DALLAS (FWAA) – What started as a game-saving play from its special teams turned into a game-winning play for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as Lance Austin returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of a 22-16 win over No. 9 Florida State. The win snapped FSU’s 28-game win streak in Atlantic Coast Conference games, and earned the Yellow Jackets the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 24.
Tied at 16-16, FSU lined up for a 56-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left. But Georgia Tech lineman Patrick Gamble got a hand on the ball and blocked the kick, sending the loose ball into the Georgia Tech secondary. After an initial hesitation, Austin picked it up before it rolled dead and raced 78 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown as time expired. Gamble’s block was Georgia Tech’s third this season and 14th blocked kick since 2013. The Yellow Jackets have blocked the most kicks in the nation since the 2013 season.
The win was Georgia Tech’s (3-5) first in ACC play this season and also snapped a five-game losing streak following a 2-0 start.
“I was just hoping he was going to kick it low because it was so long a kick,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “It was crazy because we blocked it and I see it run across the line. I go from yelling ‘Get away from it’ to ‘Run, run, run.’ What a great play by Lance (Austin) to pick it up. He got some key blocks and he made a couple guys miss. I don’t care if it was the kicker, he still made them miss. We were due. It was our turn. We’ve seen so many of these close ones like this go the other way, it’s good to finally be on the right end of one for a change.”
The Yellow Jackets’ defense also had one its best games, stealing a key interception in the fourth quarter – FSU’s first offensive turnover of the season – when Tech safety Jamal Golden picked off a tipped pass in the Georgia Tech end zone.
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 24 included:
• Clemson (7-0): The Tigers tied the school record for victory margin in an ACC game with a 58-0 drubbing of Miami at Sun Life Stadium, also handing the Hurricanes their most lopsided loss ever. Clemson racked up a season-high 567 total yards, 416 of it on the ground that marked its best rushing effort since 2000. Quarterback Deshaun Watson accounted for 241 total yards before leaving in the third quarter with a 45-0 lead.
• USC (4-3): The Trojans gave interim coach Clay Helton a win in his debut game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and knocked No. 3 Utah from the unbeaten ranks, 42-24. Cameron Smith, a freshman linebacker, had three interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster paced the offense with eight catches for 143 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
• Weekend of Sept. 5: Temple Owls
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Toledo Rockets
• Weekend of Sept. 19: Ole Miss Rebels
• Weekend of Sept. 26: Utah Utes
• Weekend of Oct. 3: Florida Gators
• Weekend of Oct. 10: Texas Longhorns
• Weekend of Oct. 17: Memphis Tigers
• Weekend of Oct. 24: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets