By Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com
It was one of those that you want to quickly forget.
The kind of ballgame that features an equal mixture of highs and lows but ultimately ends on the low side.
That’s the best way to subscribe Florida State’s 2008 showdown against Georgia tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The Seminoles trailed big entering the third quarter but slowly but surely chipped away at a seemingly insurmountable lead deep into the fourth quarter.
That’s when it got a bit surreal.
First, Preston Parker nabbed a 39-yard pass from quarterback D’Vontrey Richardson and Greg Carr caught the ensuing two-point conversion to cut the Georgia tech lead to just 31-28 with under seven minutes to play.
Then cornerback Patrick Robinson did exactly what everyone hoped he would and intercepted a Yellow Jackets pass on Tech’s very next drive with 5:49 left to play. His standout defensive play then sparked an FSU offensive drive featuring a heavy dose of tailback Jermaine Thomas and before you knew it, the Seminoles were knocking on the door to the endzone with the chance to take the lead.
Next is the part that Seminole fans unfortunately won’t soon forget. On the one yard line with less than a minute to go, a terrific helmet-on-ball hit on Marcus Sims caused the sophomore fullback to fumble into the endzone where it was recovered by the victory-preserving Yellow Jackets.
It was one of those moments in sports that left everyone who had seen it briefly in shock. Did that really just happen? Is the game over? Any chance I dreamed that?
Sims took a lot of heat for the fumble but there’s no denying that it was a top-notch play by Georgia Tech and anytime a defender can get his hat on the ball the way it occurred on that play, it’s bound to cause a turnover.
Still, the loss to Georgia Tech stung no matter what the circumstances of the final moments were. FSU had entered the contest riding a four-game winning streak and were looking to build momentum heading into a matchup with Clemson.
Looking back on the positives, the 2008 game against Georgia Tech just may be viewed as Thomas’ coming out party. The rising sophomore — and projected 2009 starter – created his own buzz by churning out 130 yards on just nine carries against a stout Yellow Jackets defense.
With the win, Georgia Tech earned its first-ever victory over FSU in Atlantic Coast Conference play. It also ended the Seminoles’ 12-game winning streak in the series.
Prior to Florida State’s run of dominance over Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets boasted a 7-0-1 record against the Seminoles.
By Ryan Pensy, Seminoles.com
|Jonathan Dwyer – B-back|
After completing a stellar first season as a starter for the Yellow Jackets, Jonathan Dwyer appears to be headed for more success in 2009. Dwyer, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, was named the Preaseason ACC Player of the Year in a vote by the media who attended the league’s annual Football Kickoff in Greensboro, NC. Dwyer topped the 100 yard mark in nine games last season helping the Yellow Jackets earn a berth in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The wish-bone offense can be difficult for most teams to prepare for on a week-to-week basis. Add Dwyer into the equation and it becomes a nightmare situation. If Dwyer continues on this pace he will be a legitimate contender for the Heisman Trophy.
|Morgan Burnett – Safety|
Although he was tied for third nationally in pass interceptions per game last season, Morgan Burnett is still not a household name. That has the potential to change very quickly this season. In 2008, Burnett had seven interceptions in 13 games. He will anchor a secondary that returns all but one starter, Jahi Word-Daniels. Yet the uncertainty of the Yellow Jacket defense comes up front where Head Coach Paul Johnson will have to replace DE Michael Johnson, DT Daryl Richard and DT Vance Walker. Burnett and the entire Yellow Jacket secondary will rely on the re-tooled offensive line to provide the pressure necessary for quarterbacks to make mistakes. If that happens there could be two Yellow Jackets vying for ACC Player of the Year in 2009.
