3:30 PM ET, November 1, 2008
Bobby Dodd Stadium, ATLANTA, GA
ATLANTA -- The play designed to give Florida State a last-minute comeback win worked just as coach Bobby Bowden expected -- until Marcus Sims lost the ball.
Sims fumbled into the end zone to finish No. 15 Florida State's comeback hopes in the final minute, and Georgia Tech beat the Seminoles 31-28 on Saturday.
• Florida State's Marcus Sims fumbled into the end zone in the closing seconds as Georgia Tech held off a Seminole rally and beat Florida State for the first time ever in the ACC.
• Georgia Tech snapped a 12-game losing streak to Florida State, winning for the first time since 1975.
• Georgia Tech passed only six times and rushed for 288 yards, including 145 and two long touchdowns from Jonathan Dwyer.
• Three of Georgia Tech's four touchdown drives lasted three plays or less.
-- ESPN research
"It could have been one of the greatest comebacks, but we fumbled it," Bowden said.
Florida State trailed 24-10 in the first half and 31-20 before scoring with 6:04 left.
Georgia Tech safety Cooper Taylor's helmet-to-football hit popped the ball loose on Sims' second-down run from the 3. Rashaad Reid recovered it with 45 seconds left, beating Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and others in the fight for the ball.
Taylor, a freshman making his first start, also set up a touchdown with a second-quarter interception and led Georgia Tech with 10 tackles. But his final play was the one to remember.
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"It was the last play of the game, we either had to stop them right there [or lose]," Taylor said. "I'm in shock right now."
The Seminoles were shocked they lost after coming so close to a win.
"We were definitely excited," Ponder said. "We were pretty confident we would go in and score."
Sims was not available for postgame interviews.
"I told him it could happen to any of us, to keep his head up," Ponder said. "He was pretty upset."
Florida State's final drive was set up by Patrick Robinson's interception of Jaybo Shaw's pass with 5:49 left.
Jermaine Thomas, who rushed for 130 yards to set a career high, helped move Florida State into scoring position before Sims' fumble.
After it was over, Georgia Tech fans poured onto the field from each end zone after the game to celebrate the Yellow Jackets first victory over Florida State since 1975. The fans stood about 30 yards deep in front of their band to celebrate breaking a 12-game losing streak to the Seminoles, which revived ACC title game hopes for the Yellow Jackets (7-2 overall, 4-2 ACC).
Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 145 yards and scored on runs of 36 and 66 yards for Georgia Tech.
"Take those two plays back and we probably would have won the ballgame," Bowden said.
Before Saturday, Florida State had not given up a run longer than 25 yards this season. Georgia Tech ran for three touchdowns in the first half, the first time that's happened to the Seminoles since Nov. 19, 1993 against Notre Dame.
"We simply couldn't stop them," said Bowden of the Georgia Tech spread option offense he called a wishbone attack.
"We haven't played against it since Pat Dye ran it at Auburn in the middle or late '80s. Not many people run it anymore. It's not considered stylish."
Georgia Tech rushed for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
Georgia Tech moved back into first place in the Coastal Division, thanks to Virginia's loss to Miami. Georgia Tech is one-half game ahead of Miami and Virginia in the division.
Florida State (6-2 overall, 3-2 ACC) had its four-game winning streak snapped.
The Yellow Jackets' offense stalled after losing quarterback Josh Nesbitt to an ankle injury in the third quarter. Shaw lost a fumble and threw an interception.
Lucas Cox scored on a 1-yard early in the second quarter for Georgia Tech to tie the game at 10.
Dwyer found a big lane between left tackle Andrew Gardner and left guard Joseph Gilbert for his first long touchdown run, and only 30 seconds later Taylor intercepted a deflected pass and returned the ball 28 yards to the Florida State 4.
Greg Smith scored on a pitch two plays later from the 4 for a 24-10 lead.
Florida State recovered to score the final 10 points of the half. A 62-yard run by Thomas set up Ponder's 4-yard touchdown pass to Seddrick Holloway, and Graham Gano added a 45-yard field goal late in the half.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Marcus Sims fumbled on second-and-goal; the ball was recovered by Tech in the end zone with 0:45 left.
Gameball goes to... Jonathan Dwyer. The GT back rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-28 win.
Stat of the game... 288. Georgia Tech ran for 288 yards on 45 carries (6.4 average).
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-13||3-9|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||1-1|
|TD||08:31||Christian Ponder 3 Yd Run (Graham Gano Kick)||7||0|
|FG||06:34||Scott Blair 31 Yd||7||3|
|FG||02:54||Graham Gano 29 Yd||10||3|
|TD||13:43||Lucas Cox 1 Yd Run (Scott Blair Kick)||10||10|
|TD||10:43||Jonathan Dwyer 36 Yd Run (Scott Blair Kick)||10||17|
|TD||09:30||Greg Smith 3 Yd Run (Scott Blair Kick)||10||24|
|TD||08:05||Seddrick Holloway 4 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Graham Gano Kick)||17||24|
|FG||00:45||Graham Gano 45 Yd||20||24|
|TD||13:42||Jonathan Dwyer 66 Yd Run (Scott Blair Kick)||20||31|
|TD||06:04||Preston Parker 39 Yd Pass From D'Vontrey Richardson (Christian Ponder Pass To Greg Carr For Two-Point Conversion)||28||31|