The longer the Florida State Seminoles possess the football in the fourth quarter, the more time they have to come back. This is obvious, yet inexplicably understated, and that is why Georgia Tech‘s triple-option offense is the perfect tranquilizer to Florida State’s furious final-drive comebacks.
That is, as long as Justin Thomas can hold on to the football. Thomas had two fumbles last week against Georgia that each carried devastating — yet surprisingly fleeting — consequences. The first fumble led to a 99-yard return for touchdown, and the second allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead with only 18 seconds left. Somehow the Yellow Jackets evaded the No. 9 Bulldogs last Saturday, but if Thomas is as nonchalant with the ball this time, they won’t slide past the No. 4 Seminoles.
Many analysts are picking upset, and this may have a reverse-pressure effect on Georgia Tech. This is why it’s imperative for Thomas to shed last week’s performance like a distant memory, purge thinking about how his defense bailed him out in the end and how kicker Harrison Butker kept the Jackets heroically alive to end it in overtime.
Protecting the ball doesn’t mean Georgia Tech will have to play conservative. They have all the talent necessary to beat FSU on merit. It means the Yellow Jackets will need to dominate the line of scrimmage like they have for most of the year and capitalize on a fatigued Florida State front.
Surviving Georgia in Athens amid two costly errors is noteworthy, but when Florida State is one game closer to silencing the scrutiny, it’s best that Thomas doesn’t give the Seminoles a second bite at the apple.