One of the best things about college football is how crazy and wild situations get at the end of games. Michigan lost a heartbreaker to Michigan State earlier this year on a muffed punt and, on Saturday, Florida State was victim to this when Georgia Tech returned a blocked field goal for the game winning score.
But Florida State didn’t lose the game because Roberto Aguayo’s field goal was blocked. They lost the game due to poor decisions by Jimbo Fisher, terrible offensive line play and Everett Golson’s inability to run Fisher’s offense.
Early on in the game, freshman defensive end Josh Sweat made a phenomenal play to bat down a Justin Thomas pass and come down with the interception. Florida State started on the Georgia Tech 19-yard line and gained 17 yards on five plays. On fourth and goal at the Georgia Tech two-yard line, Jimbo Fisher elected to kick the field goal.
This is absolutely the wrong decision. Even if Florida State had gone for the touchdown and failed to convert, Georgia Tech would have been pinned back on their own two-yard line against a defense that played very well throughout the night. This was the wrong decision by Jimbo Fisher, who fails to recognize basic fourth down math this late into his career.
To put that into perspective, Florida State would start again on the Georgia Tech two-yard line after a Lamarcus Brutus interception. They punched this one in for a touchdown, but came away with only 10 points on two drives that started inside the Georgia Tech 20-yard line.
Florida State’s offense also held them back in this game. Georgia Tech’s defensive line, which was vastly undersized compared to Florida State’s offensive line, whipped them throughout the night and limited Dalvin Cook to only 82 yards rushing on the night. Cook might have not been 100% in the game, but his offensive line did him no favors in this game.
Everett Golson’s inexperience in this offense also showed on Saturday night. Georgia Tech’s game plan was simple: limit the short passing game and make Golson beat them through the air. It worked as they did a good job at snuffing out the screen game that Florida State had been working with, Dalvin Cook was limited and Golson failed to drive the ball down the field. Golson clearly does not know this system fully yet and his limitations as a passer were evident. The ball to Travis Rudolph that was intercepted was very poorly thrown and Rudolph had to jump and adjust his body angle to even have a shot at a catch.
On the flip side, the defense did a very good job on the night. People will point to the big plays that they gave up, but Florida State’s defense forced two turnovers, three punts, and three field goals on nine total possessions that Georgia Tech had. They only allowed one touchdown to a Georgia Tech offense that is still very good, despite what their record says.
All in all, Georgia Tech deserved to win this game. They had the right plan defensively and they took advantage of opportunities when they came their way. It’s heartbreaking as a Florida State fan to lose in this fashion, but that’s the way college football works. Crazy things happen.