To read the full column on Georgia Tech’s 22-16 win over Florida State, click this link on MyAJC.com.
Below are my three “short takes” on the game.
1. AN ENDING FROM FANTASYLAND: I won’t say the way Georgia Tech beat Florida State was once in a lifetime because it’s already twice in the three seasons this has happened. In the famous “Kick Six” play, Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed 57-yard field goal 100 yards to give the Tigers a win over Alabama. Tech’s Lance Austin nearly mirrored that moment against Florida State. After the Jackets’ Patrick Gamble blocked a potential game-winning, 56-yard field goal by FSU’s Roberto Aguayo, Austin picked up the ball and returned it 78 yards to give the Jackets the win as time expired. The stands emptied as fans poured onto the field. Austin later described the moment as “kind of surreal.” It also was a great moment for the twins, Lance and Lawrence Austin, who’ve dedicated this season to their late grandmother.
2. IT’S ONLY 1 WIN BUT: Tech coach Paul Johnson has his detractors, despite a largely successful tenure at Tech. Obviously, what has happened this season has been manna for the critics. Five consecutive losses not only submarined the Jackets’ conference title hopes, they all but killed the Jackets’ chances to even go to a bowl game. (Even with the win, Tech is only 3-5 and therefore can’t go worse than 3-1 against Virginia (road), Virginia Tech, Miami (road) and Georgia to become bowl eligible.) But I’ll repeat what I’ve written and said often: From the day Johnson arrived, he made players and the Tech community feel they had a chance to win big games and have great moments. That happened again Saturday. And by the way: Johnson is now 3-2 against Florida State, with two narrow losses coming in ACC championship games (21-15 in 2012 and 37-35 last year)
3. HELLO, DEFENSE: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Florida State entered the game having scored 59, 34, 14, 24, 29 and 41 points in its first six games. Georgia Tech entered having allowed 36.5 inn its four straight ACC losses to Duke, North Carolina, Clemson and Pittsburgh. So among the things nobody figured would happen was this: The Jackets’ defense allowing only 16 points, of which 10 were set up by Justin Thomas interceptions (the drives were 17 and 2 yards). Take those out and Florida State’s offense failed to have a legitimate touchdown drive and had only two scoring possessions that led to field goals (drives of 66 and 54 yards). “I’m really proud of our defense,” Johnson said. “We played the run so much better.” The Seminoles finished with only 280 yards in total offense, including 70 rushing.
•Recent ramblings • Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable • (Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess • Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits • Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look? • Misery like this shouldn’t happen at Georgia Tech • Short takes: Tech’s run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end • Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints • Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers • Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy…and Georgia can still win SEC East! • Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door • Health would be Spurrier’s only good excuse for retiring in middle of season • Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs — and claims of, ‘I didn’t know’ ring hollow • Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season • Short takes: After loss, Georgia is trailing even Kentucky in SEC East • It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’ • Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think) • Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in • Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason • Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt • Falcons 4-0, Freeman 7 TDs — who didn’t see that coming? • Short takes: An easy Falcons win, and this is a team to take seriously • Richt and Georgia fall off stage again when it matters most • Short takes: Georgia’s reality check — there’s a problem at quarterback • Georgia needs win over Alabama to alter perceptions • Weekend Predictions: Nothing sinister here – Dogs over Bama • Georgia hired Jeremy Pruitt for games like this • Nationals are a more attractive mess than the Braves • Overreaction Monday: Georgia may be 4-0 but season starts now • Georgia now can prepare for opponent that matters most: Alabama • Short takes on Georgia’s win over Southern • Weekend Predictions: Lilly takes the lead and likes Falcons • Falcons’ fourth-quarter fizzles absent so far under Dan Quinn • Braves have been more adept at building off field than on it • Overreaction Monday: Are things as they seem with Falcons, Dogs, Jackets? • Georgia chases away Spurrier demons with dominating performance • Short takes: Lambert says, ‘I just had to go through a rough patch’ • Georgia can’t blow game, Tech can’t blow chance