(Saturday, October 10th)
Final Score: (22) Georgia Tech 49, Florida State 44
Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) - Josh Nesbitt ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns and passed for another score as 22nd-ranked Georgia Tech beat Florida State, 49-44, dealing Bobby Bowden's team a rare third consecutive defeat.
Nesbitt also completed 4-of-8 passes for 131 yards, and Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 102 yards and a pair of TDs for the Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-1 ACC), who won their third straight contest and are headed to a big matchup at home against Virginia Tech next Saturday night.
"Wow. It was a heck of a game," said Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson. "Both teams were going to hold serve there for a long time. But I'm proud of our team. They found a way."
Christian Ponder connected on 26-of-36 throws for a career-best 359 yards with five touchdowns for the Seminoles (2-4, 0-3), who were coming off losses to South Florida and Boston College. They have a week to think about the latest defeat with a game at North Carolina on October 22 up next for the team that faces big questions.
FSU is 2-4 for the first time since 1976. The Seminoles are 0-3 for the first time in the ACC.
"It was the easiest game to summarize I believe I've ever seen," stated Bowden. "We simply couldn't stop them. That isn't very hard to figure out. We simply could not stop them. You cannot win games often enough if the only way you win is outscoring people. We'd have to score every possession, we didn't do it, they did."
Earlier in the week, there was speculation that Bowden was on his way out at FSU, possibly after this season. But school president T.K. Wetherell issued a statement on Wednesday saying Bowden's job is safe for now.
Last season's 9-4 record extended the program's streak of consecutive winning seasons to 32 under Bowden's watch. The only losing season in his FSU career came in his first year on the job when Florida State posted a 5-6 record in 1976. The first sub-.500 season for FSU could become a reality in 2009 though.
Prior to the game, most of the FSU players walked out arm-in-arm with Bowden leading the way.
"With all of the crazy stuff going on some of the guys had the idea to do that and I thought that went really well," said Ponder. "We're behind our coach and we are going to stay as a team, stay together and we are one big family and we're not going to let anything come between us."
Saturday's loss was the fifth straight at home by FSU to Football Subdivision opponents and this time the Seminoles gave up 401 rushing yards.
In a game delayed by lightning for 78 minutes in the first quarter, it came down to a fourth quarter fumble by Ponder that helped Georgia Tech seal just its second win in the last 14 meetings against FSU.
Ponder was sacked and fumbled the ball away, giving the Yellow Jackets possession with nearly 10 minutes remaining at the Georgia Tech 35. Nesbitt completed the drive with a QB keeper on an option play, darting up the middle for the 22-yard score with 6:29 left and the 49-38 lead.
"I think we put a little pressure on ourselves and didn't capitalize on it and that's what cost us," said Ponder. "We just have to stay relaxed and we moved the ball really well and we have the ability to. I'm not exactly sure what happened."
Ponder's 13-yard TD pass to Rod Owens with 4:14 left gave FSU some life, although the Seminoles couldn't convert on the two-point try.
Georgia Tech recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the remaining time, with Nesbitt rushing for a pair of first downs.
It didn't take long for the Seminoles to get on the scoreboard. An eight play, 67-yard drive ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Jermaine Thomas with 11:10 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Yellow Jackets came right down the field with a nine play, 73-yard drive to even the score as Nesbitt scored on a one-yard sneak with 6:50 left in the quarter.
Florida State got the ball after the delay. The Seminoles finished the possession with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ponder to Beau Reliford with 2:42 left in the quarter.
Georgia Tech answered right back with Nesbitt again scoring on a one-yard run to even the score at 14-14 with 2:07 remaining in the opening quarter.
Ponder completed a 23-yard scoring strike to Richard Goodman with 14:22 left in the first half, but Dwyer ran 69 yards for a score to tie the game at 21-21 with 14:03 remaining.
The Seminoles went back in front on a 17-yard TD pass from Ponder to Jarmon Fortson, but Dwyer's two-yard TD run tied it again. Thomas' three-yard TD reception with 17 seconds left in the half had FSU ahead 35-28 at the intermission.
FSU missed a 45-yard field goal try and then the first score of the third quarter came on a 73-yard pass from Nesbitt to Demaryius Thomas. A 40-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with 12:02 left gave the home team a 38-35 lead.
Tech got its first lead of the game, 42-38, with 2:55 left in the third quarter on a 19-yard scoring run by sophomore Marcus Wright.
The teams combined for 1,071 yards, 539 of which were for FSU...The Seminoles own a 12-9-1 series advantage over Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets won last season's meeting by a 31-28 final...FSU's Thomas ran for 98 yards, while teammate Taiwan Easterling caught five passes for 104 yards.
10/11 02:57:57 ET