By Bob Thomas
Associate Sports Information Director
With Florida State preparing to take on Georgia Tech in the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Games, it’s only appropriate to examine the Seminoles who have recorded the top performances in their previous four title game appearances. FSU is gunning for its third consecutive and fourth overall ACC title game victory, which would also give the Noles sole possession of the most league titles (15) in conference history. That would not be the case if not for the following stars:
1. WR/Return Specialist Willie Reid (2005)
Willie Reid arrived at FSU as a running back, but as a senior receiver and return specialist in the inaugural ACC Championship Game, he walked away as the Most Valuable Player. Reid’s 83-yard punt return for a touchdown broke a 3-3 deadlock and sparked a 24-point third quarter as the underdog Seminoles upset No. 5 Virginia Tech, 27-22, in Jacksonville, Fla. Reid finished with 210 all-purpose yards and led FSU with five receptions for 79 yards. He also contributed 131 return yards between punts and kickoffs.
2. LB Karlos Williams (2012)
Thrust into the starting lineup when Nick Moody suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff, safety Karlos Williams filled in more than admirably when he was called on to play linebacker for the first time. Williams registered a career-high 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, but it was his interception with less than a minute to play which sealed FSU’s 21-15 victory over Georgia Tech in Charlotte, N.C. Williams’ theft of a Tevin Washington pass and 41-yard return highlighted a night when the FSU defense held the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense to just 183 yards on 52 carries.
3. QB Jameis Winston (2013)
Overcoming a pair of early interceptions, FSU quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 330 yards and three touchdowns as the top-ranked Seminoles trounced Duke, 45-7 in Charlotte, N.C. The win secured FSU a spot in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. Winston connected with Kelvin Benjamin five times for 119 yards and TD passes of 14 and 54 yards. He also teamed up with Kenny Shaw for a scoring strike and added 59 rushing yards on 10 attempts, including a touchdown. The Seminoles rolled up a championship game-record 569 total yards on offense and Winston set the mark for total yards (389) to earn MVP honors.
4. LB Telvin Smith (2013)
On a night when the offense got off to a slow start, Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith helped set the tone for a monstrous defensive effort in the Seminoles’ 45-7 romp of Duke. Smith finished with eight tackles – seven solos – and contributed two tackles for loss, including a sack. His stat-stuffing line included an interception, which led to a score. On the night the Noles held the Blue Devils’ offense to 330 total yards below their season average, forcing Duke to punt seven times on its first eight possessions without allowing a first down.
5. LB Lawrence Timmons (2005)
Tasked with containing dangerous Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, the Seminoles were more than up for the challenge at the inaugural ACC Championship Game. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons led the way on defense, recording eight tackles (six solos), including a pair of Vick sacks for minus-14 yards. In addition to his ball-hawking presence, Timmons also forced a fumble, which set up a score as the Seminoles staved off a late charge by the Hokies.