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Florida State hangs on, beats Georgia Tech in ACC Championship, 21-15

A late Yellow Jackets rally was for naught, as the Seminoles built an early lead and made it stand to win the ACC Championship Game and punch a ticket to the Orange Bowl.

Streeter Lecka

It wasn't pretty, but the Florida State Seminoles are going to the Orange Bowl.

Despite not scoring in the second half while committing three turnovers, the No. 13 Seminoles managed to beat back a late Georgia Tech rally to win the ACC Championship Game, 21-15, in Charlotte. E.J. Manuel threw for 132 yards and rushed for 65 more, as Florida State built a big halftime lead and hung on from there.

It was a struggle to get to the final whistle for the Seminoles (11-2). Two fumbles and an interception, as well as some tenacious Georgia Tech defense, kept Florida State off the board over the last 30 minutes of play. The final turnover came with just 2:27 left and the ball on the 50-yard-line, as the Yellow Jackets (6-7) intercepted Manuel at their own 17-yard-line. But on the ensuing drive, Tevin Washington was picked off by Karlos Williams to seal the game.

For the Yellow Jackets, it was a game of missed opportunities, as the offense could manage just one touchdown in three red-zone trips. That score came with 6:27 to play in the game, as Washington ran the ball in for a one-yard score, capping off a 13-play, 70-yard drive started with a fumble recovery on a Manuel sack.

Florida State jumped out early with a touchdown on its first drive of the game, a seven-yard run by Devonta Freeman, then added 14 more points thanks to a pair of runs from James Wilder. A pair of field goals kept Georgia Tech from being shut out in the first half, as Florida State took a 21-6 lead into the locker room.

Manuel completed 15 of his 20 throws, but was picked off, lost a fumble and sacked three times. Washington was an abysmal 4-of-14 for 76 yards with the interception and a sack, but did add 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground. David Sims led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 91 yards on 19 carries. As a team, Georgia Tech rushed the ball 52 times, but managed just 187 yards, an average of only 3.6 yards per carry.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.