Stung! Jackets Stun Seminoles 22-16

Photo By Jon Barash

ATLANTA — Florida State field goal kicker Roberto Aguayo lined for a 56-yard attempt with six seconds left with a chance to win the game for the No. 9-ranked Seminoles, but what happened next is something nobody in the country expected.

Tied at 16-16, Georgia Tech and the sellout crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium was on the edge of their seats hoping that arguably the best placekicker in the country would miss to send the game to overtime. However, neither overtime nor a miss was the result.

Aguayo drilled a low kick that was blocked by lineman Patrick Gamble and was picked up by defensive back Lance Austin who with the help of his teammates ran it back for a stunning 78-yard touchdown to win the game 22-16 with no time left on the clock.

“A game like this is going to go down in history,” Gamble said. “I’m going to be old and grey one day and I can tell my child about this.”

Without hesitation, the crowd stormed historic Grant Field as the Yellow Jackets sent the Seminoles home with their first regular season loss in their last 30 games and likely puts them out of any chance to win a bid into the College Football Playoff.

Many of the Georgia Tech players celebrated the block thinking that the play was dead and so did Yellow Jackets’ head Coach Paul Johnson.

“When I picked it up and started running up the field, I saw a lot of green,” Austin said. “So I was like, ‘Ok, I can return it.’”

Johnson didn’t know how to react after the block, but it all worked out for the best.

“I go from yelling, ‘Get away from it’ to ‘Run, run, run!’” Johnson said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s college football.”

The game started very sloppy for the Yellow Jacket’s offense. On Georgia Tech’s first possession of the game, quarterback Justin Thomas threw a pass that was batted into the air and intercepted by the Seminole defense

However, the Yellow Jacket defense held the Seminoles to a short field goal attempt to go up 3-0 in the first quarter.

After another interception from Thomas that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run from Dalvin Cook midway through the second quarter, Thomas got his team on the board with a dazzling 60-yard option-keeper to cut the lead to 10-7 with 2:22 remaining in the second quarter.

However, Florida State’s Aguayo tacked on a last-second field goal in the second quarter to give the Seminoles a 16-10 halftime lead.

The Yellow Jackets were the first to get on the board in the second half on a Harrison Butker 40-yard field goal that made the score 16-13 with 8:27 remaining in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets defense forced a big third-down stop to get the ball back, but a crucial third-down mistake from Thomas on Georgia Tech’s ensuing possession kept them out of field goal range and forced them to punt.

The Seminoles had a chance to seal the deal on a third-and-goal play from the 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter but Everett Golson’s pass attempt was tipped and eventually picked off by Jamal Golden to give the Yellow Jackets new life.

With one last chance for the Yellow Jackets to tie the game or win it, Thomas connected with wide receiver Brad Stewart on a 36-yard completion on fourth-and-six from the Georgia Tech 41-yard line.

The play set up a game-tying field goal off the leg of Butker to deadlock the game at 16-16 with 54 seconds left.

With two timeouts, the Seminoles drove down the field with ease to set up Aguayo’s longest field goal attempt in his three-year career but wasn’t able to make it.

“I thought I hit the ball well,” the kicker said. “I looked up and didn’t see it flying down the middle. Then I saw it on the ground. A lot of their guys, a lot of our guys thought it was dead. It was kind of confusing.”

Gamble made sure of that.

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