ATLANTA — Third-ranked Clemson may not have produced a shutout on Thursday night, but going on the road and holding Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense to 124 yards and seven points is impressive.
The Yellow Jackets finally got in the end zone on a Dedrick Mills two-yard run with 13:21 to play in the game, but that was all they got as the Tigers rolled to a 26-7 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.
After the safety, Clemson took the ensuing kick and drove the ball 72 yards on 10 plays as Deshaun Watson hit tight end Jordan Leggett in the middle of the end zone with four seconds to play to up the score 23-0.
Leggett’s touchdown covered nine yards and was the first one of the season for the senior.
Clemson has 347 total yards to Tech’s 21 yards. Clemson leads 23-0 at the break.
Clemson takes a 16-0 lead with 2:00 to play in the first half on a strange play.
The Tigers were driving when Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams did not communicate on a first-and-15 from the Georgia Tech 16-yard line. The play was intercepted. The Tech defender took the ball out of the end zone and then Williams striped him of the ball, which Tech recovered in the end zone.
The play was ruled a safety and the Tigers took a 16-0 lead.
Clemson leads Georgia Tech 14-0 midway through the second quarter. Deshaun Watson hooked up with Mike Williams for a touchdown on Clemson’s opening drive before Wayne Gallman found the end zone from 1 yard out late in the first quarter. Clemson’s defense has stymied Georgia Tech’s triple-option thus far, limiting the Yellow Jackets to 4 yards on their first four possessions.
TCI was on the field before the game during warmups. Check out the Pregame Photo Gallery! — LINK
Third-ranked Clemson visits Georgia Tech today to kick off the ACC part of the schedule. The game is set to kick at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
The Tigers have not won at Georgia Tech since 2003, losing five straight in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets have won the last two in Atlanta against nationally ranked Clemson teams. The Tigers were ranked No. 6 in 2011 and were 8-0, but fell 31-17. In 2014, Clemson was ranked No. 18 and lost 28-6. That was Clemson’s last regular-season loss, and has won 17 straight since.
About Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets come into tonight’s game with a 3-0 record. Last week, Tech held Vanderbilt to 275 yards, while gaining 511 in a 38-7 victory. This is the fourth time in the last six seasons the Yellow Jackets have opened the season 3-0.
Georgia Tech’s offense: The Yellow Jackets are led by quarterback Justin Thomas, who has completed 19 of 38 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions this year. He also leads the team with 169 rushing yards. He has one touchdown and his longest run is 31 yards. Running back Dedrick Mills scored three touchdowns against Vandy and has scored four already this season. Running back Clinton Lynch caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from Thomas in the Vandy win.
Georgia Tech’s defense: For the first time since 2001, the Yellow Jackets held their first three opponents to 14 points or less. Tech ranks seventh nationally in points allowed at 10.3 points per game. Linebacker P.J. Davis leads the team with 20 tackles. The Yellow Jackets have just four sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
Records: Clemson 3-0, 0-0 ACC; Georgia Tech 3-0, 1-0 ACC
Series record: Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 51-28-2
First meeting: Clemson won 23-0 in 1898
Last meeting: Clemson won 43-24 in 2014
Last Georgia Tech win: 28-6 in 2014
At Georgia Tech: Tech leads 44-13-2
Last Clemson win at Tech: 39-3 in 2003.
Heisman Worked at Both Schools
John Heisman coached at both Clemson and Georgia Tech. He coached the Tigers program from 1900-03 and led to a 19-3-2 record and two conference championships. Clemson won the SIAA conference title in 1900 and 1902 under Heisman and played in its first “postseason” game ever in 1903.
Clemson played Cumberland in Montgomery, AL on November 26, 1903 in what was called “the championship of the South.” The contest ended in an 11-11 tie. That was his last game as Clemson coach, as he left after the season to become the first full time football coach at Georgia Tech, who paid him $2,250 per year and 30 percent of the net gate receipts for home games.
Later as Georgia Tech coach in 1916, Heisman defeated Cumberland 222-0 in the highest scoring game (by one team) in college football history. His Clemson team of 1901 defeated Guilford College 122-0 and that is the highest scoring game by the Tigers in history. So, Heisman coached the highest scoring game in each school’s history.
Heisman had a 102-29-7 record at Georgia Tech for a .779 winning percentage. His 19-3-2 record at Clemson computes to a .833 winning percentage. He is the winningest coach in Clemson history on a winning percentage basis (minimum of four seasons) and is the winnningest coach in Georgia Tech history on a percentage basis.
Swinney vs. ACC Teams
Dabo Swinney is 49-15 overall against ACC teams since he became Clemson head coach. That includes a 47-14 mark in regular season games and 2-1 in ACC Championship games. His .766 winning percentage in ACC games is fifth best in ACC history.
The Clemson head coach has faced 13 different ACC teams since he became head coach in 2008 on an interim basis. That includes Maryland, who is no longer in the league. When the Tigers face Pittsburgh in November, he will have faced a 14th different ACC team.
Swinney has a winning record against every ACC team with the exception of Georgia Tech and Florida State. Ten of his 15 losses against ACC teams have been against those two schools. He is 4-5 against Georgia Tech and 3-5 against Florida State.
Swinney Looks for 50th ACC Win
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney can become just the eighth coach in ACC history to record at least 50 wins over ACC teams if his Tigers defeat Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Swinney has a 49-15 mark against ACC teams since he became head coach on an interim basis in 2008.
Bobby Bowden, who coached at Florida State as an ACC coach from 1992-2009, had 118 ACC wins and just 27 losses. Other ACC coaches with at least 50 wins in league play are George Welsh of Virginia (85), Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech (72), Frank Howard of Clemson (66), Earle Edwards of NC State (55), Bill Murray of Duke (54), and Bill Dooley of North Carolina and Wake Forest (52). Dooley also coached at Virginia Tech, but the Hokies were not in the ACC when he was there coach.
In terms of overall wins as an ACC coach, Swinney is now ninth with 78. The win over SC State moved Swinney out of a tie for ninth with Jerry Claiborne and Earle Edwards, who both had 77. Bobby Bowden is the all-time leader in total wins as an ACC coach with 173.
It is interesting to note that former Clemson coaches Danny Ford and Frank Howard both had the same amount with 96, tied for fifth best in ACC history. Howard had 165 wins in his career, but the first 14 years of his career Clemson was not in the ACC.