Out of Options


by - Senior Writer -
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Stephone Anthony makes the tackle early in the second quarter

CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd threw for 340 yards and Clemson’s defense held Georgia Tech’s flexbone offense in check for most of the night as No. 8 Clemson outpaced the Yellow Jackets 55-31 in Death Valley Thursday night.

The 55 points scored by the Tigers were the most against Georgia Tech in the Paul Johnson era, and were the most scored by Clemson against the Yellow Jackets since 1903.

Georgia Tech rushed 45 times for 248 yards, but Clemson’s defense tallied 10 tackles for loss and harassed Tech starting quarterback Vad Lee for most of the contest.

Boyd finished 20-for-26 for 340 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, while Martavis Bryant had a career night with five catches for 176 yards. Sammy Watkins had five catches for 104 yards.

Clemson (9-1, 7-1 ACC) has now won two in a row against the Yellow Jackets, and three of four overall.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched down the field on 10 plays, settling for a 40-yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal for a 3-0 lead after Boyd was stopped on a designed third-down run.

Tech gained just four yards on its first two possessions, and following a punt the Tigers took over on their own 41-yard line halfway through the first quarter. A third down personal foul call on the Jackets pushed the ball inside the Jacket 30-yard line, but the Tigers had to settle for a 51-yard Catanzaro field goal and a 6-0 lead. At that point, however, Clemson had been in Jacket territory three separate times and had just the six points to show for it.

The Tigers finally reached the end zone on the ensuing drive, but had to convert a 4th-and-1 along the way before Boyd hit Sammy Watkins for the score. Following the fourth down conversion, Boyd threw a sideline pass to Watkins, who went up over the Tech defender to snare the pass and he walked the final two yards into the endzone to complete the 41-yard play. At that point, the Tigers had a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Georgia Tech finally managed a first down on its fourth possession of the game, but that lone first down was the highlight of the drive and the Jackets had to punt. Facing a 3rd-and-16 just shy of midfield, Boyd threw a perfect pass over the shoulder of Martavis Bryant, who hauled in the 47-yarder to set up the Tigers at the Jacket four. One play later, Boyd threw a fade pass to freshman Mike Williams for a 20-0 Clemson lead.

The Jackets finally cracked out a touchdown on the next drive, getting a 33-yard run from Robert Godhigh to set up Tech inside the one-yard line, and Tech got a one-yard plunge from David Sims a play later that made it 20-7 Clemson at the 6:33 mark of the second quarter.

It only took the Tigers two plays to respond, however. Adam Humphries caught a short pass to start the next drive, and on the second play Tiger fans saw a familiar play as Bryant streaked up the right sideline and hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass from Boyd for the 27-7 lead. The play was reminiscent of the long plays that Boyd and Watkins have hooked up on recently, and Boyd’s pass hit Bryant in stride up near midfield and he easily outpaced the Jacket defenders into the end zone.

The Jackets – who have suffered from turnover problems all year – fumbled the ball on the ensuing drive, a fumble that was caused by Corey Crawford and picked up by Grady Jarrett. The original ruling on the field was reversed after a review, and the Tigers took over at the Jacket 37-yard line. However, the Tigers were unable to put the Jackets away after an ill-advised throw by Boyd was intercepted inside the red zone.

The Jackets lined up to punt on the next possession, but Clemson’s Daniel Rodriguez jumped offsides on the punt and the Jackets made the Tigers pay by kicking a field goal as time expired that made it 27-10 Tigers at the break.

The teams traded possessions to open the second half, but the Jackets needed just one play to close the gap on their second drive when Godhigh took the ball 65 yards for the score, making it 27-17 early in the third quarter.

The Tigers opened the next drive with three straight rushes to midfield, and from there it was all Bryant. Bryant caught a 12-yard pass to the Tech 34, and then went down the sideline again to haul in a 33-yarder that set up Boyd’s one yard touchdown plunge that made it 34-17 with 10:13 remaining in the third quarter.

The Jackets moved up their own 44-yard line on the next drive, and Tech head coach Paul Johnson made the kind of decision that defines his career. Facing a 4th-and-2, Johnson elected to go for it instead of punt, and Corey Crawford stuffed Godhigh for no gain and the Tigers took over in Tech territory.

The next play saw Boyd hit Watkins on a screen to the left, and Watkins hit another gear as he outraced the Tech defenders into the endzone, completing a 44-yard scoring play that gave the Tigers the 41-17 lead midway through the third quarter.

Tech refused to go away, however, and Godhigh’s five-yard run on Tech’s next possession made it 41-24 late in the third quarter.

Clemson’s next drive, however, might have been costly. The Tigers drove into Jacket territory on the legs of Boyd, whose seven yard run gave the Tigers a second-and-short at the Tech 33-yard line. However, Boyd landed on his shoulder on the play, and a Tech defender landed on top of Boyd, leaving Clemson’s senior signal caller in a heap in the middle of the field. The rush put Boyd over 1,000 yards in his career, but he left the field for the locker room and Cole Stoudt took over the reins of the Clemson offense.

