Clemson has won four straight games against Georgia Tech and six of the last seven in the long-time series. In the three years Sean Pollard has been a part of the ACC rivalry, the Tigers have won by average margin of 20.3 points.
As top-ranked Clemson gets set to host the Yellow Jackets in Thursday’s season opener (8 p.m., ACCN) at Death Valley, the experts have the Tigers as a 36.5-point favorite, which makes sense considering they are the defending national champions, have won 15 straight games, have owned Georgia Tech as of late and it’s the first game for Tech under new head coach Geoff Collins.
But that is not the way Clemson is looking at it.
“They play hard like they always do. That is one thing I will say about Georgia Tech. They always have pride in their program. They are always very proudful,” Pollard said. “They will smack you in the mouth and that is how they always play.”
In watching their spring game, Pollard noticed how Collins and his coaches bring a lot of energy to the sideline and how the players feed off that energy.
“The head coach is hyped. He is yelling. He is getting his players … you could tell his players are feeding off it with how much energy they have,” the Clemson center said. “That is the big thing. They are going to hit you hard. They’re going to be ready to play.
“Georgia Tech is not intimidated by anybody. They’re going to come in here and give us their all.”
Knowing the Yellow Jackets are not going to back down is what makes the game exciting for Pollard and his teammates. The Tigers know they’re going to get everyone’s best shot each and every week.
Though Thursday’s opener is a little different than in recent years with it also being the ACC opener, Pollard says the Tigers’ mentality is the same whether they are playing Georgia Tech, Furman or Kent State.
“It is a one-game mentality as always. We prepare for everybody,” he said. “We prepare to play for Clemson. If you are preparing to play us, you take it serious and that is what we do for every opponent.
“You can get beat by anybody on any day, so if you do not take it seriously, then you are very accessible to losing and we do not want to do that and we make sure we give them the upmost respect, because they’re preparing to win as well. So, why don’t you give them respect by doing as much as you possibly can.”
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