ACC Championship: Seminoles vs. Yellow Jackets
This won’t do Florida State any favors in the eyes of anybody looking to rank them higher in the college playoff picture. They may have won the game, but they made very hard work of it and relied far more on a couple of major Georgia Tech miscues at key times late in the game to get it done.
In the end though they held on for a victory that keeps their perfect season alive and brings home some silverware. Now for the serious matter of the playoff.
Before that however, let’s take a look at the standouts from this game.
Florida State Seminoles – Performances of Note
Jameis Winston, QB: +0.6
Breakdown: As seems to be the trend in college this season, when the top quarterbacks put up impressive looking numbers, they are often bailed out by some disastrous coverage. Winston was fine in this game, but had virtually no pressure to deal with (four snaps) and had a couple of total coverage busts to take advantage of.
Signature Play: Q2. 5:48. This looks great on the stat sheet, but about all Winston needed to do was see the guy with nobody covering him after his cover-man fell over trying to track his release. Routine touchdown.
Cameron Erving, C: +5.9
Breakdown: The left tackle for FSU for most of the season, Erving has been asked to play center the past few games, and he responded in this one with a dominant performance against the undersized Georgia Tech defensive line. Erving was a monster in the run game all day, manhandling defenders and giving FSU major running lanes to work with.
Signature Stat: The Seminoles averaged 5.7 yards per carry running either side of center.
Rashad Greene, WR: +2.2
Breakdown: If there was a player that really stood out on the FSU offense when it came to the passing game it was Greene, though TE Nick O’Leary had a fine game also. Greene made a series of big plays in the game and was the main threat, notching the most targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns on the team.
Signature Stat: Gained 65 of his 123 receiving yards after the catch.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – Performances of Note
Justin Thomas, QB: +4.1
Breakdown: Obviously, with the offense the Georgia Tech run, the majority of Thomas’ positive grade came as a runner. He made several big plays in their option attack, beating Florida State defenders who weren’t as disciplined as they could have been, cheating to try and play both parts of the option and failing to defend either. Sadly for him his deficiencies as a passer showed up late as he threw a few ugly balls at crucial times in the game.
Signature Stat: Forced five missed tackles to lead all GT rushers.
Shaquille Mason, RG: +5.0
Breakdown: Like the rest of the offense, it’s very difficult to evaluate Georgia Tech’s blocking by conventional standards. The technique in this triple option attack is so completely foreign to most other systems that it’s tough to really compare apples with apples. Nonetheless, the one player from this line that stands out more often than not to me is Mason. He fires off the line and has a powerful initial surge, often enough to gain positive yardage, but he also doesn’t get beaten from that aggressive punch as often as most of his linemates do.
Signature Stat: Mason was one of two GT offensive linemen to grade positively, and his +5.0 was far better than the next best performance, from LT Byron Chamberlain (+1.7)
The D-line: -14.2 Combined among starters
Breakdown: It would be unfair to single anybody out on this unit, but the D-line was simply outgunned in this encounter. The broadcast ran a graphic claiming the average weight of the Florida State O-line at 323lbs, 64lbs heavier than the average defensive lineman from Georgia Tech. 280lb defensive tackles and 240lb defensive ends just couldn’t stand up to the kind of grind the Seminoles put on them all game long.
Signature Stat: Florida State averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 33 attempts and their rushers only had to force four missed tackles to get that yardage. They averaged 3.3 yards per carry before any defensive contact at all.
PFF Game Ball
Guys like Greene and O’Leary had good claims to the game ball, but it would be wrong to do anything other than award it to the entire FSU offensive line, who controlled this game in the trenches, explaining to a large degree Dalvin Cook’s relatively modest grade despite his gaudy stats. They opened up huge holes all game long.
Florida State Offense
Florida State Defense