Stoudt responded in true Boyd fashion, however, bulling 13 yards through the Tech defense for a touchdown, giving the Tigers the 48-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Bashaud Breeland intercepted Vad Lee on Tech’s next drive, and Stoudt hit Mike Williams on a 29-yard pass to set up McDowell’s two-yard run, a run that gave Clemson a 55-24 lead with 9:47 remaining in the contest.

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Georgia Tech........  0 10 14  7  - 31       Record: (6-4,5-3)
Clemson.............  6 21 14 14  - 55       Record: (9-1,7-1)



Scoring Summary:
1st 11:55 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 40 yd field goal, 10-42 3:05, GT 0 - CU 3
    03:07 CU - Chandler Catanzaro 51 yd field goal, 7-26 3:22, GT 0 - CU 6
2nd 14:01 CU - Sammy Watkins 41 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 5-52 1:41, GT 0 - CU 13
    09:03 CU - Mike Williams 4 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 7-66 2:25, GT 0 - CU 20
    06:33 GT - David Sims 1 yd run (Harrison Butker kick), 7-82 2:25, GT 7 - CU 20
    05:44 CU - Martavis Bryant 76 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 2-78 0:43, GT 7 - CU 27
    00:00 GT - Harrison Butker 33 yd field goal, 10-71 2:29, GT 10 - CU 27
3rd 12:08 GT - Robert Godhigh 65 yd run (Harrison Butker kick), 1-65 0:12, GT 17 - CU 27
    10:13 CU - Tajh Boyd 1 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 6-71 1:48, GT 17 - CU 34
    07:53 CU - Sammy Watkins 44 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 1-44 0:09, GT 17 - CU 41
    02:08 GT - Robert Godhigh 5 yd run (Harrison Butker kick), 14-90 5:41, GT 24 - CU 41
4th 14:04 CU - Cole Stoudt 13 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 10-75 3:04, GT 24 - CU 48
    09:47 CU - Roderick McDowell 2 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 4-34 1:41, GT 24 - CU 55
    02:02 GT - Synjyn Days 1 yd run (Harrison Butker kick), 8-85 3:53, GT 31 - CU 55



                                     GT       CU
FIRST DOWNS...................       22       26
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............   45-248   37-168
PASSING YDS (NET).............      192      383
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  26-15-1  30-23-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   71-440   67-551
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............      1-0     3-35
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........    9-137     2-50
Interception Returns-Yards....      1-2     1-20
Punts (Number-Avg)............   6-44.8   3-31.7
Fumbles-Lost..................      4-1      2-0
Penalties-Yards...............     6-55     7-65
Possession Time...............    34:28    25:32
Third-Down Conversions........  7 of 15  4 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 1   1 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      4-4      4-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     4-22      1-5


RUSHING: Georgia Tech-Robert Godhigh 12-126; David Sims 8-25; Justin
Thomas 3-23; Vad Lee 12-22; Deon Hill 2-11; Micheal Summers 1-11; Zach Laskey
2-3; Synjyn Days 2-3; Charles Perkins 1-3; Tony Zenon 1-minus 4; Dennis Andrews
1-minus 5; B.J. Bostic 0-30. Clemson-Roderick McDowell 11-60; Tajh Boyd 15-43;
Cole Stoudt 4-28; Chad Kelly 3-24; D.J. Howard 3-13; Sammy Watkins 1-0.

PASSING: Georgia Tech-Vad Lee 13-23-1-165; Justin Thomas 2-3-0-27.
Clemson-Tajh Boyd 20-26-1-340; Cole Stoudt 2-2-0-35; Chad Kelly 1-2-0-8.

RECEIVING: Georgia Tech-Robert Godhigh 5-103; Darren Waller 3-27; Micheal
Summers 3-24; Deon Hill 2-27; B.J. Bostic 2-11. Clemson-Martavis Bryant 5-176;
Sammy Watkins 5-104; Mike Williams 3-45; Adam Humphries 3-20; Roderick McDowell
3-11; Stanton Seckinger 2-13; D.J. Howard 1-8; Sam Cooper 1-6.

INTERCEPTIONS: Georgia Tech-Adam Gotsis 1-2. Clemson-Bashaud Breeland
1-20.

FUMBLES: Georgia Tech-Lynn Griffin 1-0; Charles Perkins 1-1; Justin
Thomas 1-0; DeAndre Smelter 1-0. Clemson-Cole Stoudt 1-0; Adam Humphries 1-0.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium      Attendance: 75324
Kickoff time: 7:31 PM   End of Game: 10:59 PM  Total elapsed time: 3:28
Officials: Referee: Brad Allen; Umpire: Jim Hyson; Linesman: Arthur Hardin;
Line judge: Rick Page; Back judge: D. Harrison; Field judge: Chris Brown;
Side judge: Delbert Bell;
Temperature: 50 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Partly cloudy

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