He shouldn't have even been on the field.
Sophomore cornerback Lance Austin, Georgia Tech’s newly minted instant legend, was only in place to return Roberto Aguayo’s blocked field goal for a walk-off touchdown because those higher than he on the depth chart -- D.J. White and Step Durham -- were each nursing injuries.
"That was just because of injuries," Austin told ESPN's Matt Fortuna. "Amazing, right?"
The "Miracle On Techwood Drive," as it soon came to be called, is relatively easy to explain. With the game tied at 16, Florida State put the game on the foot of Aguayo, one of the nation's best college football kickers, from 56 yards away at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Tech lineman Patrick Gamble got his hand on the ball, sending it dying into the turf at the 22-yard line.
"It took me a minute because I thought it was over," Gamble said. "I thought the play was dead. I started celebrating. I was celebrating and yelling. And then I heard the crowd first. I was like, 'Wait.'"
With his coach Paul Johnson yelling at him to get away from the ball and live for overtime, Lance Austin's instincts took over. You've seen the replays.
Lance and his twin brother Lawrence were two among a handful of Class of 2014 Yellow Jacket recruits from Barnesville, Georgia. The ESPN RecruitingNation scouting reports for the Austin brothers listed each as a three-star recruit, slightly smaller than ideal size, but quick and instinctual players with a knack for taking over games.
"He possesses some excitement to the way he plays the game," notes Lance's entry.
Both had SEC offers on the table, and Lance's official player page goes out of its way to state why he chose Georgia Tech: "My family can come see me play with my brother at one of the top institutions in the nation."
The boys' grandmother Louise was a powerful force in their lives, and ever since she died last December during Tech's preparations for the Orange Bowl, Lance and Lawrence have honored Louise on their gameday gear. You don't need to squint to see "RIP Louise" scrawled prominently on Lance's shirt-sleeve, especially after it was caught by a stadium full of cameras as he scooped up the blocked kick.
“When I picked it up and started running up the field, I saw a lot of green," Austin said. "So, I was like okay, maybe I can return it. Then I saw Aguayo and he’s a pretty good tackler. ... So when I came around and I kind of got by Aguayo, and I got in the end zone, it was kind of surreal."
As he crossed the goal line, he took a knee.
"I kind of just looked up to the sky, and I was like, 'That’s for my grandmother Louise,'" Austin said.
On Lance's game-winning run, the only player on the field who caught him was Lawrence. The twin brothers crossed the goal line together.
"He said, “Grandma was looking down on us and you did it for her,'" Lance told reporters. "And I did."
(For his part, Lawrence notched a career-high six tackles and was instrumental in forcing a Seminoles end-zone interception, their first offensive turnover all season, that killed a key fourth-quarter drive.)
Austin's still stacking his accolades. He's this week's ACC Special Teams Player Of The Week, and he can't even grab a meal in peace. With ESPN on hand to shoot a "Big Man On Campus" feature for SportsCenter, the crew was interrupted by Austin's peers giving him a standing ovation while he bought breakfast at Chick-fil-A.
Even if he never plays another down on The Flats, he'll remain a campus folk hero.
"He runs back one kick, he's gonna be student-body president," Johnson joked in the locker room after the game.