Clemson had no issues disposing of Georgia Tech Saturday at Bobby Dodd as the second-ranked Tigers knocked off the Yellow Jackets, 49-21, in Atlanta.
Clemson (4-0, 1-0 ACC) racked up 480 total yards, while holding Tech to 203 total yards. Clemson’s defense held the Jackets to 146 rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry.
How did the Tigers’ grade in the win?
Quarterback: It was obvious that Trevor Lawrence gained control of the offense against the Yellow Jackets. Clemson did very little against Georgia Tech on Kelly Bryant’s first two possessions. However, when Lawrence entered the game things changed. The freshman completed 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards while throwing a career-high four touchdowns, and though he did throw a pick it was a fluke play on a busted assignment by the running back. Bryant did not play bad as he completed 6-of-10 passes for 56 yards. However, it was obvious the offense was more efficient with Lawrence. Backup Chase Brice also played and threw an interception late in the game. Grade: A-minus
Running back: Travis Etienne ran for 122 yards and scored one touchdown. He also hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass. It was the second straight week Etienne went over 100 yards rushing in a game. Tavien Feaster, after being banged up in the first quarter, came back to rush for 75 yards and scored on a 27-yard touchdown run. Clemson ran for 248 yards overall, while averaging over 6 yards per carry. Etienne averaged 11.1 yards per carry, while feaster averaged 9 yards per carry. Grade: A
Wide receiver: Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers and Hunter Renfrow all came up with big plays. Renfrow made a 17-yard touchdown while also making an exceptional catch on the sideline for a key first down in the second quarter. Ross again had a big day with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence while Higgins had a 32-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Grade: A
Offensive line: Clemson’s offensive line had perhaps it’s best game of the season thus far. The Tigers rushed for 248 yards, and it was obvious the offensive line got a good push upfront as it opened up holes for Etienne and Feaster to run through. Clemson allowed just one sack, but that sack is more on Bryant then it was the offensive line who gave him plenty of time to get rid of the football. Grade: A
Defensive line: The Tigers dominated Georgia Tech upfront. The yellow Jackets had just 146 yards on the ground after coming into the game leading the country in rushing yards per game. Clemson held Tech to 2.6 yards per carry and the defensive front played a big role in doing so. Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence all played well, and were very dominant. Ferrell recovered a loose football in the end zone for a touchdown. He also played a big role in the Tigers forcing eight fumbles, while also having 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. Albert Huggins and Nyles Pickney also had big plays. Grade: A
Linebackers: With Kendall Joseph out with an groin injury some wondered how the Tigers’ linebackers would play against Georgia Tech‘s triple option offense. They played exceptional, led by J.D. Davis’ 11 tackles as well as the play of middle linebacker Trey Lamar and Isaiah Simmons. Clemson dominated Georgia Tech’s rushing attack. Lamar also forced a fumble which led to the game’s first touchdown. Jaylen Williams, James Skalski and Chad Smith also came off the bench and played well as did Shaq Smith. Grade: A
Secondary: Though the Tigers were not tested because Georgia Tech does not throw the ball. You did see some good play from Trayvon Mullen, who broke up a pass and A.J. Terrell, who broke up another pass. The secondary also played well against the run, preventing the Yellow Jackets from getting any big chunk plays in the running game. Grade: A
Special teams: Clemson’s kickoff team did well in the return game, as well as in covering kicks. Cornell Paul had a couple good returns and once again, Rodgers did a great job returning punts. Xavier Thomas made a big tackle that fired up the Clemson bench. B.T. potter was exceptional on his kickoffs once again, proving he is a weapon for Clemson in the kicking game. Rodgers has definitely become a weapon for the Tigers and the punt return game. Grade: A