2 KEY PLAYERS
Wilder Jr. earned MVP honors.
James Wilder Jr.
Wilder Jr. claimed MVP honors for a 10 rush, 69 yard effort that included two touchdown runs. While the stats are not eye-popping for the talented back, he was the leading rush for the Seminoles and set the tone on the ground where FSU racked up 194 yards on 37 rushes.
Williams was expected to see an expanded role against the Jackets because of the size, speed, and versatility he brought to the defensive side of the ball, but when senior outside linebacker Nick Moody suffered a head injury early in the game Williams role became full-time. He responded. Williams racked up 11 tackles on the evening and had a game-sealing interception in the final minutes.
4 KEY PLAYS
Wilder’s first touchdown run
Due to the nature of Georgia Tech’s offense, they tend to struggle to come back from big deficits. With that in mind, it was important for Florida State to get a good lead early in the game. On the shoulders of James Wilder Jr., Florida State did that when he scored on a 16-yard rush with 13:54 remaining in the second quarter. It gave Florida State a 14-0 lead.
Florida State once again came out cold in the second half and it appeared Georgia Tech may begin a comeback rally after recovering a Kelvin Benjamin fumble. On their first play of the subsequent drive, the Jackets attempted a trick play when running back Synjyn Days took a pitch and threw it down the field. The Florida State defense was not fooled as Xavier Rhodes set up underneath the pass and easily picked it off. It stalled momentum that Georgia Tech would eventually find in the second half.
Manuel’s turnover gives Georgia Tech a final chance
Florida State was clutching to a 21-15 lead with just over two minutes remaining when EJ Manuel threw an interception to Jemea Thomas at the Georgia Tech 15-yard line. While Tech was unable to convert the interception into points on the subsequent drive, it did provide the Jackets with a final chance. It was Manuel’s second turnover of the evening.
Williams game-sealing interception
With just over a minute remaining, Georgia Tech faced a 1st and 15 from their 37-yard line. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington dropped back and went to the middle of the field but Karlos Williams got his hand between the intended receiver and the ball, tipped it and eventually controlled it for an interception which he returned 41 yards. Florida State was then able to kneel on it and end the game.
7 QUICK HITTERS
Manuel had another up-and-down performance.
First since the first
The victory tonight marks Florida State’s first ACC Championship since 2005, the inaugural year of the ACC Championship Game. The Seminoles are 2-for-3 when playing for an ACC Championship.
Florida State is the first school to hold football and men’s basketball ACC Championships concurrently since 1991 (Georgia Tech).
Oranges for New Year's
Florida State formally accepted an invite to the 2012 Orange Bowl after the game. Florida State's opponent will be announced on Sunday evening.
Statistically impressive output
Florida State now has 3,418 passing yards and 2,639 rushing yards on the season. It marks just the second time in school history that a team has had 3,000-plus passing yards and 2,500-plus rushing yards in the same season, joining the 1993 team.
FSU perfect when Freeman scores
Devonta Freeman had a 3-yard touchdown run to give Florida State a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter. In his two-year career, Florida State is 10-0 when Devonta Freeman scores a touchdown.
Smith ties streak
Rodney Smith’s 12-yard reception in the first half marked the 38th consecutive game he has caught a pass for the Seminoles. He ties a school record held by former wide receiver E.G. Green (1994-97).
Impressive first start
In his first career start, freshman defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. recorded seven tackles. The seven tackles are a career-high and equal to his season total entering tonight’s competition.