Georgia Tech-Clemson football: Tigers return to form with dominant win
Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne clarifies the pronunciation of his name. The Clemson LIFE program honors some exceptional students. Clemson prepares for Georgia Tech triple option. Cover 3 Staff
FOURTH QUARTER – CLEMSON 24, GEORGIA TECH 10
0:00 – Ah yes, I remember this Clemson team. The Tigers were difficult to recognize during their upset loss at Syracuse on Oct. 13, but returned to form with a dominant win over Georgia Tech. Clemson held the Yellow Jackets to 198 rushing yards — well under their season average of 372.8. It was a confidence-boosting effort, and a much-needed one before a critical game against North Carolina State next week.
4:43 – Georgia Tech saves face with a 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive ending with a 22-yard touchdown run by quarterback TaQuon Marshall. He’s been pretty ineffective this game, but that’s more of a nod to Clemson’s defense than Marshall’s ability — he is, after all, averaging 117.3 rushing yards per game. Tonight though, he’s only run for 23.
THIRD QUARTER – CLEMSON 24, GEORGIA TECH 3
0:00 – Clemson’s dominating this game, and this video says everything you need to know about the third quarter. The Tigers’ defensive line did this, and Georgia Tech promptly gained -2 yards over its next three plays.
10:32 – Clemson extends its lead to 21 on a 29-yard field goal from Alex Spence. He’s had to think about his two decisive misses at Syracuse for two weeks now, and it’s got to feel good for him to nail his first attempt of the game. There were Clemson fans protesting the decision to kick a field goal as he ran onto the field, but they didcheer loudly for him whenn he made it.
SECOND QUARTER – CLEMSON 21, GEORGIA TECH 3
0:00 – Looks like that open week did Clemson some good. The Tigers outgained Georgia Tech 271-110, and that gap would look a lot uglier minus the Yellow Jackets’ 65-yard run in the first quarter. It’s raining, sure, but that doesn’t seem to have affected the Tigers’ passing game; meanwhile, Georgia Tech has thrown for -6 yards on six attempts. This isn’t the first time Clemson dominated the first half, but this offense tends to coast in the third quarter. The Tigers will get the ball to start the second half, so we’ll see if they put the proverbial pedal to the medal and put this game away while they can.
3:26 – I know, I know, I’m sounding like a broken record. But Kelly Bryant’s ankle is f-i-n-e. He’s already up to 197 yards of total offense in the first half as Clemson takes an 18-point lead on a two-yard Travis Etienne touchdown. It was the freshman’s first carry since his fumble in the first quarter. The Tiers have run the ball well so far, averaging six yards per carry, but Georgia Tech has to be worried about its inability to stop the pass.
FIRST QUARTER – CLEMSON 14, GEORGIA TECH 3
0:00 – The main takeaway from that opening quarter is how comfortable Kelly Bryant looks at quarterback. No anxiousness, no timidness playing on that sprained ankle; in fact, it doesn’t even look like it’s sprained anymore. He missed a wide open Diondre Overton for what would’ve been an easy score, but that was his only incompletion in nine attempts. The Tigers outgained Georgia Tech 139-88, but 65 of the Yellow Jackets’ yards came on one play. It was all Clemson in the first quarter.
1:56 – Kelly Bryant is cooking tonight. His ankle looks like it’s back at 100 percent as he just tossed his second touchdown of the night, this time a 20-yard strike to Milan Richard. It was Richard’s first career touchdown, and came with his uncle, Herschel Walker, in attendance. Back to Bryant though, he’s on fire to start this game.
4:53 – I did say that Georgia Tech fumble probably wouldn’t be the last one we see tonight, right? Clemson forced a three-and-out after its touchdown, but freshman running back Travis Etienne lost his first fumble of the season when Antonio Simmons slapped the ball out of his hands. The Yellow Jackets got to work right away with a 65-yard run by KirVonte Benson – the longest by any Clemson opponent this season – before settling for a 25-yard field goal.
12:51 – Clemson wasted no time in getting on the board. Linebacker Kendall Joespeh forced the first of what could be a few fumbles on this rainy night, Van Smith recovered at the Georgia Tech 45-yard line and the Tigers needed just two plays to put seven points between them and the Yellow Jackets. Conventional wisdom says to run the ball in the rain; instead, Kelly Bryant dropped back and hit Deon Cain on a pair of short passes, the second of which Cain caught, shook a tackler and raced into the endzone. Good start for Clemson.
Fifteen days after an unbeaten season was upended with a loss at Syracuse on Friday the 13th, the Clemson Tigers return to action tonight as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets visit Death Valley in what could be a pivotal ACC game.
Each team holds hopes of reaching the ACC Championship Game, but a loss would seriously dent that potential. Clemson (6-1 overall, 4-1 in the ACC) trails only N.C. State (6-1, 4-0), which the Tigers will visit next week, in the Atlantic Division. Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1) trails only Miami (6-0, 4-0) in the Coastal Division, but Miami beat Georgia Tech head-to-head and would have to lose twice to some combination of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia or Pittsburgh to make way for the Ramblin’ Wreck in Charlotte.
That 25-24 loss for Georgia Tech at Miami and a 42-41 loss to Tennessee in Atlanta to open the season give the Yellow Jackets a total of two losses on the year by a total of two points.
They may have an advantage tonight with their ground-oriented option attack on what’s expected to be a rain-drenched surface.
Rain was falling around Clemson by 9 a.m., stopped for awhile, and picked up a little more than an hour before game time.
As it happened: Clemson 56, Kent State 3
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As it happened: Clemson 47, Louisville 21
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As it happened: Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 17
As it happened: Clemson 28, Wake Forest 14
As it happened: Syracuse 27, Clemson 24
Placekicking has put Clemson at a disadvantage throughout the season, and that could be an issue again.
But the Tigers are expected to have quarterback Kelly Bryant in action again.
Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who ran for two touchdowns in a win over Wake Forest last week, has 11 rushing touchdowns through six games and is just the third quarterback in school history to rush for double-digit scores. With 1,160 yards of total offense and 16 touchdowns in all, he ranks among the top 25 in the nation in six different statistical categories.
He leads the ACC in rushing with 117.3 yards per game. If he keeps up the pace, he could make history – no quarterback has won the ACC rushing title in the league’s 64-year history.
Clemson vs Georgia Tech: How to watch, stream and listen
Georgia Tech as a team, meanwhile, ranks fifth nationally in both offensive and defensive third-down conversion percentage. Stopping the Yellow Jackets on third down will certainly be a key for Clemson.
Former Clemson coach Danny Ford, who’s soon to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, will be honored during the game.
Refresh this page throughout the day and after kickoff for live updates.