Nov. 2, 1996
No. 3 Seminoles Rout Georgia Tech, 49-3
ATLANTA -- Lamont Green returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown and Shevin Smith recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a score as third-ranked Florida State overcame a slow start for a 49-3 Atlantic Coast Conference rout of Georgia Tech.
Warrick Dunn rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown for the Seminoles (7-0, 6-0 ACC), who need to beat lowly Wake Forest next week to wrap up their fifth straight ACC championship since joining the conference in 1991. They are 37-1 all-time in the ACC and have beaten Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-3) five straight times.
"Our defense had definitely been the main aspect of our team this year because so many times our offense has got off to a sputtering start and the defense has saved us," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "That is what happened tonight."
Florida State used big plays to win its eighth straight game and remain in the national title chase. The Seminoles, who won the championship in 1993, do not leave Florida for the rest of the season. They face top-ranked Florida at home on November 30th.
Dunn carried just 13 times in his third straight 100-yard game. Thad Busby was 11-of-22 for 148 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for the Seminoles, who outgained Georgia Tech, 443-269.
"I thought the offense struggled quite a bit tonight," said Busby, who played with a sore left wrist. "It was really just a matter of hurting ourselves. We had too many turnovers and too many penalties to sustain anything consistently."
Georgia Tech's first drive ended with a 35-yard field goal by Brad Chambers less than 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Busby was intercepted twice in the first 16 minutes, but the defense gave Florida State the lead.
Green stepped in front of a soft screen pass by Joe Hamilton and raced untouched down the left side for a 7-3 lead with 13:28 to go in the first half. The Seminoles forced a punt and Dunn's 52-yard run set up Rock Preston's six-yard TD with 8:23 to go.
"I didn't think it would snowball but I hoped it would," Bowden said. "The interception put us ahead and took our neck out of a noose. Then Dunn makes his big run, and now with 14 points and the way your defense has been playing, you think you might be in pretty good shape."
Hamilton was just 4-of-11 for 30 yards and an interception. He eventually was replaced by Brandon Shaw, who was 7-of-16 for 84 yards.
"I think we need more speed and more athletes to beat a team like them," Hamilton said. "No scout team can really prepare you to play a team like them. Even though our scout team does a great job, you have to think game speed in practice and realize that in the game, they'll be getting to you a lot quicker."
The Seminoles again stopped the Ramblin' Wreck and punter Rodney Williams set up inside the 5. Peter Boulware broke through the left side of the line and blocked the punt and Smith fell on it with 3:43 remaining.
"We worked on it all week," Boulware said. "We thought we might be able to get one tonight and we did. Lamont Green got a good inside rush and that freed me up on the outside."
It was the fifth blocked kick for Florida State and the third TD for Smith, who also has returned an interception and fumble for scores.
Busby finally got into the act, connecting with Andre Cooper up the right sideline for 38 yards and a 28-3 lead with 1:39 left in the half.
"The one thing we said going into the game was that we couldn't give up big plays and they got a lot of big plays against us," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said.
Dunn added a 45-yard touchdown scamper with 1:38 left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, redshirt freshman Dan Kendra directed a pair of TD drives.
Kendra threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Peter Warrick, who had two catches for 33 yards and a 36-yard run on the march. Kendra added a two-yard TD run with 5:10 remaining.
Florida State 49, Georgia Tech 3
1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Florida St (3) 0 28 7 14 49 Georgia Tech 3 0 0 0 3 FINAL Georgia Tech-FG Chambers 35 Florida St-L Green 56 interception return (Bentley kick) Florida St-Preston 6 run (Bentley kick) Florida St-S Smith recovered blocked punt in end zone (Bentley kick) Florida St-Cooper 38 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-Dunn 45 run (Bentley kick) Florida St-Warrick 19 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) Florida St-Kendra 2 run (Bentley kick) Florida St Georgia Tech First downs 18 14 Rushed-yards 34-265 52-155 Passing yards 178 114 Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0 Return yards 65 7 Passes 13-27-3 11-27-1 Punts 6-44.7 10-31.9 Fumbles-lost 3-0 4-0 Penalties-yards 9-104 8-71 Time of possession 23:53 36:07 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Florida St-Dunn 13-121, Feaster 4-43, Glenn 4-36, Warrick 1-36, Preston 2-12, Kendra 6-10, P Williams 2-10, Team 1-minus 1, Busby 1-minus 2. Georgia Tech-C Rogers 15-58, Cj Williams 13-50, Hollomon 15-44, Shaw 5-7, Tj Johnson 1-1, Hamilton 3-minus 5. PASSING: Florida St-Busby 11-22-3-148, Kendra 2-5-0-30. Georgia Tech-Hamilton 4-11-1-30, Shaw 7-16-0-84. RECEIVING: Florida St-Cooper 5-65, Dunn 2-33, Warrick 2-33, Eg Green 1-16, Messam 1-12, Coles 1-11, P Williams 1-8. Georgia Tech-Middleton 5-44, C Rogers 2-21, Sheridan 1-24, Muyres 1-11, Stallworth 1-8, Hollomon 1-6. Att: 46,311