No. 9 FSU upset by Ga. Tech on blocked-FG TD as time expires
ATLANTA — Call this one Kick Six, The Sequel.
It may have ended Florida State’s national championship hopes.
Lance Austin picked up the ball after a blocked field goal and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game, giving Georgia Tech a stunning 22-16 upset of the No. 9 Seminoles on Saturday night.
"Wow!" Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "What a game, huh?"
What a game, indeed.
Roberto Aguayo, one of the most accurate kickers in the country, attempted a 56-yard field goal to win it for the Seminoles (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 6 seconds remaining. But the kick was low, and Patrick Gamble managed to get a hand on it.
While most of the Georgia Tech players celebrated, Austin went back to retrieve the ball, rolling along inside the 25-yard line. Johnson was actually yelling for no one to pick it up, content to go to overtime with the score tied at 16.
Austin hesitated at first, looking like he would let it roll dead. But then he scooped it up, taking off the other way in front of the Georgia Tech bench. He avoided Aguayo’s diving attempt, then cut back on the final guy who had a shot at the tackle to win the game for Georgia Tech (3-5, 1-4).
"I go from yelling ‘Get away from it’ to ‘Run, run, run,’" Johnson quipped.
On the Florida State sideline, coach Jimbo Fisher stoically removed his headset, clearly shocked at only the second loss in the last three seasons for the Seminoles.
"We did not finish," he said. "I don’t know what happened on that last play. We’ve got to cover it."
The white-clad Georgia Tech fans stormed the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium, celebrating with the players after perhaps the most improbable win in school history.
The fans were still milling around when a replay of the final play, complete with the call by the Yellow Jackets’ radio crew, was played on the video board. They cheered wildly as Austin zigzagged down the field all over again on the big screen at the opposite end of the stadium.
In a finish reminiscent of Auburn running back a missed field goal to beat Alabama two seasons ago — the original Kick Six — Georgia Tech snapped a five-game losing streak and dealt a devastating blow to Florida State’s title hopes.
The Yellow Jackets also ended FSU’s record-tying streak of 29 straight victories against ACC opponents, a run that dated back to 2012 and matched the Seminoles’ streak of winning its first 28 conference games after joining the league in 1992.
Leading 16-13, Florida State had a chance to seal the victory in the fourth quarter as it drove deep into Georgia Tech territory. On third-and-goal from the 10, Everett Golson’s deflected pass led to the Seminoles’ first offensive turnover of the season — and first turnover of any kind since their first game.
Jamal Golden made the interception in the back of the end zone, an omen of what was to come for the Seminoles.
Justin Thomas, who had a 60-yard touchdown run for the Yellow Jackets after two early interceptions led to 10 points for Florida State, kept the game alive by converting on fourth-and-six from the Georgia Tech 41. The quarterback hit Brad Stewart on a 36-yard pass that set up Harrison Butker’s third field goal of the game, a 35-yarder that tied the game with 54 seconds left.
With two timeouts, Florida State still had time to get into field goal range for Aguayo, who had never missed a kick in the fourth quarter. But the Seminoles didn’t get quite close enough, forcing him to attempt what would have been the longest kick of his career. He drove it low, looking for distance, and the Seminoles didn’t even get to go to overtime.
Austin made sure of that.