FSU’s Top Five Moments vs. Georgia Tech

by Mike Ferguson
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Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

The wait is almost over.

On Saturday, Florida State will play its season opener at Doak Campbell Stadium against Georgia Tech. The Seminoles are looking to bounce back from consecutive losing seasons as they transition to a new era under head coach Mike Norvell.

Georgia Tech is coming off a 3-9 season. Saturday’s contest will be the first between the teams since 2015 and the first in Tallahassee since 2009.

Although the teams have not met in half a decade, FSU has some pretty important moments against the Yellow Jackets. Here’s a look at the top five:

5. Rix to Sam…No, Not That One

Georgia Tech 13, (10) FSU 14
Sept. 13, 2003

Chris Rix’s touchdown pass to P.K. Sam to beat Florida in the regular season finale in 2003 is a play that will long live in FSU lore. That however, wasn’t the first time the two would hook up for a game-winning touchdown that season. In 2003 against Georgia Tech, FSU found itself behind 13-0 at home more than midway through the final quarter. After Rix’s keeper puled FSU to within six, the Seminoles went ahead for good on Rix’s 5-yard scoring strike to Sam with less than three minutes to go. Pat Watkins intercepted Georgia Tech freshman quarterback Reggie Ball to seal the win.

4. FSU Wins Shootout to 3-Peat in ACC, Clinch Playoff Berth

(12) Georgia Tech 35, (2) FSU 37
Dec. 6, 2014 (ACC Championship)

Florida State was winners of 28 games in a row and was reigning national champions, but the Seminoles needed No. 29 to clinch a third straight ACC title and a berth in the first-ever College Football Playoff. In a contest that went back and forth early on, the Florida State defense finally found its footing. Three Roberto Aguayo field goals in the second half was the difference as FSU reigned supreme again in the ACC. Jameis Winston passed for 309 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Rashad Greene in the win. Greene led all receivers with 123 yards while freshman running back Dalvin Cook tallied 177 yards rushing and a touchdown in the victory.

3. Warrick Leads Seminoles in Top-10 Shootout

(10) Georgia Tech 35, (1) FSU 41
Sept. 11, 1999

In the history of the series, Florida State and Georgia Tech have only met once as top-10 teams. That came early in the 1999 season. FSU never trailed, but early on, it was matched touchdown for touchdown by the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton was 22-for-25 passing for 387 yards and four touchdowns, but in the end, FSU’s Peter Warrick was just too much. Warrick finished with 167 yards of total offense and two touchdowns as FSU outlasted the Yellow Jackets in a shootout. The 35 points and 501 yards would be the most allowed for FSU in a season where it became the first team to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 in college football history.

2. Williams’ Late Pick Seals It

Georgia Tech 15, (13) FSU 21
Dec. 1, 2012 (ACC Championship)

Florida State had not won the ACC in seven years as it faced Georgia Tech in Charlotte for the 2012 conference title. The Yellow Jackets had whittled an 18-point lead down to six as they drove to try to pull the upset. With Georgia Tech approaching its only 40-yard-line and more than a minute to play, Tevin Washington fired over the middle for running back Robert Godhigh. FSU sophomore safety Karlos Williams was able to step in front of Godhigh and tip the ball to himself for the game-sealing interception. That would be the beginning of FSU’s 29-game winning streak. The Seminoles would go on to beat Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl for their first BCS bowl win since 1999 and first top-10 finish since 2003.

1. The Birth of the Fast Break Offense

(6) FSU 29, (16) Georgia Tech 24
Oct. 17, 1992

Early during his time as starting quarterback, Charlie Ward had struggled with turnovers. In a key ACC game in Atlanta midway through the 1992 season, the Seminoles shifted the offense to a shotgun-based system without a huddle. That move turned out to be the right one. With FSU trailing by 10 with less than four minutes to go, the Seminoles made a comeback for the ages. FSU followed up a 5-yard Ward touchdown run to cut the lead to four with an onside kick recovery. With less than two minutes to play, Ward put FSU ahead for good with a 17-yard touchdown strike to Kez McCorvey. Reggie Freeman sealed the win by sacking Georgia Tech quarterback Shawn Jones in the end zone for a safety. From there, the “Fast Break Offense” was born. The following year, Ward would win the Heisman Trophy in that offense while leading the Seminoles to their first national championship.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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