When looking at the Clemson-Georgia Tech series, the overall record can be a bit misleading.
The Yellow Jackets own a 51-30-2 lead in the all-time series. However, from 1902-1973, every game was played in Atlanta, where the Yellow Jackets built their lead with a 33-7 record in those 40 games.
Of Clemson’s seven wins, four came in the first six games at Georgia Tech. In fact, the Tigers won six of the first eight meetings overall between the two schools, including one tie. The first two games in the series were played in Augusta (1898) and in Greenville (1899), both Clemson victories.
However, starting in 1908, Tech won 32 of the next 35 meetings. In those days, Georgia Tech refused to play at Clemson, feeling they were too good to play at a place like Clemson.
Clemson did not get its first opportunity to host a game in the series until 1974, as a Bennie Cunningham led Tigers beat the Ramblin’ Wreck, 21-17, at Death Valley.
In 1979, Georgia Tech joined the ACC, but it did not start competing in football until the 1983 season. For just the second time, the Tigers got to host Georgia Tech at home, and they beat the Yellow Jackets 41-14 that year on their way to a perfect 7-0 conference mark.
However, 1983 was the year where the most competitive rivalry in the history of the ACC began. Since Tech joined the conference, with both teams playing home-and-home, Clemson has a slight 19-17 edge in the 36 games.
Here are a few memorable Clemson moments from the Georgia Tech series since the Yellow Jackets joined the ACC in 1983.
September 27, 1986 – Clemson ran up and down the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta as they rolled up a 27-3 victory over Georgia Tech. It was the Tigers’ largest margin of victory at Georgia Tech since a 73-0 victory over the Yellow Jackets in 1903.
September 26, 1987 – Clemson had not returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown in 17 years, then had one of each in a 33-12 win over Georgia Tech. Donnell Woolford scored on a 78-yard punt return and Joe Henderson on a 95-yard kickoff return. Clemson had gone 999 punt and kickoff returns without a touchdown prior to Joe Henderson’s score.
September 29, 2001 – Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta by the score of 47-44 in overtime. Woodrow Dantzler scored on an 11-yard run in the extra period to give Clemson the win. Dantzler rushed for 164 yards and passed for 254 in the all-around performance that brought him National Player-of-the-Week honors by USAToday.com. Georgia Tech was ranked No. 9 entering the game. It was the highest ranked road win for the Tiger program since 1981.
September 14, 2002 – Derrick Hamilton gained 256 all-purpose rushing yards in Clemson’s 24-19 win over Georgia Tech in Death Valley. Hamilton gained 97 yards rushing, 97 in punt returns, 41 in kickoff returns and 22 receiving in accumulating the fifth highest all-purpose running total in a single game in Clemson history. He had a 77-yard scoring run and a 79-yard punt return.
September 20, 2003 – Charlie Whitehurst threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns, and the Clemson defense held Georgia Tech to just three points and 45 yards rushing in a 39-3 victory in Atlanta. It was Clemson’s largest margin of victory over Georgia Tech since 1903, when John Heisman was the Clemson coach. It was also the largest margin of victory in any ACC road game for the Tigers since 1984. The Tigers wore purple jerseys for the first time that night in a road game.
October 21, 2006 – Clemson defeated No. 13 Georgia Tech 31-7 in Death Valley. Clemson was ranked No. 12 in the nation entering the game and it was the first battle of top-25 teams in Death Valley in 14 years. James Davis rushed for 216 yards and C.J. Spiller added 116 yards on the ground to lead Clemson to a 321-yard rushing performance. It was the first time in history that Clemson had a 200-yard rusher and 100-yard rusher in the same game. Spiller scored on a 50-yard run and 50-yard reception, the first player in Tiger history to have one of each in a game.
October 18, 2008 – Dabo Swinney coached his first game as head coach against Georgia Tech, just five days after he took over the program. He instituted the “Tiger Walk” prior to the game. Georgia Tech won the contest 21-17.
December 5, 2009 – C.J. Spiller rushed for 233 yards and four touchdowns, but it was not enough as No. 12 Georgia Tech defeated Clemson 39-34 in the ACC Championship game at Tampa, Fla. Clemson averaged 9.5 yards per carry and 8.1 yards per play in the contest in which neither team punted. Both teams gained at least 300 rushing yards, the only college game in 2009 in which both teams had at least 300 yards on the ground.
September 22, 2016 – Clemson snapped a five-game losing streak in Atlanta to Georgia Tech with a 26-7 victory. The Clemson defense allowed just 22 yards of offense in the opening half and 124 for the game. Georgia Tech finished the night with just 95 yards rushing. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 32-of-48 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
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