ATLANTA — Third-ranked Clemson secured its first ACC win when the Tigers went on the road to defeat Georgia Tech 26-7 on Thursday night in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The losing streak in Atlanta was broken, and for the first time since 1903, the Tigers left Georgia Tech undefeated.
Here is what we heard:
Head coach Dabo Swinney was thankful to finally record a win in Bobby Dodd Stadium after a long streak of losing.
“Obviously it is a place we haven’t won at very much, so mission accomplished. We are really happy to get out of here with a W. The last time we won here my son (Clay) was just born,” Swinney said.
He was also very proud of the way his team played on Thursday.
“When you can control the ball like we did and get that amount of first downs against this type of team,” Swinney said, “you’re making hay because they’re not really built to run a two-minute offense.”
Quarterback Deshaun Watson returned to site of his injury and led the offense to rack up 442 total yards, 304 of which were through the air.
“I love having No. 4 on my team,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “We all know he’s a great player, and it was good for him to come home. This was a big night for him, too. I’m sure there was some emotions he had to overcome to come out and lead his team to victory.”
Watson said that scoring on the first drive helped set the tone for the rest of the game.
“It’s always important for us to set the tone right out of the gate,” Watson said. “It sets up just not for the offense, but for the defense to get fired up. It’s all about us. Once we set the tone and get that momentum, it’s hard to beat us.”
Although the offense got into rhythm early to put numbers on the board, it was the defense that really dominated Georgia Tech. Christian Wilkins got the momentum going when he took down quarterback Justin Thomas for a loss of 4 yards on Georgia Tech’s first play.
“That was really it. We came out early with guns blazing and just ready for anything,” Wilkins said. “We were ready to stop the triple option. I don’t think they gained a yard on that first drive and we just took that and used it as a confidence builder and just played with that same intensity pretty much the whole game.”
Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel recorded one of the three sacks of the night. It marked the second of his career.
“I have the see-ball, get-the-ball mentality. What ultimately helped, was understanding my key, trusting it and not trying to do the next man’s job,” O’Daniel said. “It was a party in the backfield all night. “When one guy made a play, it was like the whole team made a play. Everyone was excited for everyone. That’s the selfless attitude that a defense needs.”