Ga. Tech Edges Wake In Overtime

Acc

Nesbitt, Dwyer Help Yellow Jackets Move Step Closer To Conference Title Game

November 08, 2009|By From Sun News services

Josh Nesbitt scored on a 3-yard run in overtime after No. 10 Georgia Tech pulled off a gutsy play on fourth down, leading the Yellow Jackets another step closer to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 30-27 victory Saturday over the visiting Demon Deacons.

Jonathan Dwyer rushed for a career-best 189 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the season, but it was Nesbitt and the guys on the defensive side who bailed out the Yellow Jackets (8-1, 6-1) at the end.

After the defense stifled Wake Forest (4-6, 2-4) on the first possession of overtime, forcing a field goal, Georgia Tech drove to the 5, where it faced fourth down and less than a yard. The Yellow Jackets (8-1, 6-1 ACC) initially tried to draw Wake offside but were forced to burn a timeout when that didn't work.

Instead of sending on Scott Blair for a chip-shot field goal to extend the game, coach Paul Johnson decided to go for the win. Even though his team had gone 0-for-4 on fourth down in regulation, the Yellow Jackets offense trotted back onto the field.

Nesbitt powered up the middle for a 2-yard gain and scored on the next play, going in standing and then flipping the ball high into the air to celebrate. The entire team poured onto the field to celebrate underneath the goal posts.

Georgia Tech would clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win at Duke on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets haven't won an outright conference championship since 1990, the year they shared the national championship with Colorado.

It was another excruciating loss for the Demon Deacons, who must win their final two games to become eligible for its fourth straight bowl trip. Five of their defeats have come by a total of 13 points, two of them going to overtime.

Clemson 40, Florida State 24:: C.J. Spiller had a career-high 165 rushing yards and his 20th touchdown of at least 50 yards and the host Tigers took their biggest step yet toward an ACC title with a victory over the Seminoles.

Spiller, a senior, caught a 58-yard TD pass from Kyle Parker and, with 312 all-purpose yards, surpassed the school record of 310 he set in Clemson's 40-37 overtime win at Miami two weeks ago.

He also closed Clemson's fifth victory over the Seminoles (4-5, 2-4) in the past seven meetings with a high-stepping, 5-yard scoring run as the orange-clad fans shook Death Valley.

Spiller and the Tigers (6-3, 4-2) are now in control of the ACC's Atlantic Division with games against North Carolina State and Virginia left.

Clemson's defense pitched in, too, intercepting ACC passing leader Christian Ponder four times.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who turns 80 on Sunday, and his team is in danger of missing out on a bowl bid. Those who have wondered whether it was time for Bowden to step aside will likely start to grumble again, too.

A two-game winning streak muted the critics and put FSU back in the Atlantic Division race. Those hopes are gone now after the first Clemson-Florida State game that did not match Bowden against his son, Tommy, in years.

No. 16 Miami 52, Virginia 17:: Graig Cooper rushed for a career-best 152 yards and a touchdown, Damien Berry ran for a pair of second-half scores and the host Hurricanes eased past the struggling Cavaliers.

Thearon Collier had a 60-yard punt return for the go-ahead touchdown, and Jacory Harris finished 18 of 31 for 232 yards with two TDs for the Hurricanes (7-2, 4-2 ACC). The 35-point margin of victory was Miami's biggest in an ACC game since beating Duke 52-7 in 2005.

Rashawn Jackson had a 34-yard rushing touchdown for Virginia (3-6, 2-3), which has lost 10 of 13 starting with an overtime defeat to Miami last season, a slide that has placed coach Al Groh's future at his alma mater in doubt. The Cavaliers were outgained 515-149 and played without starting quarterback Jameel Sewell, who warmed up but was eventually ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Cooper, who also had a career-long 70-yard carry, now has 2,001 yards in his Miami tenure.

Virginia blocked two punts - the Cavaliers hadn't done that since 1996 - to keep things close for a while. Marc Verica was harassed all day, finishing 11-for-29 for 75 yards with an interception, and Miami scored the game's final 28 points.

North Carolina 19, Duke 6:: Ryan Houston ran for a career-high 164 yards and Jheranie Boyd scored the clinching touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to help the host Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils.

Charles Brown also came up with a key interception late in the third quarter as part of a dominating defensive performance for the Tar Heels (6-3, 2-3 ACC), who shut down Thad Lewis and the prolific passing attack that had carried the Blue Devils (5-4, 3-2) to three straight victories.

Duke finished with 125 total yards and had to fight for every one of them. The Tar Heels didn't have much offensive success, but they wore down the Blue Devils behind Houston after starting tailback Shaun Draughn went out with an early shoulder injury.

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