There was a time when the Clemson-Georgia Tech game was the most competitive matchup in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Before the Tigers’ current six-game winning streak in the series, the Yellow Jackets won 17 times to Clemson’s 16 victories dating back to when Georgia Tech first entered the ACC in 1983.
The series just was not close, but the games were too. From 1990-2009, 16 of the 21 games were decided by five points or less.
Starting in 1996 with a 28-25 Clemson victory at Death Valley and ending in 2001 with a 44-41 Tigers’ overtime win in Atlanta, Clemson and Georgia Tech played six straight games in which the final margin of victory was exactly three points.
The 2002 game was also close, as the Tigers won 24-19 in a driving rainstorm. Even the first three meetings between the two in the Dabo Swinney era at Clemson were decided by five points or less, including the 2009 ACC Championship Game, which Georgia Tech won by five points, 39-34, in a game neither team punted.
But as No. 6 Clemson gets set to host the Yellow Jackets on Saturday, the fun and competitive nature of this rivalry no longer exists. The Tigers have won nine of the last 11 meetings in the series and the closest games have been decided by 14 points, which occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2017.
Clemson (1-1) has won the last six games in the series by an average margin of 30.7 points, including last year’s 73-7 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.
The Tigers’ 73 points represented Clemson’s third most against an ACC opponent all-time, trailing its 82-point performance against Wake Forest in 1981 and its 77 points against Louisville in 2018. The Tigers’ output was the most scored by Clemson in an ACC road game all-time, passing its 63 points at Wake Forest in 2018.
“Everyone played really well,” Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee said about last year’s 66-point victory. “It just kept going. Everyone just kept working and just kept doing what we do.”
The 73 points tied for Clemson’s second most points in a road game in school history, trailing its 94 against Furman in 1915 and matching its 73 at Georgia Tech in 1903.
Clemson opened the game with a modern-era school-record 52 points in the first half. Clemson’s previous high against an ACC opponent in a first half was 49 in its opening two quarters against Wake Forest in its national championship campaign in 1981.
The Tigers tied a school record for points in a quarter with 35 in the second quarter, matching its second quarter against Wake Forest in 1981 and its third quarter against North Carolina in 2011.
Clemson threw seven passing touchdowns, breaking the school record of six set previously against Central Michigan in 2007, Duke in 2012, North Carolina in 2014 and South Carolina in 2016.
Four different players (including starting punter and emergency quarterback Will Spiers) completed at least two passes and 17 different players caught a pass to contribute to the Tigers’ second 500-yard passing day in school history.
Clemson’s 17 different players recording a reception were its most in a single game under Dabo Swinney.
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!