Florida State was dealt a major blow when rushing-touchdown leader Karlos Williams was reportedly ruled out of Saturday’s ACC Championship matchup against Georgia Tech. Williams suffered a concussion during the narrow 24-19 victory over Florida last week, and was not cleared to play Saturday, according to a report by ESPN Friday.
Freshman Dalvin Cook recently took the team’s lead in rushing yards with stellar play throughout the second half of the season, including a 144-yard output against the Gators. But Williams’ absence leaves the Seminoles thin in the backfield against a Georgia Tech defense that’s allowed a mere two rushing scores in its last four games. Williams gained 609 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
The Seminoles have won 28 straight games. They’re the only undefeated team standing in the nation, own three victories over ranked opponents, and execute late in games better than most teams around the country. For now Florida State (12-0, 8-0 ACC, No. 4 CFP) owns the last of the four coveted postseason bids, but in order to strengthen its case in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee it will need another victory over upset-minded and confident No. 12 Georgia Tech to solidify its case.
Florida State has failed to put away lesser opponents towards the end of the season. The Seminoles have won their last three games by an average of four points, all against unranked opponents and sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston tossing a combined six interceptions. Four of those interceptions came against the Gators last week. Winston went 12-for-24 for 125 yards and two touchdowns, for his worst statistical game of the season.
But the Seminoles proved resilient, with redshirt junior linebacker Terrance Smith returning an interception 94 yards for a touchdown, senior tight end Nick O’Leary snagging both of Winston’s touchdown passes, and Cook coming up big with his performance.
After recovering from two straight losses halfway through the season, Georgia Tech (10-2, 6-2 ACC, No. 12 CFP) rolls out the highest-scoring offense in the ACC at 37.2 points per game. The Yellow Jackets dispatched then No. 19 Clemson and No. 9 Georgia in consecutive weeks to claim the ACC Coastal division and earn the right to face the Seminoles for their second ACC title in five years.
The Yellow Jackets rely on sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas to execute the rush-first offense, but their attack is anything but a one-man show. Thomas has thrown 16 touchdowns and rushed for another five, but 10 Yellow Jackets have also rushed for scores and eight have at least caught at touchdown this season. Thomas leads the team in rushing with 861 yards, and senior running back Zach Laskey’s right behind with 748 yards and eight touchdowns.
Start Time: 8 P.M. ET
TV Channel: ABC
Live Online Stream: A live stream’s available at Watch ESPN here
Point Spread: Florida State -4
Over/Under: 61 points
Prediction: Florida State over Georgia Tech, 31-30