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From the opening kickoff until halftime, Florida State was in absolute command of ACC Championship opponent Georgia Tech. The 'Noles built a 21-6 lead and seemed to be cruising toward an inevitable trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl.
The 'Noles will be making that trip for the Orange Bowl, however they tiptoed in the game's final moments.
Florida State (11-2) scored no points in the second half but held off a late Yellow Jacket rally to win the game 21-15 and its first ACC Championship since 2005.
Sophomore Karlos Williams, who played linebacker in place of an injured Nick Moody, ended a late threat with an interception in the game's final 90 seconds.
The Seminoles were led offensively by its two running backs - James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman - who combined for the team's three touchdowns. Wilder, who was named ACC Championship Game MVP, rushed 10 times for 69 yards and two scores while Freeman added 59 yards and a score on 13 total carries. The Seminoles rushed for 194 yards in all.
Three team turnovers, plus a surging effort by Tevin Washington and the Yellow Jacket offense led to tense moments for the Seminoles down the stretch. But unlike a Saturday night game in Raleigh back in October, the Seminole defense bailed out a stalling offense in the final moments.
Florida State moves on to play in the Orange bowl on January 1, 2013. Its opponent will be determined Sunday.
The skinny: Florida State totaled 107 yards on 16 plays in the first quarter, scoring on its first offensive possession. Devonta Freeman punched it in on a three-yard option run with 10:45 left in the first quarter. The Seminoles had another drive going later in the quarter but they were plagued with more third-and-short issues, failing to pick up a third and inches in GT territory.
FSU handled the GT option offense nicely, holding the Jackets to 45 yards on 16 plays.
Key Play: Florida State got a spark from its first offensive play after getting the ball at the Georgia Tech 43 (thanks to a 20-yard punt). Lonne Pryor caught a pass out of the backfield and rumbled 21 yards to get FSU in business. The Seminoles scored five plays later on the Freeman run.
Key Player: Freeman racked up 23 yards rushing on six first-quarter carries to go with the score.
Key Stat: The Yellow Jackets were limited to 45 yards on 13 carries, a 3.5 yard-per-carry average.
The Skinny: Florida State keeps on rolling. The Seminoles have been a force on the ground, rumbling for 147 rushing yards in the first half on the way to a 21-6 lead. James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and QB EJ Manuel have all been effective. Wilder scored both FSU touchdowns in the second quarter while Manuel added 36 rush yards on just three second-quarter carries.
Georgia Tech has not been able to crack the FSU defense as of yet, rushing for 99 yards on 26 carries.
Key Play: A series of two plays early in the second quarter gave FSU its comfortable lead. On third-and-two from the GT 36, Manuel scrambled for 20 yards to get FSU in the red zone. Then came a dose of Wilder, scoring on the next play to make it 14-0 Noles.
Key Player: Wilder Jr. really got going in the second quarter with six carries for 48 yards and the two touchdowns. One came from 16 yards out and the other was a 1-yard run.
Key Stat: Florida State is averaging 7.3 yards per play while Georgia Tech is averaging only 3.8.
The skinny: Florida State and Georgia Tech first traded three-and-outs to begin the second half. Then the two sides traded turnovers.
FSU's Kelvin Benjamin fumbled first after reeling in a catch on a called screen pass. One play later, Georgia Tech tried a double-pass that was picked off by Xavier Rhodes.
Georgia Tech accounted for the only scoring of the quarter, a 36-yard field goal from Tanner.
Key Play: Georgia Tech had an open man - A-back Robert Godhigh - on 3rd-and-12 in the red zone. But even though Godhigh had several steps on Rhodes, he was missed by Washington. Tech settled for a field goal.
Key Player: Seminole receiver Rashad Greene continues to get open and is up to 78 total yards on seven touches.
Key Stat: Florida State had just 74 yards of total offense in the quarter.
The Skinny: The Seminoles added no points in the fourth quarter of Saturday's ACC Championship game, but it needed none in order to win.
Georgia Tech took advantage of another FSU turnover, cashing in with a one-yard run by Washington to make it a one score game. But when Tech took control of the ball with roughly two minutes to go on its 15, it could not take it down the field.
Karlos Williams, who played linebacker in place of an injured Nick Moody, sealed the deal with a late interception.
Key Play: On a 1st-and-15 from its oen 37-yard line, Washington dropped back and threw to Godhigh, who bobbled a ball that Williams disrupted at the last secon. The ball eventually fell into the hands of Williams, who took an aggressive against Godhigh.
Key Player: Williams played in place of Moody, who was injured on the opening kickoff of the game.
Key Stat: Florida State scored zero points in the second half.
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