Florida State claims third straight ACC championship with 37-35 win over Georgia Tech

Dalvin Cook scored 1 touchdown and rushed for 181 yards as the Noles’ won the 2014 ACC Championship game.

(Photo Credit: Craig Balog / The SkyBoat)


Written by Danny Morales

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dalvin Cook rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown as the fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles claimed their third straight ACC Championship with a 37-35 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

FSU and Georgia Tech went back and forth for most of the game but the Seminoles were able to stop the Yellow Jackets triple-option offense four times, including two in the fourth quarter.

The Seminoles went into halftime leading 28-21, despite only stopping the Yellow Jackets offense once during the opening half. Florida State did outgain Georgia Tech 321-253 during the first half, only punting once on their opening drive of the game.

Georgia Tech didn’t throw their first pass of the game until there was 9:00 left in the first half. The Yellow Jackets rushed on their first 27 plays of the game and finished with 59 attempts and 331 yards on the ground.

(Photo Credit: Bryce Brimhall / TheSkyBoat)
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston bounced back from a four-interception game last week against Florida and had a 309 yard, three touchdown game, matching his ACC record from last year.

“Sometimes the defense has a standout game, sometimes the offense has a standout game,” said Winston after the game. “But today we knew what we had to do and we got our defense’s back just like they got ours.”

Georgia Tech was able to tie the game back up at 28-28 on Synjyn Days’ third touchdown of the game, all of which came from 1 yard out. Then Roberto Aguayo put the Seminoles back in front when his 33-yard field gave FSU a 31-28 lead late in the third quarter.

Aguayo would go on to his two more field goals to extend FSU’s lead to 37-28 with 4:28 left in the game.

(Photo Credit: Craig Balog / The SkyBoat)
“At the end of the day I feel like I played a great game, I got my three kicks in,” said Aguayo following the game. “I know myself that those are big kicks, because if I had missed one they would have one it by one point, it goes to show every kick counts and I’m glad I made them.”

The Yellow Jackets cut the Seminoles lead to two points when Justin Thomas hit Darren Waller for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:47 remaining in regulation, but Florida State would recover the ensuing onside kick and used a first down run by Cook to clinch their third consecutive ACC title.

Cook’s 177 yards on the ground was the second most in ACC Championship game history, behind C.J. Spiller’s 233 yard game in 2009.

“It’s amazing what he does,” said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher of his freshman running back. “But this guy is a special guy, he really is. The balance he’s bringing our team now and the big-play ability, the capabilities and what he does catching the ball out of the backfield, picking up blitzes.

“As a freshman to come in and pick up our offense and the multiplicity of blitzes and protections and all the things that go on in the routes. This isn’t an easy one to pick up.”

FSU senior wide receiver Rashad Greene had 123 yards and a touchdown for the game and became the ACC’s all-time leading receiver after a catch in the second half.

With the win FSU improved to 13-0 on the season, while also extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 29 games. The Seminoles sophomore class, which consist of Jalen Ramsey, Kermit Whitfield and Nate Andrews among others, has gone 27-0 during their time at Florida State.

Now the Seminoles will wait for Sunday’s College Football Playoff Selection Show to see their fate for the first-ever CFB playoff. The Selection Show will start at 12:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.

No matter who FSU plays in the semifinal one thing is certain, and that is that the Seminoles will be ready to play for another championship.

“I think we prepare better when it’s playing against like playoff games or big-time games because we’ve got a different attitude,” said Winston. “We’ve got a burden off our shoulder so we just relax and we had that plan,”

“Because we want to win a championship. Everyone wants to win a championship.”

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