Seminoles Win Third Straight ACC Championship with 37-35 Victory over Georgia Tech

Steve Phillips, Blog Special for 

Florida State (13-0) extends its ACC-record win streak to 29 games in a row and now has captured three-straight ACC titles, and a league-record 16 overall since joining the conference in 1992.

The Seminoles’ 29-game winning streak is the longest such streak nationally since Miami won 34 in a row from 2000-2002 and the second-longest this century.

The Seminoles are now 4-1 in ACC Championship Game play, having defeated Georgia Tech (2014), Duke (2013), Georgia Tech (2012) and Virginia Tech in 2005.

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is now 12-5 (.706) in his career vs. AP Top 25 opponents and is 58-10 overall at FSU, including an 8-1 mark at neutral sites.

YOUTH IS SERVED: Florida State freshman running back Dalvin Cook was voted the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game’s Most Valuable Player … Cook finished with 177 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and had five receptions for 43 yards.

IT’S A WRAP: Final Score: Florida State 37, Georgia Tech 35. The Seminoles nail down their 15th ACC football championship to become the conference’s all-time leader (Clemson is second with 14 titles) … The defending national champion Seminoles win their 29th consecutive game, extending a streak that is an ACC record, an FSU school record and the nation’s longest active … FSU, which set an ACC record last season with 14 wins, heads into postseason play with a 13-0 record for the second consecutive year … FSU becomes the first team in the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game’s 10-year history to post wins in three consecutive years.

NOT OVER YET: Justin Thomas’ 25-yard touchdown connection with WR Darren Waller caps a six-play, 97-yard Georgia Tech scoring drive that takes only 1:06 off the clock and leaves the Seminoles clinging to a 37-35 lead with 1:47 remaining in the game. Thomas completed 5-of-6 passes on the drive for 82 yards. FSU’s Lamarcus Brutus recovers the ensuing onside kick. Georgia Tech has one timeout remaining.

FIRST TURNOVER OF THE NIGHT: Georgia Tech QB Justin Thomas’ pass is intercepted by Florida State DB Demarcus Brutus at the Yellow Jackets’ 43 with 3:15 remaining … The Seminoles take over with a nine-point lead and one step closer to their third straight ACC Championship.

THREE-FOR-THREE: PK Roberto Aguayo delivers again – this time from 28 yards out – and the Seminoles hold the biggest lead of the night for either team at 37-28 with 4:28 left in the game. Each of Florida State’s second-half possessions have ended with Aguayo field goals.

FANTASTIC FROSH: With 167 yards rushing on the night, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook has 311 in his last two games and 895 yards for the season. The latter number is a new record for a Florida State true freshman.

BIG STOP: Georgia Tech elects to go for it on fourth-and-5 from its own 47, but Justin Thomas’ pass is off the mark and the Seminoles takes over on downs leading 34-28 with 7:23 remaining in the game … Thomas’ incompletion left him 3-for-6 on the night for 52 yards.

AGUAYO ADDS ANOTHER: After holding Georgia Tech on downs, Florida State moves to the Yellow Jackets’ 15-yard line before the drive stalls. Roberto Aguayo comes on to deliver his second field goal – a 32-yarder that pushes the Seminoles’ lead to 34-28 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.

BY THE NUMBERS: FSU’s Rashad Greene presently has 123 yards receiving on the night, making him the ACC’s all-time leader with 3,771 career yards … Greene passed former Duke standout  Conner Vernon … Georgia Tech currently has 322 rushing yards as a team, the 47th time the Yellow Jackets have passed the 300-yard mark in seven seasons under head coach Paul Johnson … Tonight’s attendance is 64,808.

KICKING THEIR WAY BACK IN FRONT: Florida State drives to the Georgia Tech 16 before facing fourth-and-2. Without hesitation, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher sends out reigning Lou Groza Award winner Roberto Aguayo, who connects on a 33-yard field goal to push the Seminoles back in front 31-28 …  FSU’s Dalvin Cook now has 118 yards rushing –  the most by a freshman in ACC Championship Game history.

ALL EVEN AGAIN: The Yellow Jackets open the second half with a 77-yard drive (on which they converted a fourth-and-1 from just beyond midfield) to tie the score at 28-all.  QB Justin Thomas contributed runs of 16 and 14 yards, and Synjyn Days’ third 1-yard touchdown run of the night is the equalizer. All 14 Georgia Tech plays in the drive were runs. 

FIRST HALF, LAST WORD: After taking possession at its own 25 following Georgia Tech’s first punt of the game, Florida State goes the distance in 10 plays for a go-ahead touchdown with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Jameis Winston and Rashad Greene hook up for their second touchdown of the game – this one on a 9-yard passing play – and Roberto Aguayo’s extra point leaves the Seminoles in front 28-21 at the half … Winston’s three touchdown passes have tied an ACC Championship Game record held by three players.

