ATLANTA » Call this one Kick Six, The Sequel.
It may have ended Florida State’s national championship hopes.
Lance Austin returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game, giving Georgia Tech a stunning 22-16 upset of the No. 9 Seminoles on Saturday night.
Roberto Aguayo, one of the most accurate kickers in the country, attempted a 56-yard field goal to win the game for the Seminoles (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 6 seconds remaining. But the kick was low, and Patrick Gamble managed to get a hand on it.
While most of the Georgia Tech players celebrated, Austin went back to retrieve the ball, rolling along inside the 25-yard line.
At first, he seemed hesitant to pick it up. But then he did, taking off the other way in front of the Georgia Tech bench. He avoided Aguayo’s diving attempt, then cut back on the final guy who had a shot at the tackle to win the game for Georgia Tech (3-5, 1-4).
The white-clad Georgia Tech fans stormed the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium, celebrating with the players after perhaps the most improbable win in school history.
The fans were still milling around when a replay of the final play, complete with the call by the Yellow Jackets’ radio crew, was played on the video board. They cheered wildly as Austin zigzagged down the field all over again on the big screen at the opposite end of the stadium.
In a finish reminiscent of Auburn running back a missed field goal to beat Alabama two seasons ago — the original Kick Six — Georgia Tech snapped a five-game losing streak and dealt a devastating blow to Florida State’s title hopes.
The Yellow Jackets also ended FSU’s record-tying streak of 28 straight victories against ACC opponents, a run that dated back to 2012 and matched the Seminoles’ streak of winning its first 28 conference games after joining the league in 1992.
Leading 16-13, Florida State had a chance to seal the victory in the fourth quarter as it drove deep into Georgia Tech territory. On third-and-goal from the 10, Everett Golson’s deflected pass led to the Seminoles’ first offensive turnover of the season — and first turnover of any kind since their first game.
Jamal Golden made the interception in the back of the end zone, an omen of what was to come for the Seminoles.
Justin Thomas, who had a 60-yard touchdown run for the Yellow Jackets after two early interceptions led to 10 points for Florida State, kept the game alive by converting on fourth-and-six from the Georgia Tech 41. The quarterback hit Brad Stewart on a 36-yard pass that set up Harrison Butker’s third field goal of the game, a 35-yarder that tied the game with 54 seconds left.
With two timeouts, Florida State still had time to get into field goal range for Aguayo, who had never missed a kick in the fourth quarter. But the Seminoles didn’t get quite close enough, forcing him to attempt what would have been the longest kick of his career. He drove it low, looking for distance, and the Seminoles didn’t even get to go to overtime.
Austin made sure of that.