DALLAS (FWAA) What started as a game-saving play from its special teams turned into a game-winning play for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as Lance Austin returned a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of a 22-16 win over No. 9 Florida State. The win snapped FSU's 28-game win streak in Atlantic Coast Conference games, and earned the Yellow Jackets the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 24.
Tied at 16-16, FSU lined up for a 56-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left. But Georgia Tech lineman Patrick Gamble got a hand on the ball and blocked the kick, sending the loose ball into the Georgia Tech secondary. After an initial hesitation, Austin picked it up before it rolled dead and raced 78 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown as time expired. Gamble's block was Georgia Tech's third this season and 14th blocked kick since 2013. The Yellow Jackets have blocked the most kicks in the nation since the 2013 season.
The win was Georgia Tech's (3-5) first in ACC play this season and also snapped a five-game losing streak following a 2-0 start.
"I was just hoping he was going to kick it low because it was so long a kick," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. "It was crazy because we blocked it and I see it run across the line. I go from yelling 'Get away from it' to 'Run, run, run.' What a great play by Lance (Austin) to pick it up. He got some key blocks and he made a couple guys miss. I don't care if it was the kicker, he still made them miss. We were due. It was our turn. We've seen so many of these close ones like this go the other way, it's good to finally be on the right end of one for a change."
The Yellow Jackets' defense also had one its best games, stealing a key interception in the fourth quarter FSU's first offensive turnover of the season · when Tech safety Jamal Golden picked off a tipped pass in the Georgia Tech end zone.
Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 24 included:
Clemson (7-0): The Tigers tied the school record for victory margin in an ACC game with a 58-0 drubbing of Miami at Sun Life Stadium, also handing the Hurricanes their most lopsided loss ever. Clemson racked up a season-high 567 total yards, 416 of it on the ground that marked its best rushing effort since 2000. Quarterback Deshaun Watson accounted for 241 total yards before leaving in the third quarter with a 45-0 lead.
USC (4-3): The Trojans gave interim coach Clay Helton a win in his debut game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and knocked No. 3 Utah from the unbeaten ranks, 42-24. Cameron Smith, a freshman linebacker, had three interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster paced the offense with eight catches for 143 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
As part of AutoNation's history of charitable involvement, AutoNation will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in the Georgia Tech's name. This charitable college football initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network. The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser for the BCRF, CharityWatch's only A+ rated breast cancer organization in the country.
"We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a cure for cancer," says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. "This season-long partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, puts a spotlight on a cause that we're determined to tackle."
"In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes," said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. "It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well as others in this splendid effort."
The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the first season AutoNation has presented the award. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during the 2015 college football regular season, the FWAA will name a National Team of the Week. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor.
AutoNation is also the presenting sponsor of the FWAA's national offensive and defensive players of the week announced each Tuesday, the 2015 FWAA All-America Team and the 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.
About AutoNation, Inc.:
AutoNation is transforming the automotive retail industry through bold leadership. We deliver a peerless automotive retail experience through our customer-focused sales and service processes. Owning and operating 293 new vehicle franchises, which sell 35 new vehicle brands across 15 states, AutoNation is America's largest automotive retailer, with state-of-the-art operations and the ability to leverage economies of scale that benefit the customer. As an indication of our leadership position in our industry, AutoNation is a component of the S&P 500 Index.
About the AutoNation Cure Bowl:
The AutoNation Cure Bowl a new post-season NCAA football game whose net proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The AutoNation Cure Bowl takes place December 19 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The bowl is scheduled to involve teams from the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.
About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.