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Worth The Wait: Jackets Topple FSU in '20 Opener

Final Stats (.pdf) | Final Stats (.html) | Postgame Notes | Multimedia | Photo Gallery

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — True freshman quarterback 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 thrilling 16-13 season-opening victory over Florida State on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Georgia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and took the 10-0 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.

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 beautiful 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 quarterback James Blackman, forcing a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker David Curry and returned 19 yards to the Seminole 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 whopping 438-307 margin, including a 277-198 advantage through the air and a 161-109 edge on the ground. Sims was spectacular 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.

The Yellow Jackets open the home portion of their 2020 schedule on Saturday, Sept. 19 when they host UCF at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ABC.

Curtis Ryans (98) had two sacks and two key forced fumbles in the fourth quarter of Georgia Tech’s 16-13 win at Florida State

Postgame Notes

Team

  • Georgia Tech defeated an NCAA Division I FBS opponent in a season opener for the first time since a 17-14 win over Boston College to open the 2016 season (Sept. 3, 2016 – Dublin, Ireland).
  • Georgia Tech opened the season with a true road win for the first time since a 33-3 victory at Notre Dame to open the 2007 season (Sept. 1, 2007).
  • Georgia Tech opened the season with a true conference road win for the first time since a 28-16 victory at NC State to open the 1996 season (Sept. 7, 1996).
  • The win was Georgia Tech’s fourth-straight regular-season victory over Florida State, dating back to 2008.
  • The win was Georgia Tech’s second in eight all-time games at Florida State.
  • The win was Georgia Tech’s 13th-straight over a rotating opponent from the ACC Atlantic Division. GT has not lost to a rotating opponent from the ACC Atlantic Division since a 45-28 defeat at NC State on Sept. 25, 2010.
  • Georgia Tech outgained Florida State, 438-307.

Individual Notes

  • Jeff Sims became the first true freshman to start a season opener at QB for Georgia Tech since Reggie Ball in 2003 (Aug. 28, 2003 at BYU).
  • Sims became the first true freshman QB to win ever a season opener for Georgia Tech (since the NCAA allowed freshman eligibility in 1972).
  • Sims completed 24-of-35 passes for 277 yards. The 24 completions were the most by a Georgia Tech quarterback since Reggie Ball had 27 vs. Duke on Nov. 8, 2003 and the 277 passing yards were the most by a Yellow Jacket since Justin Thomas had 282 vs. Wofford on Aug. 30, 2014.
  • Sims’ 15 completions in the first half alone matched the most completions by any Georgia Tech quarterback in a full game from over the last 12 seasons (2008-19).
  • True Fr. Jordan Williams also started for Georgia Tech at right tackle.
  • WR Malachi Carter set a career high with six receptions (prev.: 3, three times – last vs. North Carolina, 2019).
  • WR Jalen Camp set a career high with five receptions (prev.: 4 at Temple, 2019).
  • RB Jamious Griffin set a career high with 42 rushing yards (prev. 33 vs. Georgia, 2019).
  • LB Quez Jackson recorded his first-career interception in the second quarter.
  • DL Curtis Ryans recorded the first two sacks of his career. On his second sack, he forced a fumble that was recovered by Sr. LB David Curry and returned to the FSU 11 yard line, which set up Fr. PK Jude Kelley’s 32-yard field goal that gave Georgia Tech a 16-13 lead with 8:56 to go in the fourth quarter.
  • Ryans also had two forced fumbles, the second coming on the FSU possession immediately following Kelley’s go-ahead field goal.
Malachi Carter’s 15-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter pulled Georgia Tech even at 13-13

Multimedia

ACC Digital Network Highlights (Video)

ACC Digital Network Jeff Sims Highlights (Video)

ACC Digital Network Condensed Game (Video)

Head Coach Geoff Collins Postgame Press Conference

Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference

Georgia Tech Sports Network from Learfield IMG College Highlights (Audio)

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