Fourth-down gamble pays off for Georgia Tech in 30-27 overtime victory over Wake Forest
Josh Nesbitt scored on a three-yard run in overtime after Georgia Tech pulled off a gutsy play on fourth down, leading the No. 10 Yellow Jackets another step closer to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 30-27 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday in Atlanta.
Jonathan Dwyer rushed for a career-best 189 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the season, but it was Nesbitt and the defensive players who bailed out the Yellow Jackets (9-1, 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-yard line, where it faced fourth down and less than a yard. The Yellow Jackets initially tried to draw Wake Forest offsides, but they were forced to burn a timeout when that didn't work.
Instead of sending out Scott Blair for a chip-shot field goal to extend the game, Coach Paul Johnson decided to go for the win.
"I play to win," Johnson said. "The kids work hard and put in a lot of time and effort. If we can't make an inch there, we don't deserve to win the game."
Nesbitt powered up the middle for a two-yard gain and scored on the next play.
Georgia Tech would clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win at Duke next Saturday. The Yellow Jackets haven't won an outright conference championship since 1990, the year they shared the national championship with Colorado.
-- 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 Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Charles Brown also came up with a key interception late in the third quarter as part of a dominating defensive performance for North Carolina (6-3, 2-3), which shut down Thad Lewis and the prolific passing attack that had carried Duke (5-4, 3-2) to three straight victories.
Duke finished with 125 yards total offense. The Tar Heels also didn't have much offensive success, but they wore down the Blue Devils behind Houston after starting tailback Shaun Draughn went out with a shoulder injury early in the game.
-- CLEMSON 40, FLORIDA STATE 24: C.J. Spiller had a career-high 165 yards rushing and his 20th touchdown of at least 50 yards and the host Tigers (6-3, 4-2) handled the Seminoles (4-5, 2-4).
Spiller caught a 58-yard touchdown 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.