ATLANTA — The week of preparation was complete. The game was less than 24 hours away.
But as he sat in Florida State's hotel Friday night, longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews couldn't help but wonder aloud whether his unit was ready to face Georgia Tech's triple-option offense.
"The thing that concerns you is if you're getting a good enough picture from the scout team," Andrews said. "Are you getting the same tempo of linemen coming off the ball? Of the fullback hitting the hole? Of the quarterback pitch on the corner?"
Apparently, the answer was no on all counts.
FSU, which entered Saturday first in the ACC and seventh nationally in rushing defense, was blistered over and over.
The Yellow Jackets, who have installed the offense this season after hiring coach Paul Johnson away from Navy, rumbled for 288 yards and four touchdowns on the ground en route to a 31-28 victory.
"We simply couldn't stop the (option)," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "We could not stop it. That's the last time we'll see it this year."
Then Bowden grimaced and remembered that Georgia Tech will travel to Tallahassee in 2009.
"We might have to cancel next year," he said, joking.
Bowden was, perhaps, the only person in the FSU camp who could find levity after a ragged performance.
Through the first seven games of this season, the longest run FSU allowed was 25 yards. Georgia Tech's Marcus Wright topped that in the second quarter with a 29-yarder that set up Lucas Cox's 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Wright's mark didn't last long, however. Jonathan Dwyer sprinted for a 36-yard touchdown just three minutes later. And Dwyer topped that in the third quarter with a 66-yard touchdown.
"They did a good job of adjusting to what we were doing and finding a hole in the defense," Andrews said. "If you were overloading on the (fullback) dive, they did a great job of getting it to the corner. It's a hard concept to learn in a week's time."
Saturday marked the first time since the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, 1997, against Florida that FSU allowed three rushing touchdowns in a half. And Tech's 288 rushing yards marked the most against Andrews' defense since Notre Dame piled up 297 in the Orange Bowl on Jan 1, 1996.
"It's just a tough offense," Bowden said. "Nobody runs it anymore because it's not stylish. But it's still effective. Paul (Johnson) probably runs it as good as anybody. He's a master at it."