CHARLOTTE — James Wilder Jr. ran for two touchdowns as No. 13 Florida State held off Georgia Tech 21-15 Saturday night to capture its first ACC championship since 2005 and earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.
It was Florida State’s 13th ACC title.
The heavily favored Seminoles (11-2) built a 21-6 lead at the half.
Despite its record, Georgia Tech (6-7) is bowl eligible after receiving a waiver from the NCAA on Thursday.
It looked like Georgia Tech, a two-touchdown underdog, might get blown out, but the game wasn’t decided until Karlos Williams intercepted Tevin Washington with less than a minute remaining.
The Yellow Jackets slowed the Seminoles in the second half and forced two turnovers by quarterback EJ Manuel to get back in the game.
Defensive end Emmanuel Dieke jarred the ball from Manuel’s grasp and recovered the fumble in the third quarter.
Washington, who hadn’t completed a pass all game, suddenly came alive, hitting Chris Milton for a gain of 18 yards and B.J. Bostic for 32 yards to reach the Florida State 3. Robert Godhigh picked up a critical first down on fourth-and-1 and Washington scored his 19th touchdown of the season on the following play to cut the lead to 21-15 with 6:27 left.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson curiously went for 2 and failed, meaning the Seminoles only had to add a field goal to make it a two-possession game.
That didn’t happen though as defensive back Jemea Thomas intercepted Manuel’s downfield pass to give the Yellow Jackets one last chance with 2:17 left in the game.
FSU—Freeman 3 run (Hopkins kick), 10:45.
FSU—Wilder 16 run (Hopkins kick), 13:54. GaT—FG Tanner 27, 9:25. FSU—Wilder 1 run (Hopkins kick), 4:56. GaT—FG Scully 47, 1:12.
GaT—FG Tanner 36, 1:08.
GaT—Washington 1 run (run failed), 6:27.
Att.—64,778 (at GeorgiaTech).
|Time of Possession||29:37||30:23|
RUSHING—Florida St., Wilder 10-69, Freeman 13-59, Manuel 10-49, Greene 1-18, Pryor 1-4, Team 2-(minus 5). Georgia Tech, Sims 19-91, Godhigh 5-35, Bostic 5-25, Washington 10-20, Laskey 3-14, Lee 4-3, Days 1-2, Hill 1-(minus 2), Zenon 4-(minus 5).
PASSING—Florida St., Manuel 16-21-1-134. Georgia Tech, Washington 4-14-1-76, Lee 1-1-0-42, Days 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING—Florida St., Greene 9-82, Pryor 2-25, O’Leary 2-11, R.Smith 1-12, Benjamin 1-3, Haggins 1-1. Georgia Tech, Waller 2-59, Bostic 2-41, Je.Moore 1-18.