Seminoles hang on to down Georgia Tech for ACC crown

Charlotte, NC ( - Florida State was able to stop Georgia Tech's potent triple-option attack for most of the second half, and the second-ranked Seminoles captured their third straight ACC title with a 37-35 win over the No. 12 Yellow Jackets.

Roberto Aguayo made three field goals in the second half and the Seminoles (13-0) extended their winning streak to 29 games. With the win, Florida State all but locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Seminoles entered the game No. 4 in the CFP rankings.

All four of the top-ranked teams in the playoff rankings were victorious over the weekend. Alabama beat Missouri, Oregon rolled past Arizona and TCU dominated Iowa State.

Florida State's winning streak started with a 21-15 win over Georgia Tech in the 2012 ACC title game.

Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, completed 21-of-30 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns for the Seminoles, who won their 15th ACC championship overall since joining the conference in 1992.

Dalvin Cook carried the ball 31 times for 177 yards and a score for Florida State. Rashad Greene caught seven passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

"It was a great game. We knew going in Georgia Tech was going to be tough with that option," said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. "Our defense did a great job in the second half getting enough stops. Offensively, we maximized and got points. Wish we could have got touchdowns but we scored every time we had it."

Justin Thomas connected on 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Yellow Jackets (10-3), who were trying for their first conference crown since 2009. Thomas also carried the ball 11 times for 104 yards.

Synjyn Days rushed for 67 yards and three scores on 19 carries for Georgia Tech, which racked up 331 yards on the ground.

Days' third 1-yard TD run of the game tied the game at 28 with 8:01 left in the third quarter.

Florida State's ensuing drive stalled at the Georgia Tech 16 and Aguayo made a 33-yard field goal. After forcing Georgia Tech to punt, the Seminoles moved the ball to the Yellow Jackets' 15-yard line before Aguayo made a 32-yarder with 10:25 to play.

Georgia Tech went for it on 4th-and-5 from its own 47, but Thomas' pass fell incomplete. Aguayo made a 28-yard field goal to give Florida State a 37-28 lead with 4:28 to go.

Thomas was intercepted by Lamarcus Brutus at the Yellow Jackets' 43. However, Florida State failed to capitalize and was forced to punt.

Georgia Tech stayed alive with a 97-yard drive that took just 1:09 off the clock. Darren Waller's 25-yard TD catch cut the gap to two with 1:47 left, but Florida State recovered the ensuing onside kick.

"Nobody is perfect so you can't score every drive, but just they made good plays on the defensive side and stopped us a few times," said Thomas.

After forcing a three-and-out on Florida State's game-opening possession, the Yellow Jackets used their potent triple-option attack to perfection for the game's first score. Days' 1-yard TD run capped the drive.

The Seminoles needed just over two minutes to tie things up. Nick O'Leary caught two passes for 68 yards, including a 46-yard score. O'Leary was left wide open along the left sideline as he hauled in Winston's scoring throw.

Georgia Tech responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Days' second 1-yard TD run of the night gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-7 edge with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter.

The high-scoring affair continued on the ensuing Florida State possession. Cook got the ball all seven times and rumbled into the end zone from one yard out.

Georgia Tech's first pass of the game went to Deon Hill for a 27-yard gain. Zach Laskey's 4-yard TD run made it 21-14 Georgia Tech with 8:02 left in the first half.

Winston and the Seminoles needed just six plays to keep the chess match going. A Georgia Tech defender fell down and Greene was wide open for a 44-yard score.

After forcing Georgia Tech's first punt of the game, the Seminoles went 75 yards in 10 plays. Greene capped the march with a 9-yard TD catch to make it 28-21 Florida State with 30 seconds remaining.

The Yellow Jackets opened the second half with a 14-play, 77-yard drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock. Days converted a 4th-and-1 just beyond midfield and capped the series with another 1-yard touchdown run.

Game Notes

Florida State leads the all-time series by a 14-9-1 margin ... O'Leary caught three passes for 97 yards ... Waller hauled in five passes for 73 yards ... Georgia Tech rewarded head coach Paul Johnson with a four-year contract extension prior to Saturday's game.