Jacksonville Sports Day

ACC FINAL: True Freshmen Lead Tech Past Wilting ‘ Noles, 16-13

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Character Lines)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FLSPORTSWIRE) – Florida State couldn’t rally in the fourth quarter and dropped it’s fourth straight home-opener Saturday. The first time since 1976.

True freshman QB Jeff Sims totaled 341 yards of total offense and sophomore defensive end Curtis Ryans forced a fumble that set up true freshman Jude Kelley’s 32-yard game-winning field goal with 8:56 to go in Georgia Tech’s 16-13 season-opening victory over Florida Stateat Doak Campbell Stadium.

Keyshawn Helton caught a three-yard touchdown on FSU’s opening drive, the fifth of his career. Helton was playing in his first game after suffering a season-ending injury midway through 2019.

Parker Grothaus made his first career field goal attempt to give FSU a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, making a 37-yard attempt. He added a 53-yard make to give FSU a 13-7 lead in the third.

Georgia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and took the 10-o deficit into the locker room at halftime, despite moving the ball inside Florida State’s 25 yard line four times in the first half. The Jackets came up empty in the opening half thanks to a pair of interceptions and a pair of blocked field goals.

Asante Samuel Jr.’s second career pick on Georgia Tech’s opening drive marked the second straight year FSU has forced a turnover on the opposing team’s season-opening drive.

Samuel Jr. recorded his second pick of the game with 7:55 left in the second quarter.

The Seminoles blocked three kicks on special teams. Two field goals and one point after toucdown. Marvin Wilson blocked the field goal attempts.

Janarius Robinson preserved a 13-13 tie with a blocked PAT in the fourth quarter, the first time FSU has blocked an extra point since 2018.

Tech got on the board in the second half when junior running back Jordan Mason capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run that made it 10-7.

After Florida State extended the lead to 13-7, the Yellow Jackets pulled even at 13-13 on a 15-yard throw-and-catch from Sims to junior wideout Malachi Carter. However, the Jackets’ extra point attempt was blocked — Tech’s third blocked kick of the game — and the scored remained tied at 13-13.

On Florida State’s ensuing possession, Ryans turned the tide of the game for good when he sacked FSU QB James Blackman, forcing a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker David Curry and returned 19 yards to the Georgia Tech 11.

Four plays later, Kelley drilled the 32-yard field goal that gave the Jackets their first lead at 16-13.

Tech’s defense made the lead stand up by stymieing the Seminoles on their final two possessions. First it was Ryans again, forcing another fumble by Blackman that was recovered by senior defensive tackle Djimon Brooks.

On its final possession, FSU failed to pick up a first down and the Jackets took over on downs and kneeled the clock out for the victory.

Georgia Tech outgained Florida State (0-1, 0-1 ACC) by a 438-307 margin, including a 277-198 advantage through the air and a 161-109 edge on the ground.

Blackman was 23 of 43 passing for 198 yards with one interception. He was sacked three times. Jashaun Corbin led the FSU receivers with 8 cathes for 55 yards.

Sims was solid in his debut, completing 24-of-35 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown and running for a game-high 64 yards on 13 carries.

FSU’s Amari Gainer led all players with 10 tackles (5 solo). It marks the secondmost tackles in his career, only behind his 12 stops at Boston College last year.

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