick a 56 yard field goal to give the Seminoles the lead. The kick was blocked and rolled around on the ground for what seemed like minutes before the Yellow Jackets’ Lance Austin scooped it up and returned it 78 yards for the game winning touchdown. When the kick was blocked many in attendance were thinking overtime was around the corner but with shades of the 2013 Iron Bowl, the game was over just like that.
The blocked kick returned for a touchdown gave the Yellow Jackets the win but the game should have never been that close. You have to credit Tech for battling and stiffening up their defense when it was needed most but you must also fault FSU’s offense. They had a chance to capitalize on some great field position, in particular, a pass that was tipped and intercepted by defensive end Josh Sweat. That gave FSU the ball in Tech’s red zone but they only came away with a field goal. That may work against a team like Boston College but Tech has an offense that can be extremely explosive at times and can chew up a ridiculous amount of clock at other times, both of which the Nole’s experienced on Saturday night.
Some fans will look at Tech’s 3-5 record and automatically assume that FSU should have easily won. A deeper look at the team and opponents they faced shows a team that suffered their biggest loss to undefeated Clemson, a 19 point loss to one of the national championship favorites this season. In total Tech has lost to teams that have a combined record of 31-4 which means they have lost some close games to some very good to excellent football teams. This Tech team can be extremely dangerous and when QB Justin Thomas and Head Coach Paul Johnson are in the zone the Tech offense runs like a well oiled machine.
Will the Yellow Jackets be able to capitalize on this huge win in a down year? That is something that we will have to pay close attention to, however, this may be the win they needed to get back on track. FSU cannot allow this loss to impact the rest of their season. After winning 29 straight conference games it’s easy to get comfortable but this loss may be exactly what this young FSU team needed to focus and take every opponent seriously. Jimbo Fisher must put this loss behind him, make sure it’s behind the players, remember the deadly offensive weapon he has in RB Dalvin Cook, and focus on the upcoming Syracuse game.