CHARLOTTE -- Given the seven years that preceded them, perhaps it was only fitting that the final 60 minutes that stood between Florida State and its first Atlantic Coast Conference since 2005 wouldn't go easily.
A dominant first half had No. 13 FSU cruising toward an easy win over Georgia Tech, but a series of second-half miscues had the Seminoles once again holding their breath late in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't until Karlos Williams' juggling interception with a minute to go that Florida State could finally exhale and get to the business of celebrating a 21-15 win over the Yellow Jackets at Bank of America Stadium.
The win gives FSU its second ACC title since the league expanded in 2005 and its first for head coach Jimbo Fisher.
The Seminoles also have clinched a spot in the Orange Bowl, to be played on New Year's Day against an opponent to be determined. Thanks to an NCAA waiver granted earlier this week, Georgia Tech will also play in a bowl game despite finishing with a 6-7 record.
Florida State led 21-6 at halftime, but allowed Georgia Tech back into the game thanks to three FSU fumbles, two by quarterback EJ Manuel.
Tevin Washington's 1-yard touchdown run with 6:27 to go in the fourth quarter cut Tech's deficit to 21-15 and, on the ensuing drive, Manuel threw a deep interception that gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at their own 15-yard line with 2:17 to go.
Tech had just converted its fourth fourth-down attempt of the night when Williams grabbed his first career interception.
Any distractions or adversity Florida State faced in the week leading up to Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game apparently didn't add up to much.
Despite losing top tackler Cornellius Carradine to a torn ACL last week and learning of defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' impending departure to become the head coach at Kentucky, Florida State corralled Georgia Tech's triple-option offense and the offense ran the ball with ease to build their 21-6 halftime lead.
Regardless of who played quarterback for Georgia Tech -- Washington and Vad Lee both had opportunities -- the No. 13 Seminoles were well prepared for the Yellow Jackets offense despite having not faced it since 2009, a year before Fisher took over as head coach.
Georgia Tech mustered just 99 rushing yards by halftime -- well behind the pace of its season average. The Yellow Jackets' longest play was a 42-yard pass from Lee to Darren Waller that set up Georgia Tech's first points, a 27-yard field goal by Chris Tanner.
The Seminoles, meanwhile, ran with ease. FSU racked up 147 rushing yards on just 20 carries (7.4 yards per carry) in the first two quarters and scored with a pair of touchdowns from James Wilder Jr. and another from Devonta Freeman. Tech had come into the game allowing 143.92 rushing yards per game.
NOTES: Florida State and Georgia Tech were each making its third ACC Championship Game appearances, and both came into the contest with a 1-1 record. FSU beat Virginia Tech in 2005 and lost to the Hokies in 2010. The Yellow Jackets lost to Wake Forest in 2006 and topped Clemson in 2009. ... Florida State came into the game with a 12-9-1 record in the all-time series with Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets were on a two-game winning streak. The two last met in 2009. ... Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are the only two schools to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game. ... With James Wilder's 16-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, Florida State reached 36 total rushing touchdowns for the season, eclipsing the school record of 35 set in 1995. Wilder added a second rushing touchdown later in the quarter.