Offensive Starters Returning: 81% (9 of 11)
Cord Howard (OG), Joseph Gilbert (OG), Dan Voss (C), Jonathan Dwyer (RB), Demaryius Thomas (WR), Josh Nesbitt (QB), Lucas Cox (RB), Roddy Jones (RB), Tyler Melton (WR)
Defensive Starters Returning: 72% (8 of 11)
Derrick Morgan (DE), Anthony Barnes (LB), Sedric Griffin (LB), Kyle Jackson (LB), Morgan Burnett (DB), Mario Butler (DB), Dominique Reese (DB), Rashaad Reid (DB)
Starters Lost – 27% (6 of 22)
Andrew Gardner (OT), David Brown (OT), Michael Johnson (DE), Darryl Richard (DT), Vance Walker (DT), Jahi Word-Daniels (CB)
|Yellow Jacket Breakdown|
|Head Coach:||Paul Johnson|
|At NC State:||2nd year, .750 winning percentage|
|2008 Record:||9-4 / 5-3 ACC/ Tied for 1st Place (C)|
|Series Record:||12-8-1, Florida State|
|2008 Team Stats||Yards||NCAA Rank||ACC Rank|
|Points Per Game:||24.4||74th||6th|
|Points Allowed Per Game:||20.3||28th||6th|
Returning Stat Leaders
|Rushing:||Jonathan Dwyer||(1,395 yards, 12 TD’s)|
|Passing:||Josh Nesbitt||(808 yards, 2 TD’s)|
|Receiving:||Demaryius Thomas||(627 yards, 3 TD’s)|
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
October 17th, 1992: Florida State at Georgia Tech
It was a comeback for the ages that even Bobby Bowden deemed as the game that Florida State should not have won. But what a game it was in downtown Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Florida State had not defeated Georgia Tech in its last eight meetings, but the Seminoles’ first year in the ACC would prove to be much different.
It was the game that will be forever remembered as the Charlie Ward spectacle, as the junior quarterback led the Seminoles back to a 29-24 victory with 206 total yards by himself in the final quarter. Ward led three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter: William Floyd ran in for a one-yard touchdown, Ward had a five-yard touchdown run, and Kez McCorvey found the end zone on a 17-yard pass from Ward.
Florida State entered the game at number six in the polls, and wouldn’t lose a game from there on out, finishing with an 11-1 record and a number two finish in the polls. It was the most exciting game in the rivalry between the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets, as Florida State showed why it would dominate the ACC for so long.
September 11th, 1999: Georgia Tech at Florida State
It was a classic offensive shootout between the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets that featured quarterbacks Joe Hamilton and Chris Weinke lighting it up on a hot September evening at Doak Campbell Stadium. Hamilton and the Jackets would not go away, and whenever the Seminoles scored, Georgia Tech came right back with a touchdown of their own. In the end, Florida State outlasted Georgia Tech 41-35 in a nail biter of a college football game early in the 1999 season.
In a game in which Tech gained more yards of total offense that the Seminoles, Chris Weinke threw for three touchdown passes and Travis Minor rattled off 122 yards on the ground. Peter Warrick again showed the nation why he was the most electric player in college football as he ran for a score and caught another from Weinke–finishing with 142 yards through the air.
Florida State went on to its first undefeated season and went on to win the school’s second national championship with the nation’s first ever wire-to-wire number one finish.
September 13th, 2003: Georgia Tech at Florida State
Another year, another tight game with Georgia Tech. Except this time, the Seminoles could find no offense until the fourth quarter. Chris Rix and Florida State were held scoreless until 7:09 left to go in the fourth quarter when the junior quarterback ran in a three-yard touchdown to cut the lead in half.
But it was P.K. Sam’s touchdown pass with 2:57 left to go in the game that sealed the 14-13 nail biting with for Florida State. Bobby Bowden called the game “54 minutes of getting beat and 6 minutes of winning.” The Seminoles avoided their first shutout loss at home under Coach Bowden and came back to stay undefeated on the season and undefeated in the ACC.
Florida State went on to a 10-2 regular season finish and an appearance in the FedEx Orange Bowl.