The “social butterfly” was in the perfect position.
Georgia Tech had the ball on its own 36-yard line with 70 seconds left. Florida State led by five. A touchdown would give the Yellow Jackets the lead.
That dream was dashed after Karlos Williams stepped in front of a Yellow Jackets receiver running a crossing pattern. He tipped Tevin Washington’s pass in the air with his right hand, snatched it and sprinted 40 yards down the left sideline.
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More Conference Notebooks
SEC: Tide runs to national title game
Pac-12: Stanford moves into the spotlight
ACC: Williams delivers for Seminoles
Big 12: Kansas State finishes the job
Big Ten: Montee’s Big Ten Ball in Indianapolis
Big East: Bridgewater’s legend grows
Teammates mobbed him outside the end zone. The defense celebrated with a dog pile.
With one minute remaining, Florida State players and coaches knew they would win the ACC championship and play in the Orange Bowl.
Karlos, the younger brother of Vince, a starting linebacker for the Seminoles, contributed to special teams this season, but did not start for the Seminoles defense. However, an injury to linebacker Nick Moody on the game’s opening kickoff allowed the younger Williams extended playing time.
He certainly took advantage. Along with his first career interception, Williams’ notched 11 tackles in the Seminoles win. He had only 20 tackles this season coming into the championship game.
“Coach Jimbo always talks about you can’t drive a car looking in the rear-view mirror, because you end up crashing,” Karlos said after the game. “Thinking about [defensive coordinator Mark] Stoops. I’m very happy for him going to Kentucky. Tank, I’m very proud of him; he played a great season [after] losing B Jenks early in the season, but as far as that, we kept looking [out] the front…as coach always talks about, and we’re home safe now going to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl.”
The player coach Jimbo Fisher called a “social butterfly” a few weeks ago played the best game of his collegiate career on the ACC’s biggest stage. Karlos, a gregarious sophomore, is the polar opposite from his brother, Vince.
“Karlos, he’s played great all year, did special teams, whatever you asked with the ball in his hands and he gets — he’s very instinctive, he’s a very good football player, he’s physical and got good ball skills and he played a tremendous game.” Fisher said. “The guy is going to be a great player. He’s got two years left, and I’m glad of that.”
But the Williams brothers do have at least one thing in common: they both contribute to an elite defensive unit. Vince and Karlos will don FSU jerseys together for the last time on the first day of 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
Complete Conference Standings
Boston College (2-10, 1-7 ACC)
• Frank Spaziani was fired as the head coach at BC last week, meaning athletic director Brad Bates has the chance to make his first major hire. Bates has been tweeting information about the coaching search and recently wrote that he is “Very excited about the level of interest in our football coaching job and the quality of the candidates.” Plenty of NFL assistants are rumored to have interest in the job and Bates could try the professional ranks for a new coach.
• Wide receiver Alex Amidon and linebacker Nick Clancy were among five Eagles to earn ACC honors last week. Amidon and Clancy were voted onto the first-team. Tackle Emmett Cleary made the second-team and punter Gerald Levano and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis were honorable mentions.
No. 15 Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC)
• Tajh Boyd was tabbed the ACC’s player of the year and offensive player of the year last week. He beat out North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard by one vote in both tallies. Boyd led the conference in passing efficiency (168.5), total offense (336.8 yards per game) and touchdown passes (34). He also set a conference record with eight touchdowns against NC State. He set a school record with 529 yards of offense in the same game.
• As the ACC’s No. 2 team, Clemson will play LSU in the Chick-fil-A bowl. Swinney will look to turn things around in the postseason, a year removed from giving up 70 points to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
Next game: Chick Fil-A Bowl vs. LSU on Jan. 1
Duke (6-6, 3-5 ACC)
• Nine Duke players earned All-ACC recognition, including cornerback Ross Cockrell and punter Will Monday, who were first-team selections. Senior safety Walt Canty and senior wide receiver Connor Vernon were second-team honorees, while Kenny Anunike, Jamison Crowder, Dave Harding, Perry Simmons and Ross Martin were honorable mentions.
• David Cutcliffe received 25 of 46 votes and was named the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year last week. He is the fourth Duke coach to win the award and the first since Fred Goldsmith did in 1994 — the last time the Blue Devils played in a bowl game.
