After a much-needed bye week to rest and recover, the 4-3 Florida State Seminoles welcome the 3-4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to Tallahassee. The game will kick off at 12:00pm EST and be broadcast on the ACC Network.
The Seminoles and Yellow Jackets have met on the gridiron 26 times. FSU holds a 14-11-1 series lead but Georgia Tech has won the past two games (2015 and 2020). Georgia Tech began the series with 7 wins in 8 tries between 1952 and 1975, all of which were played in Atlanta, with the only tie game coming in 1962. FSU then rattled off 12 straight victories in the series between 1992 and 2003, winning by an average of 24 points. Let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows in this series.
Naturally we have to start with the 1992 game, affectionately known to FSU faithful as the day Charlie Ward kicked down the doors on his way to becoming a college football legend. In a nationally-televised contest against his high school rival, Yellow Jackets QB Shawn Jones, Ward and the Seminoles struggled against Tech through much of the first three quarters. A switch was flipped in the fourth quarter when the coaching staff unleashed Ward and the “fast break offense”, leading to a a 20-point outburst in the frenetic comeback victory. While Ward was the shining star, Derrick Brooks’ outstanding performance while filling in for an injured Marvin Jones should not be overlooked.
The following season saw the most lopsided score in series history, with the championship-bound Seminoles coasting to a 51-0 victory behind four Ward touchdowns and three from a true freshman named Warrick Dunn. It was the third shutout completed by the vaunted Seminole defense in the 1993 season to that point.
My personal favorite matchup in this series came in 1999, when future Davey O’Brien winner Joe Hamilton dueled with future Heisman winner Chris Weinke in an instant classic. Behind creative playcalling by GT offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen, Hamilton torched the Seminole secondary for nearly 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets couldn’t contain the high-powered FSU offense, led by the Weinke-to-Warrick connection (8 connections for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns), and came up short in a 41-35 Seminole victory to keep FSU undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation.
The 2000 and 2003 games were notable for Seminole milestones. The 2000 tilt saw FSU hold off a major upset bid from GT in which Chris Weinke throw for a then-career high 443 yards and two touchdowns to become FSU’s all-time leading passer.
The 2003 game saw Bobby Bowden become the winningest coach in ACC conference history, though the game itself was a nightmare that Bowden described as “54 minutes of getting beat and 6 minutes of winning.” Chris Rix shook off a terrible first half by leading the Seminoles on two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter to squeak out a one-point victory.
Karma caught up to FSU in the next matchup. 2008 saw the first of several gut-wrenching turns of fate for FSU in the series. The Seminoles were driving for the game-winning touchdown after clawing their way back from a double-digit deficit, only for RB Marcus Sims to fumble at the goal line and allow Georgia Tech to escape with its first victory against Florida State in 33 years.
The following season saw the highest scoring game in the series. Christian Ponder threw for 359 yards and a career-high 5 touchdowns (to 5 different receivers), but the eventual ACC-Champion Yellow Jackets prevailed 49-45 behind QB Josh Nesbitt’s 4 total touchdowns. The loss dropped FSU to 2-4 and the calls for Bobby Bowden’s retirement grew louder.
The Seminoles got their revenge in a big way the next time they met GT on the gridiron, this time for the ACC Championship in 2012. Three running touchdowns (2 from James Wilder, Jr. and another from Devonta Freeman) led the ‘Noles to their first ACC Championship since 2005. Then-defensive back Karlos Williams picked off a pass to seal the win and earning FSU a berth in the Orange Bowl. This victory was the first in FSU’s remarkable 29-game winning streak.
The 2014 matchup between the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets once again decided the ACC Championship, with Jameis Winston leading FSU to its third straight ACC title in a 37-35 victory. In his first college start, RB Dalvin Cook racked up 220 yards of offense. The win would be the 29th in a row, sending the ‘Noles to an ill-fated College Football Playoff appearance against the Oregon Ducks.
The following year, Georgia Tech ripped the hearts out of the Seminoles on an unbelievable ending to the game. The Seminoles gave ace kicker Roberto Aguayo a 56-yard attempt to break a 16-16 tie, but the Yellow Jackets blocked the kick and housed it for a touchdown as time expired. I’ll spare you the video but you can look it up if you really want to re-live it.
1952: Georgia Tech 30, Florida State 0
1955: Georgia Tech 34, Florida State 0
1958: Georgia Tech 17, Florida State 3
1962: Florida State 14, Georgia Tech 14
1963: Georgia Tech 15, Florida State 7
1970: Georgia Tech 23, Florida State 13
1971: Georgia Tech 12, Florida State 6
1975: Georgia Tech 30, Florida State 0
1992: Florida State 29, Georgia Tech 24
1993: Florida State 51, Georgia Tech 0
1994: Florida State 41, Georgia Tech 10
1995: Florida State 42, Georgia Tech 10
1996: Florida State 49, Georgia Tech 3
1997: Florida State 38, Georgia Tech 0
1998: Florida State 34, Georgia Tech 7
1999: Florida State 41, Georgia Tech 35
2000: Florida State 26, Georgia Tech 21
2001: Florida State 28, Georgia Tech 17
2002: Florida State 21, Georgia Tech 13
2003: Florida State 14, Georgia Tech 13
2008: Georgia Tech 31, Florida State 28
2009: Georgia Tech 49, Florida State 44
2012: Florida State 21, Georgia Tech 15
2014: Florida State 37, Georgia Tech 35
2015: Georgia Tech 22, Florida State 16
2020: Georgia Tech 16, Florida State 13