No. 22 Georgia Tech wins 49-44 at Florida StateOct 11, 2009 - 5:58 AM By BRENT KALLESTAD Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(AP) -- Josh Nesbitt's superb performance for Georgia Tech probably put a little more pressure on Bobby Bowden.
The quarterback ran for three touchdowns and threw for one more to lead the 22nd-ranked Yellow Jackets to a 49-44 win at Florida State on Saturday night, handing the reeling Seminoles their third straight loss amid growing calls for the longtime Seimnoles coach to retire at the end of the season.
Florida State (2-4, 0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) wasted another spectacular performance by Christian Ponder, who completed 26 of 38 passes for a career best 359 yards and five touchdowns.
But it wasn't enough to keep Florida State from its poorest start since Bowden's first season here in 1976.
Florida State players came onto the field before the kickoff arm-in-arm in a show of unity with their embattled 79-year-old coach in the middle of the front row.
"There's been too much about me and the kids kind of made an issue about it Friday night," Bowden explained. "There was too much 'to do' about my welfare."
Bowden has been in the middle of a weeklong controversy about his coaching future after the chairman of the university's board of trustees said earlier this week that he should retire at the end of the season.
"I think the critics will keep criticizing," he said. "The good folks won't."
A threatened blackout by protesters who favor Bowden's departure failed to happen in any noticeable way and the coach was loudly applauded when his name was first voiced on the stadium public address system.
Nesbitt, who ran for a game-high 140 yards, also threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter that tied the game at 35.
Diminutive Marcus Wright's 19-yard touchdown run put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good at 42-38 late in the third quarter and Nesbitt iced the outcome with a 22-yard scoring run with 6:29 left in the game three plays after he ripped an apparent fumble recovery away from Florida State's Nigel Carr.
"The play he made to steal the ball back ... was probably the play of the game," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.
Tailback Jonathan Dwyer also ran for two scores for the Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-1 ACC), who won for the first time in Tallahassee where the Seminoles have now lost five straight to Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.
"Our main problem was the wishbone, the kids just couldn't figure it out," Bowden said. "We simply couldn't stop them. Forty four points should've won that game."
At halftime, Florida State had piled up 403 yards offense and 21 first downs behind a near-perfect Ponder, who completed 18 of 21 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles led 35-28 at the break.
"We just had to get a couple of stops (and) we could win the game," Johnson said. "And I think we did."
Florida State managed just 156 yards offense in the second half after racking up 403 by halftime.
Ponder has thrown for 1,781 yards and nine touchdowns, having gone 197 throws since his only pick of the season.
Officials stopped play for 78 minutes because of lightning with 6:50 left in the first quarter and the teams tied 7-7. The quarter ended at 9:59 p.m. with the score tied at 14 and the teams already combining for 308 yards of offense.
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
GATECH 14 14 14 7 49
FLORIDAST 14 21 3 6 44 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: FLORIDA ST - TD, JERMAINE THOMAS 3 YD RUN
(DUSTIN HOPKINS KICK), 3:50.
GEORGIA TE - TD, JOSH NESBITT 1 YD RUN (CHRIS
TANNER KICK), 8:10. GATECH 7-7
FLORIDA ST - TD, BEAU RELIF
Oct 11 12:45 AM
FLORIDAST 44 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Oct 11 12:45 AM
TD FLORIDA ST
ROD OWENS 13 YD PASS FROM CHRISTIAN PONDER
(TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
FLORIDAST 44 4:14 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 49, Florida State 44 4th - 4:14Oct 11 12:37 AM
FLORIDAST 38 6:29 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 49, Florida State 38 4th - 6:29Oct 11 12:27 AM
FLORIDAST 38 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Oct 11 12:01 AM
FLORIDAST 38 2:55 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 42, Florida State 38 3rd - 2:55Oct 10 11:52 PM
FLORIDAST 38 12:02 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 35, Florida State 38 3rd - 12:02Oct 10 11:30 PM
FLORIDAST 35 13:19 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 35, Florida State 35 3rd - 13:19Oct 10 11:26 PM
FLORIDAST 35 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Oct 10 10:53 PM
FLORIDAST 35 0:17 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 28, Florida State 35 2nd - 0:17Oct 10 10:48 PM
FLORIDAST 28 4:10 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 28, Florida State 28 2nd - 4:10Oct 10 10:33 PM
FLORIDAST 28 8:16 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 21, Florida State 28 2nd - 8:16Oct 10 10:23 PM
FLORIDAST 21 14:03 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 21, Florida State 21 2nd - 14:03Oct 10 10:12 PM
FLORIDAST 21 14:22 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 14, Florida State 21 2nd - 14:22Oct 10 10:04 PM
FLORIDAST 14 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Oct 10 9:59 PM
FLORIDAST 14 2:07 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 14, Florida State 14 1st - 2:07Oct 10 9:52 PM
FLORIDAST 14 2:42 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 7, Florida State 14 1st - 2:42Oct 10 9:46 PM
FLORIDAST 7 6:50 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 7, Florida State 7 1st - 6:50Oct 10 8:22 PM
FLORIDAST 7 11:10 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Georgia Tech(22) 0, Florida State 7 1st - 11:10Oct 10 8:12 PM
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