SCORE-FOR SCORE: A Georgia Tech defender falls down while attempting to match up with Rashad Greene, and Jameis Winston takes advantage by finding the open receiver with a 44-yard scoring strike that ties the game once more at 21-all with 5:40 to play in the first half … Florida State’s PK Roberto Aguayo’s PAT following the touchdown is his 146th straight, the second longest streak in ACC history … Winston’s 63 career touchdown passes now tie for 10th place all-time among ACC quarterbacks with Florida State’s Chris Rix and NC State’s Mike Glennon.

FIRST TIME IS A CHARM: Georgia Tech’s first pass of the game goes for 27 yards (Justin Thomas to Deon Hill) and sets up the Yellow Jackets’ third touchdown on as  many possessions … Zach Laskey carries four yards for the score that caps an 11-play, 75-yard drive and gives Georgia Tech a 21-14 lead with 8:02 left to play in the first half ... Georgia Tech’s 194 yards rushing thus far already ties for fifth-most in an ACC Championship Game.

SEMINOLES ARE COOKING: FSU freshman RB Dalvin Cook smashes into the end zone from a yard out the second play of the second quarter to tie the score at 14-all … Cook was responsible for all 75 of Florida State’s yards on the tying drive, carrying six times for 68 yards and catching a 7-yard pass. Cook has already rushed for 85 yards on 10 carries. 

END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: Georgia Tech’s 14-7 lead stands at the end of the opening quarter, but Florida State is threatening with the ball at the Yellow Jackets’ 18-yard line …  Total yardage in the first 15 minutes was almost dead even. The Seminoles have 142 yards to Georgia Tech’s 141.

ADVANTAGE TECH … AGAIN: The high-scoring first quarter continues as Georgia Tech drives 75 yards in 11 plays  to become the first team in ACC Championship Game history to score touchdowns on its first two possessions. Synjyn Days’ second 1-yard TD run of the night gives the Yellow Jackets a 14-7 edge with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter. True to form, the Yellow Jackets kept the ball on the ground for all 11 plays and still have yet to throw a pass.

QUICK ANSWER: The Seminoles tie the score in fast fashion with a five-play, 74-yard touchdown drive … The final 68 yards came on passes from QB Jameis Winston to TE Nick O’Leary, including a 46-yard connection for the touchdown … O’Leary, who was wide open on the left sideline as he hauled in Winston’s scoring throw, tied former NC State standout George Bryan for second-place all-time among ACC tight ends with 17 career touchdown receptions. Florida State 7, Georgia Tech 7 at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter.

FIRST STRIKE, JACKETS: After forcing a three-and-out on Florida State’s game-opening possession, the Yellow Jackets drive 71 yards in eight plays – all on the ground – for  the game’s first score. RB Synjyn Days’ 1-yard scoring run caps the drive … The Yellow Jackets have now scored in 224 consecutive games, second-best streak among ACC teams … it marks the seventh time this season the Yellow Jackets have driven for a touchdown on their first possession, and only the second time an opposing team has scored on its opening drive against the Seminoles this year. Georgia Tech 7, Florida State 0 at the 9:50 mark of the opening quarter.

STRIKE UP THE BANDS AND START UP THE GAME: Georgia Tech’s marching band took the field first for its pregame performance, followed by Florida State … Following the performance of the National Anthem by Thompson Square, both teams took the field to cheers, fight songs and assorted pyrotechnics … Georgia Tech wins the toss and defers its option to the second half. Florida State will receive the opening kickoff.

LINEUP CHANGES (20:00 on the pregame clock): Due to injuries and coaches’ decisions, both teams announced starting lineup changes … Synjyn Days has been designated the starter at Georgia Tech’s “B” back position, while Michael Summers will start at wide receiver in place of the injured DeAndre Smelter. Patrick Gamble will start at defensive end for Kyle Travis, while Tyler Marcordes will start at one of the linebacker slots in place of Demond Smith … For Florida State, freshman Dalvin Cook gets the start at running back in place of the injured Karlos Williams.

QUICK FACTS: Florida State, winner of 28 straight games overall, is looking for its 18th consecutive victory away from Doak Campbell Stadium … Florida State has not lost away from home since dropping a 17-16 decision at NC State on Oct. 6, 2012 … Georgia Tech has played 223 games without being shut out, which ranks as the second-longest streak in the ACC … The Yellow Jackets’ last shutout loss came on Oct. 18, 1997 on the road against a Florida State team that was ranked third nationally.

COUNTDOWN (40:00 on the pregame clock): The countdown to the start of the 10th annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game is underway. No rain, but a bit of fog at Bank of America Stadium as both Florida State and Georgia Tech are on the field for pregame warmups. Georgia Tech is the designated “home” team, and will wear white jerseys as has long been its custom. The Seminoles will wear garnet jerseys with gold numbers. Both teams are attired in gold pants.