By Ashley Denny.
ATLANTA, GA- The perfect season ended for the Tigers Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium as Georgia Tech defeated the Tigers 31-17. Once again Paul Johnson’s offense dominated the Clemson defense.
The Yellow Jacket’s first offensive drive was short and sweet, as the Tigers forced them to go three and out. When the Tigers came out onto the field, Boyd looked poised, his throws were sharp and both DJ Howard and Mike Bellamy looked good as they picked up the load for injured Andre Ellington. Although the Tigers drove the ball down the field with ease, they had to settle for a 34 yard field goal making the score 3-0 Clemson.
The next offensive drive for the Jackets was another short one after they were called for a chop block penalty and were forced to punt yet again.
After an intentional grounding call on Boyd on the Tigers’ next drive, the Tigers were stalled quickly by the Jackets defense as DJ Howard fumbled the ball giving the Jackets the ball deep into Clemson’s territory.
With such great field position, the Jackets easily scored making the game 7-3 in favor of the Jackets.
After the first quarter the Tigers were down by four. To start off the second quarter, Tech’s quarterback started it off right, with his longest run of his career. However, Clemson’s defense was able to hold Tech to a field goal after stopping them with a Rennie Moore pressure on 3rd and goal. Score is now 10-3 Georgia Tech.
Clemson’s offense however was not able to get rolling on their next drive as they ended up having to punt again. And Georgia Tech’s offense continued to roll as they set up a 10 play scoring drive making the score 17-3 with six minutes to go before half time.
Clemson’s next drive started off well however ended with a muffed field goal by Catanzaro. The Jackets have all of the momentum going into halftime, the one thing the Tigers did not want.
Georgia Tech’s next drive looked just like every other drive as the Tigers continued to look sluggish on defense. Their drive ended in a touchdown as they now lead the Tigers 24-3.
Clemson ended the half with Boyd 11-17 for 76 yards and 132 yards of total offense.
The Tigers scored quickly in the third quarter as they tried to make a comeback. And that’s exactly what they did as Boyd wasted no time in connecting with Sammy Watkins for a 48 yard touchdown pass cutting down the Tigers’ deficit to 14.
However, the Yellow Jackets answered back with a scoring drive of their own, making the score 31-10.
Clemson’s next drive started to look great, however Mike Bellamy was unable to hold onto the ball and Georgia Tech recovered.
Luckily for the Tigers, Georgia Tech had their first mistake of the game, a fumble recovered by Rennie Moore giving the Tigers the ball back. Clemson’s offense then started to make strides. Sammy Watkins continues to bring life to the Tigers, as he gains 26 on a pass play from Tajh Boyd. Boyd then ran for a quarterback keeper, fumbling the ball in the end zone however it was recovered by offensive lineman Brandon Thomas to keep Clemson somewhat in the game as they trail 31-17.
On defense, the Tigers gained a little spark, stopping the Jackets quickly and forcing them to punt the ball.
Offensively, after a poor decision made by Boyd, he was able to connect with Allen for 17 yards, and Hopkins for 11 yards directly after. However, their offensive woes continued as the noise at Bobby Dodd Stadium continues to get to the Tigers.
First play of the Jackets next drive, Clemson’s Rashard Hall intercepts the ball and returns it to the 9 yard line after a return of 26 yards; however Boyd’s pass was intercepted in the end zone right away giving Georgia Tech the ball back.
Georgia Tech ran the clock down with their final drive before the Tigers got a stop on fourth down with less than two minutes to go in the game. Clemson threw an interception to end their final chance at a comeback.
The Tigers moved to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in the ACC.