Oct. 18, 1997
Florida State Shuts Out Georgia Tech
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Thad Busby threw for three touchdowns and a career-high 399 yards as third-ranked Florida State blasted number 25 Georgia Tech, 38-0, in a battle of unbeatens in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Seminoles (6-0, 4-0 ACC) overcame a sluggish first half and rolled to their second shutout in three games. Florida State has averaged 44.2 points in its last five contests.
"I had my personal best, but I don't think it was my best game," said Busby, who completed 30-of-47 passes. "I want to start a a game like I ended the game. I missed a couple of passes early. I was getting frustrated, but I dug down deep inside and then everything started to come together with that last drive in the first half."
Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1) had its four-game winning streak halted and lost for the first time since a season-opening setback at Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets were held to 144 yards of total offense and were shut out by Florida State for the second time in five years.
Since joining the ACC, the Seminoles are 6-0 against Georgia Tech and have outscored them 250-47 in that span.
While the Seminoles defense was holding Georgia Tech in check, Florida State needed almost all of the first half to get on track. The Seminoles took a 7-0 lead when Busby hooked up with Damian Harrell on an 18-yard scoring play with 50 seconds remaining, capping a nine-play, 84-yard drive.
The Yellow Jackets did not get a first down until Joe Hamilton completed an eight-yard pass to Derrick Steagall on a 3rd-and-6 with 3:50 left in the first half.
"Our defense played a superb game," said Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. "As long as they play like that, we are hard to beat. The kicking game kept us in there until the offense came around."
After being backed up to its own one-yard line on its initial possession of the second half, Florida State came out swinging. Busby led a 12-play, 99-yard drive that netted six first downs. Travis Minor put the exclamation point on it with a 27-yard run to make it 14-0 with 6:58 to go in the third quarter.
"That was a key point in the game," said Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary. "We missed two tackles on the draw and then we had the chance to make another play that we didn't make. When you get an opportunity to make plays, you have to take advantage of it."
Georgia Tech gave the ball back on its next series when Hamilton was intercepted by Coronta Cody at the Florida State 34. Busby wasted no time and went up top to E.G. Green as the two combined for a 66-yard touchdown and a 21-0 Seminoles lead.
The Seminoles bumped the lead to 24 as Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 38-yard field goal with 12:09 remaining. After the Florida State defense forced a punt, Busby capped a four-play, 68-yard drive with a 20-yard scoring strike to Martin Minnis for a 31-0 bulge with 5:24 to play.
Backup quarterback Dan Kendra completed the scoring with a 47-yard TD toss to Laveranues Coles at the 2:15 mark.
Green finished with a career-high 166 yards for Florida State, which rolled up 418 of its 587 yards in the second half. Harrell and Peter Warrick each had six catches for 62 yards.
"We were in a dogfight in the first half, the way we passed the ball in the second half was a blessing," said Green.