By Chandler Carver.
By Chandler Carver
CLEMSON — Here is a look back at No. 15 Clemson’s victory over Georgia Tech Saturday in Death Valley.
What happened? Although Georgia Tech had won seven of the last nine games against Clemson coming into Saturday, the Tigers used a balanced offensive attack and some key defensive stops to defeat the Jackets 47-31,
It was Clemson’s 10-straight win in Death Valley.
Game-Changing Moment: The game-changing moment for the Tigers came just before halftime. With 3:40 left in the second quarter and the Tigers trailing 21-20, Tajh Boyd found DeAndre ‘Nuk’ Hopkins for a 58-yard touchdown pass to make the score 27-21 Clemson. The Tigers’ defense then held Georgia Tech to a missed field goal and kept that 27-21 advantage (and the momentum) going into half time.
Story Line: This was another important game for the Tigers, specifically on defense. This was a chance for the defense to prove that they can be a factor in games; a chance to prove that they can make stops. Clemson’s defense came up big against Georgia Tech’s triple option when it mattered most, holding the Yellow Jackets to minus 14 rushing yards.
Turning Point: The turning point in this game came in the fourth quarter. Clemson had just scored a touchdown (and the two-point conversion) to take a 38-31 lead over the Yellow Jackets. On the ensuing kickoff, Georgia Tech fumbled the kick return but recovered and started on their two yard-line. After the first-down pass attempt was broken up by Corey Crawford, Georgia Tech attempted to run the ball out of their end zone, but the play was sniffed out by linebacker Spencer Shuey. The junior tackled Georgia Tech running back Orwin Smith in the end zone for a safety.
What went right? Clemson’s offense was just as consistent as it has been all season. The Tiger offense put up 601 yards of total offense, most since the Auburn game in Death Valley last season. Tajh Boyd put up a career-high 397 yards passing, second-most in school history. DeAndre Hopkins had his second consecutive game with 150-plus yards receiving (173). Boyd set the school record for touchdown completions on Saturday. He now has 51 touchdown passes in his career as a Tiger. Clemson’s defense also had some bright spots against the Yellow Jackets. The Tigers forced a punt, a turnover on downs, a blocked field goal, a fumble on fourth down and a safety.
What went wrong? Clemson had two turnovers. That will be something to focus on in the bye-week. Clemson’s defense still needs tackling work. The Tigers got the stops they needed, but they also gave up 483 total yards to the Yellow Jackets, including 339 on the ground.
They said it.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
“This is a huge win. It was a momentum win. It was a complete game. We won every quarter, especially the fourth quarter. The second half was a thing of beauty. I’m proud of the team. They keep improving every week. We just need to refocus and recommit because our season starts with Virginia Tech.”
“On defense, we really did well the whole game up front, but we struggled with the perimeter. We made the changes that were necessary and forced Georgia Tech to put drives together. In the first half, they made a lot of big plays; we took that away from them in the second half.”
Clemson Quarterback Tajh Boyd
“This was a huge win for us. This was a must-win situation for us, especially going into the bye week. I feel like the guys came out and competed until the end of the game. We played all four quarters. I think this is a momentum-shifter heading into the second half of the season.”