• Sean Renfree was named the 2012 Jim Tatum Award winner last week. The Tatum Award is given annually to the top senior student-athlete. Renfree, who graduated from Duke in December 2011 with a degree in public policy, is now working on a graduate degree in humanities with a 3.8 GPA.
Next game: Belk Bowl vs. Cincinnati on Dec. 27
No. 13 Florida State (11-2, 7-1 ACC)
• Bjoern Werner was named the ACC defensive player of the year last week. His teammate, Cornellius Carradine, also received votes for the award.
• Mark Stoops will not coach the defense for Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Stoops, the youngest brother of Bob and Mike, received a 5-year, $11 million deal to coach Kentucky.
Next game: Orange Bowl vs. Northern Illinois on Jan. 1
Georgia Tech (6-7, 5-3 ACC)
• Despite a 6-7 record, Georgia Tech will play in a bowl game. The team received a bowl waiver from the NCAA before the ACC championship game and is set to compete against USC in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
Next game: Sun Bowl vs. USC on Dec. 31
Maryland (4-8, 2-6 ACC)
• Defensive lineman Joe Vellano was an ACC first-team selection for the second straight year. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield was named to the second-team. Stefon Diggs was runner-up to Duke Johnson in offensive rookie of the year and an honorable mention as a specialist. A.J. Francis and Kenneth Tate received honorable mentions for the ACC.
• Here is a parting tweet from Francis, one of the most colorful characters in college football, and a student-athlete currently in graduate school:
“Thank you to all the coaches who voted for me…From a backup to Honorable Mention All-ACC in one year. Its been a good 12 months. #AllLove”
Miami (Fla.) (7-5, 5-3 ACC)
• Freshman Duke Johnson was named the ACC’s rookie of the year last week. Johnson’s win was the first time a Miami freshman won the award. In addition to running and catching duties, the former five-star recruit led the ACC with a 33.04 kick return average and returned two kicks for touchdowns for the Hurricanes.
• Junior redshirt defensive end Shayon Green was named a co-winner of the 2012 Brian Piccolo Award last week. (Green shared the award with FSU running back Chris Thompson.) Green played a big role in the Hurricanes defense this season after several injuries — including tearing his ACL in his right knee twice — sidelined him for parts of the past three years.
NC State (6-5, 3-4 ACC)
• Dave Doeren coached Northern Illinois to consecutive MAC championships and a 23-4 record in two seasons. On Saturday, NC State hired him to coach football. Doeren signed a 5-year deal worth $1.8 million annually, according to reports.
• Doeren, the youngest coach in the ACC, turned 41 on Monday, Dec. 3. On Sunday, in an introductory press conference, he said, “recruiting starts here in the state.” Athletics director Debbie Yow said that he was the school’s first choice.
Next game: Music City Bowl vs. Vanderbilt on Dec. 31
North Carolina (8-4, 5-3 ACC)
• Offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, who is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, was named to the 2012 American Football Coaches Association FBS All-American Team last week. In addition, Cooper was awarded the 2012 Jacobs Blocking Trophy — given to the most outstanding blocker in the ACC.
Virginia (4-8, 2-6 ACC)
• On Sunday, UVa coach Mike London announced junior quarterback Michael Rocco was granted an unconditional release. Rocco started 21 games for the Cavaliers and finished eighth on the team’s all-time passing list with 4,731 yards.
• London also announced Sunday that defensive coordinator Jim Reid, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore. Reid led the Virginia defense to a No. 30 national ranking.
Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC)
• Three junior VT defenders were named to the All-ACC second-team. Defensive end James Gayle, linebacker Jack Tyler and cornerback Antone Exum all earned second-team honors.
Next game: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Rutgers on Dec. 28
Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5 ACC)
• Juniors Michael Campanaro and Nikita Whitlock earned second-team All-ACC honors last week. Campanaro and Whitlock are frustrated with the attitude at Wake Forest and expressed such sentiments after the Demon Deacons lost its season-finale to Vanderbilt 55-21.
“You can’t lose three or four games the way we lost them — and I don’t have to mention them — and it be just be a players thing or a coaches thing,” Whitlock told the Winston-Salem Journal. “It’s a whole team thing, all the way to the top with Coach Grobe and maybe Ron Wellman all the way to the bottom. Football is about effort. We need to make some changes to get better.”
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