So much for that moment in the spotlight for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Dubbed as perhaps the biggest football game in the conference’s history, things went awry — at least for Clemson — when Florida State poured on a 51-14 victory Saturday night.
The Seminoles socked Clemson right from a get-go, turning this supposed showdown of Top 5 teams into a romp. The road victory should put the Seminoles squarely in the national championship discussion, highlighted by QB Jameis Winston, who threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns.
So while the ACC didn’t receive the special feel-good treatment of a classic game, at least one team showed it might be a real national contender.
Florida State did that and perhaps a whole lot more. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston thrust himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion.
Clemson dipped back to rest of the heap, at least for now.
GEORGIA TECH (4-3, 3-2)
Game: Georgia Tech 56, Syracuse 0. The Yellow Jackets led 28-0 at halftime on their way to racking up 394 rushing yards without any of their players finishing with more than 95. QB Vad Lee ran for two touchdowns and he threw a touchdown pass.
Takeaway: If there was a drawback, the Yellow Jackets didn’t have much of a chance to work on third-down plays in the early going because they didn’t get in many of those situations against Syracuse.
Certainly the outcome is a huge relief for Georgia Tech because the grumbling had started to surface from fans and supporters. That tends to be the case when things don’t go well for coach Paul Johnson and his triple-option offense, which is viewed as a gimmick in some circles (or when the Yellow Jackets aren’t winning).
It was clicking well against Syracuse, which seemed overwhelmed by the whole concept. That won’t be the case with the Yellow Jackets’ next opponent because Virginia has defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta at the controls. Tenuta has been at various stops around the ACC and he’s plenty familiar with the triple-option.
What he might not be totally clued into is the nature of some of Georgia Tech’s running backs. RB Zach Laskey rushed for three touchdowns against Syracuse, while QB Vad Lee is still trying to prove that he can be consistent enough to make the offense flourish.
Next: at Virginia, Oct. 26