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.