In the first half, it was one of the craziest outbursts of offense that any college football fan has ever seen. Neither team punted and it was 35-28 at the half. Florida State received the ball to open the game, and quickly marched straight down the field to score a touchdown, much like last year's game in Atlanta. Also much like that game, Georgia Tech responded quickly with a score of its own.
At that point in the game, the weather was a factor, and the game was put on hold due to the lightining in the area. Fans of both teams wondered how long it would be, and how it would affect the players on each team. Once the players returned we quickly learned that the offenses of each team were not effected.
Florida State and Georgia Tech both scored with ease on each possession. Literally every time the offense of either team had the ball it punched it in the endzone. FSU outgained GT 403 to 243 in the first half primarily through the air with Christian Ponder passing for 4 TDs in the first half alone. 267 of that 403 was through the air. GT only had 47 passing yards, however their triple option offense gashed FSU quickly and effectively for 196 yards on only 18 attempts. A comical 10.9 yds per attempt, compared to our video game like 12.7 yds per throw. It was literally an offensive showdown.
The first stop happened right after the first half when Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt fumbled the ball to FSU. However the third down conversion fell between two open FSU players and freshman kicker Hopkins missed the ensuing field goal. Georgia Tech then scored on the next play when their WR Thomas went up over DB Ochuko Jenije and caught the ball for the distance. After a great run by Chris Thompson FSU decided not to go on 4th and 5, and kicked to make the game 38-35. In my opinion a bad decision. Florida State had the opportunity to go for it in positions they should have on fourth down, given their defense, a few times but did not and ended the 3rd quarter down 42-38. Georgia Tech did not stop moving the ball at all, the pace was just slowed. Don't let anything make you think our defense played good in the second half. Paul Johnson's well coached offense outplayed our poorly coached defense only nearly every snap of the game.
Again, our only stops came from the fumble variety as Nesbitt made a bad pitch and the Seminoles recovered. However, our best player and QB, Christian Ponder then fumbled the ball back to Georgia Tech. On the next drive the announcer said " you sense the defense is wearing down" however they were not paying attention because FSU did not stop GT from start to finish. On this drive Nigel Carr recovered a fumble and QB Nesbitt stole the ball straight out of his hands to give GT yet another first down. The next play led to another GT touchdown because Kendall Smith missed yet another tackle. GT led at this point 49-38.
Louis Givens made a great return to give us good field position, and our leader, and best player Christian Ponder stood in to throw yet another TD, this time to Ruby Rod Owens, to make it 49-44, however the 2 point conversion was no good with 4:14. FSU decided to do an almost comically bad attempt at an onside kick at that point. GT was easily able to run the clock out, because they could run the ball on us on every snap of the football.
Our defense failed us in this game, which is not surprising given everything that we know. Mickey Andrews is well past his prime, and can't game plan for the triple option, Jody Allen and Chuck Amato are terrible position coaches on the defense, and recruiting lapses have left us thin and starting true freshman. Obviously this has been well covered on TomahawkNation, but Bobby Bowden is the root of all these coaching failures, and once Jimbo Fisher (whose offense looked dominant) is able to hire a full staff we can expect our defense to turn around at least some.
The total yards were very similar, because our offense played well. However their rushing offense threw up a playstation like 401 yards, with a 7.0 yards per carry average. We ran well for 180 yards, and threw for a great 359 yards and 5 TDs. They only had to throw 8 times to beat us. Georgia Tech's offense dominated our defense, and we dominated their defense. However, we didn't go for some short fourth downs, and we couldn't keep them from 6 yards at any time. The reason is that the DT position is the most important position in defending the triple option, and we simply don't have star-ready DTs. Our young guys are good and inexperienced against that size, and our older guys are hurt or not as talented.
This game shouldn't surprise anyone because there were plenty of signs that we could not defend Paul Johnson's offense, and our offense is run by a smart young man who is playing better than most anyone. It was a shootout, and both teams had a shot. GT took advantage of their possessions better than we did. That is how it goes sometimes.