Tigers held Georgia Tech’s triple option 175 yards below its season average
Before playing seventh-ranked Clemson on Saturday night, Georgia Tech was averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 372.8 rushing yards against its first six opponents. Not once did the Yellow Jackets fall below 200 yards and four times they ran for more than 400.
None of that happened against Clemson.
No one knows how to stop the Ramblin Wreck like the Tigers. For a fourth straight year, Clemson held the Jackets’ powerful triple-option offense well below its season average in rushing yards and to a season-low 230 total yards overall in a 24-10 victory Saturday in Death Valley.
So what’s the Tigers secret?
“It’s just our preparation,” Clemson head coach Brent Venables said. “Our guys played really well. We had a little over a week to get ready for them so that always helps. Getting the game plan down and getting their technique down. I’m really proud of our players and our coaches.”
Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC) held the Jackets to a season low 198 rushing yards, 175 yards below their season average.
“To see the stat sheet and to see those guys were averaging like 370 yards and we held them to 198, obviously, that was a good performance on defense, but honestly, we feel like it should have been a lot less,” defensive end Clelin Ferrell said. “Obviously, we feel like we could have finished the game better. We feel like we could have played the fourth quarter a whole lot better. Then we let the big run break. So we could have held them under hundred yards so we have to focus in on the small things.”
With that said, though, the Tigers’ defensive dominated Georgia Tech. Clemson finished the game with 11 tackles for loss, including four sacks. The Yellow Jackets were just 3-of-15 on third down, though they came in converting 51.1 percent on third down.
The Tigers held Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who led the ACC in rushing, to a season-low 23 yards on 15 carries.
“I think it comes from how we prepare for them,” said defensive end Austin Bryant, who had had five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and forced a fumble. “We prepare each year great whenever we play them. Our coaches do a great job giving us a great plan and putting us in position to make plays and stop a funky offense that is difficult to defend.
“Our coaches do a great job putting us in position to be successful.”
Thanks to the defense’s dominance, the Tigers have now beaten Tech (4-3, 3-2 ACC) three straight times and are 5-1 against the Yellow Jackets with Venables as defensive coordinator. In the three straight wins, the Yellow Jackets have rushed for a combined 364 yards … 121.3 per game.
“We are really proud of our players as coaches,” Venables said. “Those guys are the ones that have to go out there and play. They have to stay on their feet, squeeze blocks, tackle well and just be disciplined so there are no magical calls to it. You have to do those things first and foremost.
“I’m just super proud of them. It’s like doing time these last two weeks. It is torcher to be honest with you because they have an answer to what you are doing…but our guys were locked in and played with a tremendous amount of pride and recognized the challenge.”
And once again, they rose to the challenge and shutdown Georgia Tech.